The Joy of Writing Conferences

The Philadelphia Writers Conference took place this weekend as it does every June.

I look forward to it every year because it’s a reminder that I’m not alone in my mole hole tapping on the keyboard. Yes, there are fellow sufferers out there. We writers are a masochistic lot. Even those of us who actually have made a living at crafting words spend a good deal of time wrestling with self-doubt and anxiety. Or maybe that’s just me. I’m never sure until I go to a conference and meet my fellow sufferers.

Generally, we are the writers seeking to break through into the world of fiction. We attend workshops in writing compelling characters, creating tension, writing short stories, mysteries and thrillers, and screenplays. They are all wonderful, taught by lovely, helpful writers who speak encouragingly while we take dutiful notes.

We listen to guest speakers, usually those rare creatures known as literary successes, who dole out words of wisdom and hope some of their magic dust sprinkles on us.

We have pitch sessions with agents whom we approach with a mixture of trepidation and awe because they are the gate keepers to the literary world we crave to enter.

I may sound jaded; in fact I’m not. I love conferences. The teachers are usually excellent; the speakers are delightful; the agents are generally quite kind and approachable. The 2015 Philadelphia Writers Conference was a wonderful time as always.

The workshops, speakers and agents, were terrific; however, they were not necessarily the best part of the experience.

I think the most important thing I took away from any conference was the understanding that we are not alone in our efforts. Many others are struggling as well. So always reach out to the person next to you and say hello. Ask what project he or she is working on, exchange contact information, stay in touch. Encourage each other. As writers, we are part of a community. It’s important to be a good community member.

3 Comments on “The Joy of Writing Conferences”

  1. Thanks so much for your post. I’m attending my first conference in Pebble Beach, CA (The Catamaran Writers Conference) in August. I’ll be in a nonfiction worksop with Frances Lefkowitz (“To Have Not”). I’m so excited and it helps to read about positive experiences such as yours. 🙂


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