Monday, February 27, 2012

The Five Top Reasons to Attend a Writing Conference

By: Jan Cline
Spokane Valley freelance writer, author & speaker

It was my first writer’s conference. I sat close to the stage where an author I had never heard of spoke about her writing/publishing journey. Her words were inspiring and discouraging at the same time. Even though she was enjoying great success as a bestselling author, her road to fame had been long and arduous. Rejection after rejection had left her wondering if she would ever be good enough to be published.

But she stuck it out. She endured years of rewrites and committed herself to learning her craft. It paid off in a big way for her, not everyone is so lucky. As I listened to her story, I wondered if I would have the fortitude to hold tight to my dream to be a published author.

After attending wonderful workshops that weekend and networking with other writers who had the same dream, I knew I had to give it my all. I would listen, read, learn and push myself to be a better writer. That conference was the turning point in my writing journey.

Since that day I have attended three more conferences and met more writers and publishing professionals than I can count. One of those conferences is the Inland NW Christian Writers Conference here in Spokane, which I founded and direct. This Spring I will attend a large conference in California and present a workshop at another conference in Seattle. I have learned more about the publishing industry, especially in the Inspirational genres, than I thought I would ever need to. I have become friends with other writers in the Northwest and beyond. Doors have opened and I have stepped, no, jumped through them.

All this because I attended that very first conference.

My experience is not unusual – except for the part about starting my own conference. However, I’m still amazed at how many writers I meet that have never even considered attending a conference. Partly because they are often expensive, and partly because they don’t realize how much they would benefit from attending one. I know I had no idea where it would lead for me.

Writing classes are good, writing and critiquing groups are even better. But I believe every serious writer should consider a conference. Why? Here are some key reasons.

1. Networking with other writers

2. Access to a variety of workshops all in one place

3. Meeting publishing professionals that could help your career

4. Inspiration and idea exchange

5. Clarification as to whether you were really meant to be a writer

You may ask why I listed that last point. At each conference I’ve attended, I’ve talked to at least one writer who has told me they knew after it was all said and done that they were not committed enough to pursue writing anymore. Some said they were actually relieved to put to rest a dream that was no longer a passion. It’s not defeat, it’s direction.

Do you ever wonder if you have what it takes to live your dream to be published? Do you need a gentle nudge or a kick in the backside to take your writing up a notch? Do you need to be inspired by other writers and authors to refresh your dream?

A conference might be just what you need.

I would love for you to come to my conference – but it may not be the one for you. You can check us out at There are lots of other conferences to consider. I hope you will keep an open mind and save your pennies to attend one of them in the next year. You won’t regret it.

Here are some possibilities.

  • Pacific Northwest Writers Association
  • Pikes Peak Writers Conference
  • Northern Colorado Writers Conference
  • Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

  • South Coast Writers Conference

Happy writing!

Jan Cline

Jan is a freelance writer, author, and speaker from Spokane Valley. Since 1996 she has been speaking to women’s groups at retreats and meetings, on a variety of topics. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, NW Christian Writers, and leads a writers group in her area. Jan is also founder and Director of the Inland NW Christian Writers Conference. She has had numerous articles and short stories published, including a Chicken Soup for the Soul book coming out in March 2012. She is currently on the final edit of her book, A Heart Out of Hiding, which she hopes to have published by the end of the year.


Kathy Cooney Dobbs said...

Thank you, Jan for your blog post & outlining the benefits of attending a writer's conference ... You've motivated me !

Jan Cline said...

You won't regret it Kathy!

Writing North Idaho said...

Jan, I am so glad you joined us today! You have listed valuable points highlighting the benefits of attending writing conferences. While there are several conferences to attend throughout the year, your conference not only offers inspiring speakers and hands-on workshops, but also has the advantage of being "close to home" for us North Idaho and Spokane area writers. Thanks!

elizabethbrinton said...

Thank you for this post. I have met life long friends at conferences and value the experience tremendously. The information you have furnished us with is wonderful.

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

Thanks, Jan! I too am a big fan of conferences for all the reasons you said. I find that they are a real booster shot for flagging enthusiasm.

See you soon at the Inland NW Christian Writers Conference!