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Boost Your Writing Career: Attend a Writing Conference

March 7, 2017



Note From Rochelle



Dear Readers,


What fires you up to write? What experiences and practices support you in finding new ideas? This month, I’ll be exploring these questions in the newsletter.

Last Fall, Kathy Haueisen stopped by the blog to talk about what she’d learned at the Writer’s Digest Conference. Today’s post talks about one of my favorite ways to ignite my writing career: attending a conference.

And if you’re in the Milwaukee area and are interested in writing for children, consider attending the SCBWI Spring Luncheon. Here’s a link to the luncheon flier: Creating Richer Narratives 




The Write Now! Coach



Boost Your Writing Career: Attend a Conference

by Rochelle Melander


In brief, I spend half my time trying to learn the secrets of other writers—to apply them to the expression of my own thoughts.

—Shirley Ann Grau


A writing conference can move your writing career from nothing to notable. Here are five things you can expect to do at a writing conference:


  1. Learn. Writing conferences provide a great opportunity to learn about both the writing craft and the publishing game. The best conferences offer classes for both beginning and advanced writers. In addition to presentations and classes, many conferences provide a table with resources to help you learn about publishers and what they need. At most conferences, you will find sample issues of periodicals, publisher catalogs, writer’s guidelines, and information on local publicists. Finally, most conferences have a bookstore filled with the newest and best writing books. Budget some money to pick up the resources most relevant to your writing goals.


  1. Critique. Writing conferences often offer attendees the opportunity to have their work critiqued by conference faculty. Conferences generally charge a small fee for this service, offering writers a chance to receive professional feedback at a very reasonable price. Take advantage of this offer! A professional writer or editor can give you valuable feedback and increase your chances of selling your work.


  1. Brainstorm! Connecting with agents, editors, and colleagues about books and writing can ignite your imagination. When writers talk about new genres and editors introduce ways to break into the market, stories and idea will emerge. Because writing conferences introduce you to new information, tools, and markets, you’ll be able to mine your experience for a whole host of blog, article, and book ideas.


  1. Get work. Want to move to the top of the slushpile? Pitch your idea in person to an editor or agent. At least two of my books and several article assignments began as a pitch at a writing conference. As an editor, I know I’m much more open to working with someone I’ve met than an unknown writer who sends me a submission via email.


  1. Network. But it’s not just the agents and editors you need to speak to. Talk to the other participants. These writers may become your trusted writing friends and critique partners. You will no doubt learn the most from the writing friends you connect with regularly. As your writing career grows, you can promote each other’s blogs and books. And someday you might get a writing assignment because you are connected to them!


So where do you find a conference? Ask your friends about the writing conferences they have attended and appreciated. Most conferences are advertised in the major writing periodicals and through writing organizations:


Poets and Writers 

Shaw Guides 


Your turn

What conferences do you recommend? Leave a comment below!





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