Friday Favorites: August–My 5 Favorites Concerning Writer’s Conferences.

Autumn is usually a time in which I get to enjoy some writing events. I have found writing conferences to be valuable both professionally and personally. I have met so many wonderful people and have become a better storyteller.

If you’re a writer, journalist, fellow-blogger, reader, author-stalker, I’ve got my five favorite things about writing conferences here!

1. Meet industry professionals

I hate networking. It makes me feel schmucky. But writers conferences give you a chance to meet authors and publishers in a relaxed setting. It’s been really great to learn that networking is not just getting to know people to use them in the future. Not at all. It’s really just getting to know people.

And it turns out people in the publishing industry are pretty cool. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people while at a conference or writing event.

2. New books!

Some of the best books I’ve read in the past few years are those I heard of or bought at a writers conference. And there is usually a bookstore at these things. Seriously. It’s pretty great!

3. Know trends and tools of the industry

Want to know where things are headed in the writing world? Want to learn how to do things more efficiently or closer to industry standards? Writing conferences are great to get this kind of information directly from the horse’s mouth!

A lot of what I learned about blogging has been from writing conferences. It’s a great way to get pointers on building a platform as an author, learn how to put together a proposal, or even just find out what it takes to get a book to the public.

4. Better your craft

Want to be a better writer? Read a ton, write even more, and go to a conference. Seriously. These elements are what have helped me improve the most as a writer. But I’m still not great, so I find going to a conference so valuable. It’s like vitamins for your writing life.

Presenting authors share their struggles and what they’ve found to help. Getting a peak inside the mind of a more experienced writer can really encourage and give you some thoughts to make your own writing better.

5. The community

By far my favorite thing about writing conferences is catching up with writing friends. Western Michigan has a pretty tight-knit writing community that is so wonderful to be a part of. The best part is that it is tight-knit, but so welcoming to new comers.

Writing conferences really foster relationships between writers. We are there to encourage one another and share what we’ve been learning.

If you’re in western Michigan or don’t mind traveling here, there are a couple awesome writing events coming the the next couple months.

The first is Jot. I’ve talked about this free mini writing conference before. This time it is being held on September 21 at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids. Held in just one night, presenters give a fifteen minute hyper-session chock-full of great writing tips and tools. I highly recommend this for someone afraid to make the time or financial commitment to a full writer’s conference.

The second is my favorite writing conference, Breathe. The Breathe Conference is held every year. It is geared for everyone from beginning writers to publishing veterans. The discussions and sessions are rich and the folks in attendance are generous and so friendly. I highly recommend this conference to anyone.

The Breathe Conference is being held this year on October 10-11 at the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Food is included in the very reasonable cost, so you can’t beat that. And you might even run into me there!

These are my five favorite writer’s conference things. Have you ever been to a writing conference? What are some of your favorite experiences?

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