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Yes, You Should Go To That Writers Conference

David Yu, Flickr Creative Commons

I recently attended the San Francisco Writers Conference, a four day festival of all things reading, writing, and publishing in the heart of the city. The entire event was a whirlwind and it took me days to recover from exhaustion afterward.

But.

It is always worth it.

I made new writer friends, networked with editors, talked up my forthcoming book and got inspired by the collective creativity and drive the conference attendees had. I took a notebook full of notes to bring home not only for my next project but my students. I made tentative plans to speak at smaller conferences later in the year. I added about a dozen new books to my reading list. I came home bursting with pride for being a member of this dynamic community of people we call writers.

Conferences are expensive. I know. But I believe they are worth attending for the relationships alone–the knowledge you’ll gain is an added bonus.

If you can find a smaller conference in your area, try that first. Small conferences are usually a bit more affordable and can be a less intimidating place to start. If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, do the brave thing and go to a conference.

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) lists more than 300 annual conferences/festivals/retreats on their website. Start there.  But even AWP can’t list them all, so ask around in your community. Often, your local writers group or community college hosts their own annual writers conference.

The evening I got home from SFWC, I immediately made plans for the next few conferences I want to attend. Maybe I’ll see you there?

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