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Why Go to a Writers' Conference?
by Susan Denney

Here are ten good reasons why you should go to a writers' conference. (And even if you don't like numbers 1-10, I have a bonus one for you that is a real winner.)

1. You will meet other writers. Some of these writers have been down the road you are on right now. Writers as a group are very supportive. At writers' conferences you make friends who can help you with whatever problem you are having or might have in the future.

2. You will get practical information you can immediately put to use. There might be a seminar on how to organize your paperwork or how to format a manuscript or how to send a query to an editor or agent or how to do your taxes. You will definitely get some nuts and bolts knowledge that you can use to make your writing pay off better.

3. You will get energized. There's nothing more infectious than a bunch of people all excited about doing the same thing. You'll get the desire to write more than you ever have before because you'll be spending time with people who are passionate about writing.

4. You will learn something about writing. Isn't part of the reason you write that you love reading and gaining knowledge? Nothing is more exciting than learning something new and writers' conferences are always full of new ideas and insights about the craft.

5. You might enter a contest before you go. Some writers' conferences have writing contests. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you will be doing some serious writing and you will be trying to make it your very best. With any luck, you will get a critique which will be helpful to you. With better luck, you will win something.

6. You may discover a genre that works for you. A friend entered a contest (see number five) and tried her hand at confession writing. She didn't win the contest but she sold the story. She would probably never have tried that particular kind of writing if it hadn't been for the conference.

7. You may find a new market for your work. Conferences attract all kinds of writers. Maybe you have never thought about publishing in an e-zine or in a newsletter. You will find writers who know all kinds of ways to get published and who get paid doing them.

8. You will feel like a professional. Professionals go to conferences to better themselves and to learn more about their chosen fields. Why not you?

9. You will get inspiration. There will be speakers who seem to be talking directly to you. Some have overcome great obstacles in order to succeed. They will give you the courage to keep on writing.

10. You might get an agent or an editor interested in your work. Why do you think they come to these conferences anyway? They are looking for people like you who have a book or an idea that will make money for them. You can get an appointment and find yourself face to face with a living, breathing editor or agent and not at the bottom of a slush pile.

Not convinced? Well, here's my bonus reason.

11. You will be able to write off the trip and entry fees as a business expense. I told you it was a winner. Uncle Sam will give you a tax break for attending this conference even if you haven't started making money yet. (He will expect it in the near future but this conference will get you so fired up about your writing that making money will be no problem.)

I hope you're convinced. I'll be going to a conference this month and boy, am I excited! And I'm going to save all my receipts.

© Copyright 2004, Susan Denney

Susan Denney is a freelance writer living in Pennsylvania. She has published children’s fiction and nonfiction as well as adult articles on a variety of topics. Check out her website at www.susandenney.com.

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