I’m writing this blog as much to convince myself (and my husband) of the value of conference attendance as well as you, fellow writer.
Anyway, back to the topic. At the beginning of my writing career, I decided to attend RWA Nationals because it was in Nashville. That’s drivable from my home in Illinois. I got a grant to cover the registrations, found someone to share a room with, and set up to caravan with my chapter mates down to the big show.
After all that planning, God stepped in and said, “Let there be rain.” And the conference site was flooded. Now, I had to find the money for the airfare to Florida. Remember when Southwest had their sunroof scare? Prices plummeted after that, and I had my cheap fare.
The next year the conference was in New York. I had to go. This time, I stayed with a friend in her aunt’s apartment, slicing the out of pocket cost. I’d only published in short fiction by then, I needed the discount. Staying off site gave me a taste of what living in New York could feel like if I could afford an apartment on the Upper West Side.
I haven’t been to a conference since. Mostly because I’m busy writing. Since the last RWA, I’ve sold seven romances, two – twice. (Long story.) I’ve also sold three cozy mysteries. That’s a lot of words for a not-full-time writer. Taking time out of my writing schedule to go to a week of workshops, presentations, signings, and parties wasn’t going to happen.
This year, I’ve got two conferences scheduled. I just committed to RWA Nationals in San Antonio in July and I’m attending Magna Cum Murder in October. My writing schedule hasn’t slowed down, but this year, I hoping to have the PAN ribbon as well as I get to go to a publisher’s party. My goals at RWA are to meet with my editor and talk about contract extensions. And pitch a romance to my friends at HQ American. If I leave with a request for a full and a consideration of the extension, I’ll feel like my goals were reached.
Make a goal. Make it a stretch. Make the money you spend on the conference work for you. It’s not all about the parties. Well, okay, it’s a little about the parties—just don’t tell my husband.
Are you going to a conference this year? What are your goals?