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The Benefits of Attending Writers’ Conferences

(Even if you don’t believe you’re a writer yet!)

Are you considering attending a writers’ conference? As someone whose imposter syndrome made me initially hesitant to attend, I can now confidently say that there’s no time like the present, no matter where you are in your writing journey.

Help! I’m an imposter!

‘I’m going to a writers’ conference.’

Now, there’s a statement to boost your confidence! I mean, conference just sounds important, and writer sounds like you know what you’re doing. So, even if you’re not confident about your writer status yet, others are sure to be sold!

But seriously, if you are still holding onto that imposter syndrome, it’s time to let it go.

One excellent way to go about this is to do as many writerly things as possible; join critique groups, enter competitions, dabble in social media, do courses, and of course, attend conferences.

Learning from the experts

One of the great things about attending conferences is that they’re essentially a writer’s smorgasbord of bite-sized morsels of information, served by topic experts. It’s kind of like doing a bunch of mini-courses, which is perfect for keeping in touch with current trends and getting quick tips and fresh ideas. In the 2022 CYA conference, I particularly enjoyed the editors’ panel with Luna Soo and Rowena Beresford, and ‘Layers of Publishing’ with Alex Adsett and Kristina Schulz. I also learnt some great tips about creating characters, writing query letters and presenting to kids.

In addition to the conference sessions, the opportunities to attend editor assessments and bootcamps offer a chance to get feedback on your manuscripts from people in the know. I was pretty nervous about my first CYA editor assessments, but I found the editors to be incredibly encouraging and generous with their feedback. The experience helped me make positive changes to my manuscripts, and one of them was even signed (more on that here)!

A sense of community

Writing is a solitary business. And yet, we have this lovely community, full of like-minded people who readily cheer each other on in our writing endeavours. I think this is one of my favourite things about being a writer; sharing experiences with people who love words and stories as much as I do.

Attending a conference is a great way of connecting with the writing community and nurturing that sense of belonging. It’s lovely to meet new people and put faces to the names you see on social media. And even before the event, partaking in the pre-conference buzz is fantastic.

Booking your tickets or sending off your competition entries?

Post that selfie!

It’s amazing how many wonderful people share in your excitement.

Near or far

Thanks to the pandemic (said nobody, ever!) conferences have been accessible to many people who would have been otherwise unable to attend. I must admit that the temptation of conferences doesn’t trump my humungous fear of flying, so I’m pleased to see that CYA is going for a hybrid approach this year. Although, I’m pretty sure my kid convinced me to make my own birthday cake while listening in via Zoom last year, so maybe I really should consider booking that flight!

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Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Excellent advice. I'm seriously tempted. And I so valued the feedback I got in the CYA competition thingy last year. Still writing and editing and wishing and hoping... And all the very best to all you other imposters out there.

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