Making My Pro and Con List before Attending a Writer’s Conference

 

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Tammie Edington Shaw was a great encouragement to me at last year’s Write-To-publish conference.

Last month I had to make a hard decision. Would I attend a writer’s conference this year? I had happily anticipated attending every year for the past five. This year I had lots of negative things weighing me down. Some were of a writerly nature others were not but all demanded a place on my decision list.

On the con side

I hadn’t reached my writing goals this year. Yes, I published but the pay was small. The guest blogging I did paid nothing. I wanted to finish all the rewrites on my novel but still have some edits to do. I wanted to have a rough draft of my next novel finished rather than the few chapters and character sketches I managed to complete. The articles I planned on sending out based on appointments with publishers at last year’s conference are in various stages of completeness waiting in my computer. The short stories I sent got rejected and the devotionals have yet to be acknowledged. All of this is embarrassing and a little depressing.

After leaving the Army my oldest son and his family now live in my home. This makes it easier for him and his wife to attend college. Now I have grandchildren responsibilities. My elderly parents also live nearby. The days I don’t have to be at my part-time job have gotten filled with doctor visits and running errands for them. This time in my life is wonderful fodder for lots of articles on multi-generational family life but I haven’t had time to write them.

My brain has gotten fried by various dramas including the dryer breaking twice, the water heater being replaced, serious work done on our car and the AC on the fritz cutting deep into our finances. The death of my baby sister after a four year battle with liver cancer proved the most devastating. Now I am back on track with this nagging feeling it is too little too late.

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Losing my little sister Carol recently was the most devastating thing to happen me this year.

The pro side

The whole point of a writer’s conference is to sharpen my skills to be a better writer. They will only remain dull if I let the chaos of the past year put training on hold.

I need the input from the workshops, the inspiration from the speakers and the encouragement from my fellow-writers. Writing is a rocky path to follow and gets quite lonely and at times discouraging. I need the refueling the conference will give me. Perhaps all those unfinished articles will find a home and my experience with a too full house will find expression on paper because of a divine appointment or word of encouragement.

My decision

I registered for the Write To Publish conference anyway. Despite the odds weighing heavily on the do not attend side I choose to nourish the gifting God has given me. I found confirmation in Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

What benefit have you gained from going to a conference even when it’s seems difficult?

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7 thoughts on “Making My Pro and Con List before Attending a Writer’s Conference

  1. This blog post rings so true! As a new writer, I am so glad I attended the Write-to-Publish conference this year. I was directed to the conference by the illustrious writer, my friend and former pastor of my church, Kathy Bostrom.

    Through the classes and panels, meetings with editors and interactions with other writers and agents, I learned a great deal about the craft of writing. I was also fortunate to learn about the challenges facing writers and how to overcome them, as well as ways to traverse the path to publication. I also learned about all of the aforementioned in greater detail via the Paul-Timothy mentorship program; it was a blessing to me that Cindy Huff, the author of this blog post, and her husband, Charles served as my mentors for the conference! They walked me through the process of signing up for pitches with editors (I was so nervous!) and they showed me that there are opportunities to meet with others at the conference by joining editors, agents and writers for lunch or dinner.

    I have many article ideas in mind as a result of Write-to-Publish, and I was reminded of the importance for writers to follow publication guidelines for various magazines and book publishers. Following these guidelines will greatly increase your chance of eventually being published and receiving credit for your work. Other opportunities I haven’t yet explored, but I am keeping in mind for the future include the writing of devotionals and possibly flash fiction. All of this was covered in great detail at Write-to-Publish, by my Paul-Timothy mentors, the editors/panelists and class instructors (editors and agents).

    I hope to attend the full conference for Write-to-Publish next year, in order to keep honing my craft and to keep making and fostering connections with others in the writing and publishing industry. I have made many new Facebook friends as a result of the conference, and I hope to keep in touch with the supportive, caring people I have met and with whom my writer’s journey has been so blessed thus far. I’m glad I started my publishing journey through Write-to-Publish. Thank you for writing this post!

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  2. I’m glad you chose to go, Cindy! It sounds like it worked out for the best. I didn’t go to Write-to-Publish this year. Perhaps I made the wrong decision but I’ve not been employed for a couple of years (I’m actually no longer looking) and we’ve got big expenses coming up. Your posts have convinced me to try to sell some writing for pay and put that towards going next year. I DID go to a local conference that was less expensive and I think it helped heal me of my resistance to writing outside of my blog. I will put it all in God’s hands. May He bless you and your work.

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    • Susan, thanks for sharing. I appreciate your bravery. Writing is a hard career path. Writing for pay can be harder than we realize. But we have a secret weapon in the prompting of the Spirit. I suspect God has some awesome opportunities out there for you. His love will make you fearless. Something I didn’t mention in my blog- my hubby hasn’t worked for six years. A forced retirement has shown us how to survive on a third of what we made before. When it comes to these conferences I see God’s hand working miraculously. He is truly able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.
      Father, anoint Susan’s words whether it is for a Christian publication or a secular one- let your truth ring forth. Bless her with paying gigs to meet more than just conference expenses. Thank you Jesus for your awesome love for Susan.

      Liked by 1 person

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