Recently I attended The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Annual Gold Conference here in Denver, CO. While attending a class on pitching, I heard literary agent Michael Carr cite a shocking statistic. He stated only approximately 10% of beginning writers will become professionals. At first, I found that statistic daunting and depressing – even self-defeating. Then it occurred to me that attending the writing conference was a perfect first step toward being in that small 10% group.
Depending on where you live, you’ll have access to various regional writing groups in your area. These groups hold their annual conferences staggered every couple of months. Conferences run one to four days, typically over the weekend. The average costs start at around $100. And while you will often save on conference fees by joining these groups’ with a membership, it is rarely required to attend their conferences.
Arguably of greater value then a creative writing degree, attending a writing conference will definitely jump-start your creative education. The RMFW Gold Conference hosted over 100 classes taught by professionals – published writers and agents who were all once beginner writers just like you. The variety of classes were open to all levels of writers and encompassed the whole of concept to publication stages.
Just starting to write? There were classes on world building, scene outlining and plotting, even motivation techniques to schedule your writing time. If you wanted a glimpse ahead on your writing path, there were classes exploring the craft a bit deeper with topics ranging from point of view and exposition to historical research and even genre specific elements such as cop talk or medieval swordplay. Classes on marketing your book, the business of writing contracts, taxes, and even side-line income sources from your book would benefit even the more advanced writers.
But, far more important, far more powerful, and far more inspiring than the educational value is a priceless community. Writing conferences are large scale “pay-it-forward” events. They are organized and run by member volunteers – people drawn together by their common passion. Everyone I met was approachable and genuinely interested in my writing goals. New attendees and conference veterans alike buzzed with a synergy to see each other succeed through mutual support, education and encouragement.
That synergy is the most important reason to attend a writing conference. The connections you make and the confidence you build can sow the small seed of belief that you too can be part of that 10% group. A multi-day self-help intensive, writing conferences can help you forge a plan to turn the dream into reality and grow into your own as a professional writer.
Follow your destiny. Tell your story. Let us help you. It’s Kismet.