The Benefits of Attending A Writers’ Conference

Have you considered attending a writers’ conference? Maybe you didn’t know where to start? Or couldn’t afford it? This post is for YOU! I provided several links for easy reference.

Writers’ Conferences are a must for every writer, aspiring AND published. Best-selling author Davis Bunn impressed this on me when I wrote Stella’s PleaIt was the greatest lesson I learned as a writer. The tools of the trade you’ll learn at these events from other writers who have been-there-done-that are priceless. The long-lasting friendships you’ll make are invaluable. However, how do you choose among the many conferences out there? Davis recommended the following to me:

WRITE TO PUBLISH (WTP), Wheaton College, IL

I attended in 2012. This was my first major writers’ conference. Words aren’t enough to express the amazing time of growing, and learning. Since I attended, I published Stella’s Plea (Christian Suspense). Others I met there:

MOUNT HERMON CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE, Felton CA

Davis had recommended this one first, but I couldn’t make it then. I knew if God wanted me to go, He’d open the door. He did so in April 2014. The setting of Mt Hermon is an absolute haven for writers. Like WTP, it featured awesome writers, teachers, agents and editors. Several of the non-fiction writers I met there urged me to attend ACFW  (American Christian Fiction Writers). I can’t afford two major conferences in one year so I promised I’d look into it later. Oh you of little faith! I may not be able to afford it, but God can. I love the way He orchestrated this.

I’d considered a smaller one-and-half-day conference in Alberta in Sept 2014. When I went to register, a small voice said Wait. So I did. That same week, Karen Wingate, asked our WTP Facebook group if anyone was going to ACFW. I found out it was  same week as the one in Alberta. God knew ACFW was where I needed to go. I can’t wait to meet new writers, and again, to learn more from the best. Here’s a bonus: some of the amazing writers I met at both previous conferences will be there. How sweet is that?

Is God calling you to write? These events are an integral part of your writing/learning process. They are there for YOU. Can’t afford it? Many of them offer full and/or partial scholarships to help you? If it’s in God’s plans, He’ll provide. Just ask Him, have faith, then sit back and watch Him do the rest. His Word tells us He already knows the plan He has for us (Jer 29:11) and, if we take delight in Him, He will give us the desire of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

Blessings always ! Renee-Ann <><

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20 thoughts on “The Benefits of Attending A Writers’ Conference

  1. What a good post! I have been to only a handful of conferences but enjoyed them. You learn so much, but you do get ‘conference brain’ after a few days. Did you?

    • Thanks for the comment Barb. And yes, we do get conference brain afterward. It’s like you’re on a high and can’t come down. I love it! 😀

  2. I wrote for too many years without any contact with other writers, especially Christians targeting the CBA market. I cannot emphasize enough how important they can be and urge any writer serious about getting published to attend ones that will meet that writer’s specific needs. We do need to choose wisely though as they can be expensive, especially the larger ones and yet they are often the best ones. I have only missed a few of our Romance Writers of Australia conferences but I was privileged to be at the Chicago 1999 RWAmerica one where I met wonderful writers including my Barbour editor and fellow writers published in their Heartsong Presents book club. It was also when the Faith Hope Love chapter was commencing. However, as great as that was for me, the 2009 ACFW one could not be compared with it. ACFW not only teaches “How to write” but seeks to grow our relationship with our Lord too. My husband and I were just so blessed and it was so worth that long trip across the Big Pond. Now I am really delighted we have Christian Writers Conferences here in Australia too and never miss them if at all possible..

    • Thank you, Mary. You are so right. Choosing the right ones is very important. A point I probably should have stressed in this post. The ones I attended all touched on Fiction writing, as well as Non-fiction, poetry, etc. Now though, I really can’t wait to go to ACFW where they ‘specialize’ in Fiction. Yay! Here I come! 😀

      Blessings to you! Renee-Ann <

  3. What are the benefits of trying to publish vs. going POD. From what I understand there is little benefit in going through a publisher unless you are already known. Also, that it can take a long time to get your book on the market if you want to go through a publisher. I am right now going to be done with my second book in 2 weeks (the final edited version). I already have the book cover done. I like the control in design with self-publishing. Thoughts? I invested over 20K in my book so far by getting a great interviewer to help me write the book. It is a really good book.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Michelle.

      My novel is a self-published eBook so I can’t really say anything about POD.

      As for going through a publisher, I can say that there are major benefits to going trad. vs indie. Before I published Stella’s Plea, some people encouraged me to ‘cut the middle man’ out and I’d get more royalties. I didn’t know better so I went indie. What they hadn’t told me was that it’s a lot of work to self-publish and market your own book. And, I totally lacked marketing savvy so it’s been a long 1 1/2 years and I often wish I’d gone with a trad publisher. I could spend so much more time writing if I had someone taking care of all the marketing.

      I strongly encourage you to do your homework. Talk to different indie published authors as well as trad-published ones. Ask them for the pros and cons. Then compare. You’ll be able to make a better informed decision. In the long run, I believe more benefits come from trad publishing. But that’s just my opinion.

      Hope this helps. Blessings, Renee-Ann <

    • I totally agree with you.

      It is such a wonderful and amazing time to do so much more than learn. It gives us a chance to connect, and to grow together. Personally, I love these conferences so much, I’ll take one over any resorts on a beach somewhere in the South. And I’m from Atlantic Canada where we get A LOT of snow and cold!.

      Thanks for commenting, and blessings to you. Renee-Ann <

  4. I think that there’s a distinct difference of blogging and writing. Although I’d never consider myself as a writer, I’ve been a wannabe blogger for years. 🙂 I know I have to keep the faith, too, as we are never certain that pro blogging is the the right path. Thank you!

    • Good morning and thank you for your comment, Alison. I’m not sure how I missed it, but for that, I sincerely apologize. I looked at your blog and in my opinion, you’re more than a ‘wannabe’ now, you’re a fine blogger. Keep up on the path you’ve started! You’re doing great!
      Blessings!
      Renee-Ann <

  5. Writer’s conferences are amazing and life has prevented me from attending as many as I’d like but I know, and your post gives me faith, I’ll attend the ones I’m meant to.

    Thanks for sharing and for reading,

    Sarah Butland
    author of Arm Farm, Brain Tales and Blood Day

    • Thanks Tanya. I do look forward to going. I so love these gatherings, where we all have one thing in common: A love/calling for writing. You’re right, I know I’ll have a great time! Blessings! Renee-Ann <

  6. Thanks for this post Renee-Ann. If I had not attended Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference, I would never have got my first children’s book into the hands of Zondervan. You also meet great people at Christian Conferences…and plus, God attends 🙂

    • Thanks so much for commenting, Glenys. These conferences are a writer’s greatest and most valuable tool. I can never say enough about them. I leave there planning and looking forward to the next one. And yes, you’re right, God’s in the midst of us ! 😀

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