I know what some of you are thinking. The idea of going to a writer’s conference is like fighting an entire army of Goliaths with your hands tied behind your back. You’d rather have a root canal with the dentist using a jackhammer than walk into the alley called “ACFW Conference” where sharpshooters, aka editors and agents, will pick you off.
I used to be that way. I’d come up with any excuse to steer clear of those suicide missions. Um … My great, great distant uncle’s second cousin died … in 1943. If I leave my family, the dog will eat my child’s homework and he will grow up to a life of crime. Writing is illegal in the Missouri and if I crossed the border, I’d be apprehended and thrown in the slammer. Surely agents and editors knew where I lived. They’d come looking for me.
Nowadays, when it comes to those symposiums of dread, I still run for my life. There’s just been one change. Instead of running away from them, I run to them. I was set free from my paranoia when I realized almost every single other person who attended those gatherings was as frightened as me. Maybe even more.
Just like me, you’ve chosen to be a writer. A creator of all manner of precarious prose to lure readers into another world. Or perhaps your heart stops beating when your hero steals his first kiss from his new fair lady. That’s the fun part. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of sitting with dog-eared pages of our manuscripts and fearing our beads of sweat will somehow shower the editor we landed appointments with, we could just write a story about our publishing dream come true? Poof! You’re published! Oh great. I just changed genres because that really is a fantasy. But you get my point.
Those big, scary, ravenous events that bring would-be writers from all corners of the globe, while daunting, are also life changing. They’re big enough you can disappear in the crowd, if that’s what you want to do. But you will also meet wonderful writers just like you, forging relationships that will last a lifetime. And who knows, the dog just might not eat your kid’s homework after all. So, bite the bullet, suck in a breath, stick your chest out and Get Thee to a Conference!
Reba J. Hoffman is a natural encourager whose works appear in publications such as Running for the Women’s Soul by Road Runner Sports. She is the Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy. She holds a doctorate in clinical counseling and uses her experience with people to write romantic suspense.