A V-formation flock of geese seems to have one member of the group as the leader, but each member takes its turn at the point of the V, leading the way as the others in the formation honk in encouragement. The geese stay together, even when one becomes sick or injured; the group stays with it until it is well enough to continue the journey at its regular pace.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
ABOUT CONFERENCES & CONVENTIONS
Storymakers conference is this weekend and several other writing
conferences and conventions just concluded.Writing conferences can be found almost year around, but some of the
most well known ones occur in the spring.I'm sometimes asked if these conferences are worth the money attendees
spend on them and I always say it depends on what you hope to gain from them.
Because I've taught or "presented" at a lot of
these conferences as well just attending others, I've drawn a few
conclusions.First off attendees aren't
always there because of what they hope to learn.There are those who attend just because the
conferences are fun and an opportunity to meet in person some of the
"stars" they admire.Some of
these fan attendees spend years hitting every conference they hear of, but
never write or submit anything to a publisher.There are some attendees who already know it all and are just there to
show off their superior knowledge.Heaven forbid they should actually learn something new.Some are looking for a shortcut to publication
and think they'll find it at a convention.
The majority of those at the conferences I've attended are
there for multiple reasons.They enjoy
the camaraderie of other writers, they hope to make it through the slush piles
a little faster by meeting agents and editors, but most of all they're
interested in improving their work and having better manuscripts to
submit.Many are looking for that spark
that keeps them excited about writing when life has dampened their enthusiasm.
Some presenters are better writers than teachers and some
presenters do a better job presenting than they accomplish in their own
writing.That's why it's a good idea to
hear from more than one writing instructor.Some concepts like using good grammar and spelling correctly are
universal; they work for everyone who employs them.Other advice doesn't work well for everyone,
but learning about other writers' techniques and methods helps new writers
discover what does work for them and opens their minds to previously
Writing is usually a solitary experience, but it's more than
sitting before a computer and pounding out words.There's a side most of us never considered
when we fell in love with writing.There
are book signings and other PR obligations, there's learning to do home
business taxes, and there's the assumption that anyone who writes well can also
do public speaking well!Conferences
usually provide some help with the non-writing side of being a writer as well
as the nuts and bolts of formulating a well-crafted story.
Are conferences worth the money they cost?There is no definitive answer.Some are; some aren't.I've attended a lot of conferences; sometimes
as a presenter and sometimes not, some presented by individual groups such as
ANWA, League of Utah Writers, ALMA, Romance Writers of America, National
Federation of Press Women, LDStorymakers, and those sponsored by colleges and
universities. I've always learned something of value. Only those who actually
attend can judge whether or not it was worth it.I suspect that most of those who attend this
weekend's conference will consider it money well spent.