Why Attend A Writers Conference?

Photo: Leilani Squires

Leilani Squires

I attended my first writers conference when I was 17. I had one writing class under my belt and a few writing samples to show to editors and publishers.

I was scared. How do I pitch something to an editor? How do I talk “writers talk” when I’m such a newbie? What if I trip in front of an editor and cause all kinds of disaster?

But as the conference came to an end, I had notebooks full of notes, had made contacts with editors, became friends with both newbie and experienced writers, and had three article assignments. Three! And I’m still in touch with those editors.

The writing world is a community. It’s hard to do this on your own. Learning how to write, pitching your work, and hoping it will get published is not something to do alone.

Take the time, be intentional, and get out there. The encouragement, the advice you’ll receive, even when just rubbing shoulders, will launch your writing to the next level. And as Christians, what better way for iron to sharpen iron?

Oh, and as for the tripping in front of an editor? Yeah, I did that, too. But we’re still friends and she still mentors my writing. So don’t let your what if’s and your fears keep you from pursuing your dreams!

Here are some tips to help you prepare for a writers conference:

  1. Put together a few query letters for article ideas you’ll pitch to editors.
  2. Carefully study which editor will best fit your work.
  3. Practice your elevator pitch (describe your article or book idea in no more than 3 minutes) to perfection. Practice in front of the mirror, for your family, friends, anyone who’ll listen and let you know when they got lost.
  4. Bring business cards (Be professional: no hearts, flowers, or glittery rainbows.)
  5. Bring extra pens and notebooks.

See you at the Writing for the Soul conference!

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