>Conference exhaustionPosted: August 6, 2007
>I spent the last four days at the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon. I did some critiquing, taught a workshop, sold and signed books, took classes and networked. By Sunday afternoon, I found myself outside on a bench between pots of posies and roses thinking if I heard another word about marketing, cover letters, platforms or anything like that, I would run screaming from the building. Not that it wasn’t a good conference. I came away with new contacts, new friends, new ideas I can’t wait to put into action, four new books to read, a commemorative coffee mug, and a pile of dirty clothes.
Conferences are held all over the country, especially during the summer. They have different themes and personalities. This particular one emphasizes pitching books and screenplays to editors and agents. All weekend, it’s pitch, pitch, pitch, with nervous writers of all ages clutching their manuscripts and looking pale or delirious, depending on where they’re at in the pitch schedule. Other conferences focus more on writing or on poetry, short stories or articles. Writers looking to learn about their craft or jump-start a sluggish muse should look into attending at least one conference. They aren’t cheap. Between lodging and conference fees, you might spend a thousand dollars. Seriously. But it might be an important investment in your career. Look at www.writersdigest.com or google “writers conferences” and you’ll find plenty to choose from.
Of course, if you’d rather just stay home and write, do it. All the conferences in the world won’t make you a writer. You have to write.
Anyone want to share conference experiences?