Today, guest Kathy Nickerson shares some of her reasons for attending writers’ conferences.
In 1986, I packed my double-spaced, carbon-copied dreams into a satchel and signed up for my first Writers Conference. I trembled at the thought of a professional (or anyone else, for that matter) reading my words. But I went. Because I secretly hoped one of those people might breathe upon my dreams.
Thirty years later, I carry my dreams to the conference in a cloud instead of a satchel. (I generally use DropBox.) And I have enough books and articles out in the world to be called a professional in some small and very kind circles. Yet, I still go to conferences almost every year. Here are three reasons why
1. I go to Learn
In the early days, I learned things like “How to kill the Adverbs” in a story that was full of words ending in the dreaded “ly.” Today, when my editor tells me to clean up the passive voice in my novel, I still search for those pesky adverbs because they often hold the key.
This year, I learned something unexpected about myself. I chose a specific workshop because the speaker sounded interesting even though the topic was not in my field. Before the speaker finished her introduction, I was weeping. Suddenly, I wanted to bang on the gates of The Kingdom of Children’s Literature until the gatekeepers let me in to stay. After thirty years, I was a newbie again
2. I go to Connect
At the first conference, I met someone who connected me to a magazine called Christian Herald. The magazine doesn’t exist anymore, but the editor has gone on to write bestsellers and to work in several areas of publishing. He is also my friend on Facebook and gives me great advice on things like, “Do I need an agent for this project?” He is on a long list of wonderful people who are in my life because of conferences.
These are professional connections, but they are not just a means to my end. I see many of these folks year after year on the conference circuit. We ask about one another’s children and remember specific challenges and victories through the years. We also remember one another’s unique talents when a writing opportunity comes along.
3. I go to Breathe
In my regular life, I’m surrounded by people who do not have scenes from a novel-in-progress playing out in their brains all day. My coworkers do not pause at the copy machine to jot down a snatch of dialogue. But, when I walk into the coffee break at a Writers Conference, everyone is talking about their imaginary friends!
I always make sure to look around for that one writer who is holding her satchel close to her chest, still too nervous to talk. I try to go sit at her table and ask a couple of questions about her dreams. Because maybe I can breathe on them.
Are you planning on attending a conference this year? What are you looking forward to about going?
Sign up for Wordsowers’ 4th annual writer’s conference HERE.
Kathy Nickerson is an author, speaker, and eternal optimist. She writes about the struggles of life from a perspective of one who believes that all things will ultimately work together for good for those who love God.
Her writing credits include magazines such as Discipleship Journal, Angels on Earth, Focus on the Family, Proto, and Kyria.com. Several of her stories have appeared in collected works by Bethany House and Guideposts Books. Her debut novel, Thirty Days to Glory, was released by CrossRiver Media in 2013 and her most recent novel is The Secret of Serendipity, released this month.
You can learn more about Kathy’s writing and her reputation as an Eternal Optimist as well as sign up for her free newsletter and get a copy of Three Secrets to a Happy Life on her website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
About Kathy’s newest book, The Secret of Serendipity:
Kara Jane Bryant is planning a protest against her family’s move from the city to the country in this middle-grade novel for girls or those who are still young at heart. But she did not plan on meeting the mysterious Mrs. Kirk or discovering the Secret of Serendipity. And that, of course, changes everything.