What’s the Big Deal About Writing Conventions?
I’m actually a pretty shy person. Making small talk with total strangers? Leaving my comfort zone to meet new friends? Flying across the country for a weekend or longer by myself? No thank you.
Except of course these are all actually beneficial activities. When I do force myself to engage in this sort of behaviour, it always turns out all right in the end. I always end up feeling great about myself. I’m always glad I did it.
But getting the ball rolling can be hard, especially if you’ve never done something like this before.
What am I talking about? Conventions, conferences, and workshop. Every year, there are dozens of events like these for writers. They exist in every major city in this country. Some of these conventions are for specific genres of books. A mystery writers convention. A science fiction and fantasy writers convention. A romance writers convention. If you do a bit of research, you’ll find them. They are great opportunities to network, make new friends, learn new things, get better as a writer, and pick up amazing experiences.
And yes, there are some great conventions for Christian writers too. The Write Canada conference, organized by The Word Guild, is right around the corner. InScribe hosts several excellent events every year.
As a writer, what can you get out of a writing conference? A lot, and I speak from experience. You often can meet editors from major publishing houses. Agents from reputable agencies are very often on-hand. You can pitch to them and ask all your burning questions. Want to meet your favourite author? They attend these conferences as well. And of course you get to run into a lot of like-minded people who share the same interests and passions as you. Getting connected with other writers is a profoundly empowering experience.
Every conference is a little bit different, so you need to do your research. Big conferences and conventions usually advertise who their guest speakers and instructors are going to be, and often they even have a public registry of other notable attendees. Most events have a variety of panels, workshops, and special events like dinners or award shows.
You may be tempted to stick to Christian events, but you may also have a lot to gain from attending conventions in the broader community too. For example, if you’re a Christian mystery writer, why not connect with other mystery writers in your community? After all, Christian writers don’t get fit into any one category.
All of this can be a bit overwhelming for authors, who are often introverts who prefer their own company. But like I said at the beginning, once you get the ball rolling, you won’t regret emerging out of your shell. In my case, I’ve met some of my best friends at writing events, and I’m willing to bet the same thing will happen to you.
Evan Braun is a full-time author and editor. He has authored three novels, the first of which, The Book of Creation, was shortlisted in two categories at the 2012 Word Awards. He has released two sequels, The City of Darkness (2013) and The Law of Radiance (2015), completing the series. As a professional editor, Braun has seven years of experience working with Word Alive Press authors. He is also a regular contributor at The Fictorians, a popular writing blog.