The StoryMakers2013 writing conference just wrapped up Saturday. This was my fourth year in a row attending this joyful gathering of writers. It’s hard to believe that I briefly considered skipping it this year. Man, what was I thinking?
This is a great place to be for anyone who is working on their writing craft. It offers so much to us writers that I hardly know where to start.
The most noticeable benefit may well be the presentations that are offered. Established writers, agents, and editors conduct classes on the author’s craft. These range from presentations aimed at beginning authors to more advanced classes that are likely to benefit the more experienced writers. I know that I saw plenty of established authors sitting in some of the presentations with me.
It illustrates the point that all of us have room for growth when it comes to our writing. If the author who has twenty books on the market takes the time to sit in on a class and take notes, then I would be wise to follow suit.
There were presentations on how to write mysteries, how to land an agent, how to create compelling characters, how to keep your story moving along at a brisk pace, how to write for children, how to keep motivated, and a whole lot more. Out of eleven “Break Out” sessions I learned important tips that will improve my writing in all eleven of them. I just wish that I had the time pendant out of Harry Potter so I could have attended more of the sessions.
On Wednesday and Friday I will be posting notes on the classes I attended.
Another advantage of attending a conference like this is the chance for opportunities and contacts. At the very least, there’s a host of fellow writers who might be developed into a full-blown network of contacts. I don’t want to discount the benefit of gaining their friendship and sharing a good conversation with them. Those are valuable items of themselves, but making contacts can lead to gaining an agent or meeting an editor. They may have information on the markets that will help you navigate a successful pitch of your work.
In the regular business world, contacts are often the difference between success and failure. Don’t expect that the writing world to be any different.
I made three new friends at the conference this year. One of them has her first novel coming out in July. If I can convince her to become one of my beta readers imagine how helpful that would be in getting my own novel ready for publication. And it will be a lot easier to get an endorsement blurb from her than it will be from a published author that I barely know. Not to mention that she turned out to be a really neat person. All of them did.
Finally, the writing conferences are probably the best place to go to be inspired. The energy that is generated from so many writers gathered together to talk about the process of creating great stories is impossible to resist. As soon as the conference finished I wanted to rush home and write a dozen novels.
This year the keynote speaker was Anne Perry. Wow! Or maybe that’s WOW!!! Her keynote speech was fabulous. Not only did she throw out gem after writing gem to the audience, she did it with style and inspiration. She let us know that we are not merely word smiths that assemble bits of language together, but are noble creators of ideas that have the possibility of staying with society for ages to come. And that we should find our own individual passions and write about it. If we are not sharing what’s in our hearts as well as our heads then we have done a great injustice to ourselves.
Maybe StoryMakers isn’t the conference that best meets your individual needs. Start looking around. Find one that is within your price range; close enough for you to be comfortable to travel and attend; and with a focus that matches your writing goals. Then go and be inspired.