In case I haven’t told you, I have a new addiction…writers’ conferences!
The first conference I attended was the DFW Writers'Conference 2011 and it was the best thing I could’ve done as an aspiring author. It’s been a little over a year, and it’s time to return to #DFWcon (follow the twitter feed to see what all the fuss is about).
Before attending DFWcon last year all I knew about the world of writing, querying, publishing, and networking, I’d learned online, and let me tell you…it wasn’t much. So if you’re not attending conferences and you’re an aspiring author, here’s why you should be…
Writers’ conferences are packed with likeminded people in all stages of their literary journeys. Publishers, editors, agents, authors, and writers…just like us. People who are happy to talk with you and share their advice and their experience, people who listen and can identify with your struggle and know firsthand how lonely and confusing writing can be. And who also understand the drive and passion behind the words and the burning desire to share them with the world. Book nerds united. It's awesome!
The Vast Array of Knowledge
Not only are writers’ conferences chock full of so many classes you’ll feel as though you should’ve earned your PHD in a matter of days, but what you learn outside the classes, is also a hidden blessing of brilliance. Mingle, mix and be merry.
Oh my gosh, the inspiration never ends. Hundreds, thousands even, of mega-creative minds whirling around you from sun up to sun down. Success stories abound, authors sharing how a short time ago they were sitting right where you are. Agents sharing how they found author X at a conference and publishers sharing the current trends in the market and predicting where the next big flux is headed. Soak it all in.
Beside the incredible opportunity to pitch to agents and editors, aside from the mass amounts of learning to hone your craft and perfect your voice, there are other – maybe even more important – opportunities to be found at a conference…uplifting and always supportive friendships. Find them, nurture them. They'll lift you up when you're down and pop-the-cork when it's time to celebrate.
Last year I met four of the most amazing women/writers (in my opinion) ever. We met online (this is why you should visit #DFWcon) and donned purple ribbons to recognize one and other at the conference. We attended classes together, got humiliated at the Gong Show together, ate together and cheered each other on as we worked up the courage to pitch our manuscripts to agents (well, Sharla Lovelace [her book, The Reason is You] had recently landed her awesome agent Jessica Faust at BookEnds, so she wasn’t pitching, but she was the best cheerleader) and we made bonds that will last a lifetime. Okay, so it’s only been a year and a half, but you know when you can just tell? These girls are Friends with a capital F (for FabFive). And the connections haven’t stopped. It has been but a ripple in my pond, continuously expanding.
And if you need more proof to convince you that conferences (especially DFWcon) is where it’s at, check out my sweet friend (and member of the FabFive), Lindsay Cummings and her success story (she met her agent last year at DFWcon!) here and her blog here.
Here's last year’s picture.
Left to right, Lindsay Cummings, Sharla Lovelace, Candie Leigh Campbell [me], Janet B Taylor and Dawn Alexander
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