Anyone who writes knows that the activity isn’t exactly social. In fact, writers are often recluse, isolating themselves from the minutia of the real world and–at times–forsaking attention to personal hygiene. There’s excitement, yearning, and awkwardness. So imagine a large banquet room in a hotel, complete with customary round tables with white tablecloths, filled to the brim with these characters. Most in pursuit of professional representation and publication.
I’ve been to several of these weekend conferences, here in San Diego and in New York. The writers that go to them are, like me, well . . . serious enough to go to them. To the credit of the speakers, instructors, agents, and editors that attend, for the most part they believe that these writers–in theory–very well may be more dedicated to their craft. Possibly. For this reason alone, at conferences, writers aren’t automatically dismissed as they may be through the blind querying of agents. It’s kind of like, I suppose, getting to the first date without having to blindly call the unfortunate soul you’re pursuing.
While it’s great to meet other writers with similar struggles and (sometimes) entertaining stories of reasons they’re still pursuing publication, it’s also a bit daunting. There are many writers better than you. More knowledgable, more skilled. You realize how fierce the competition is, and while you may think you’re onto something as you dream your prose into your computer screen, you hopefully will become more informed how to do it more effectively. For anyone who’s ever pondered whether or not to attend their first writer’s conference, and pay the expense–in time and energy–consider this. You will discover ways to improve your work . . . and the revision may be more work than you thought it would be.
We writers, overall, are a hearty bunch.