I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago in praise of small conferences---great opportunities not just for workshops, but also for getting involved with your local writing community. No matter what genre you write or where your dream conferences take you, I hope that you will always return to your local writing groups and take care of each other.
That said, today I want to talk about going to the conferences of your dreams. You know the ones? The ones that increase your heart rate, the ones that make you hyperventilate a little?
Some of you are murmuring the names already. I can hear you.
The places on my list are LeakyCon, ALA, Big Sur, SCBWI. I could easily slip onto a plane headed for Comic-con or Bouchercon.
Someone else's list will look like a pile of letters. Your own list will feel like poetry.
But what about those of you who have yet to define your dream? This post is for you.
Keep in mind that conferences don't just cost lotsa dollars. They also cost lotsa energy and require a time shift away from things like Actual Writing and Sustaining Relationships.
Before you dump all your available resources into a conference, please take time to consider whether you're following your heart or someone else's. This may sound obvious, but it's amazing how many writers don't know what they want for themselves. They'll go along because their writing group is going. They'll go along because online friends are going. They'll go along because they went last year. They'll go along because they haven't done the research or the soul-searching to know what they want instead.
Not sure if you're being true to yourself, true to your own dreams? Ask yourself these questions:
- Which living authors inspire you? Are those authors participating in any conferences, workshops, or mentoring programs?
- What books do you love? Where do other fans of these books congregate?
- Do the books you love ever win awards? Who gives those awards? Does that organization host a conference?
- Do the authors you love belong to professional writing groups? Which groups? Do those groups host conferences?
- Who works with the authors you adore? Think about agents, editors, publishers. Are those professionals speaking or doing workshops?
Take your list and look for overlap at points of awesomeness. We'll call these POA. Any single POA might be a wonderful thing. Where many POA overlap, you've got yourself a dream.
Please note that there is no need to discount another person's dream in order to follow your own. You're not looking for reasons a conference is wrong for you. You're not arguing that your conference is right for everyone. You're simply looking for overlapping POA that make you grin like crazy.
Those are your people. That's where you belong. A recitation of those names will sound like poetry. They'll also keep you focused on your dreams and they'll keep you putting money into your conference savings account.
I'll be going to LeakyCon this year. Just saying it makes me hyperventilate a little.
The POA overlap at LeakyCon? Holly Black, John Green, Hank Green, Lev Grossman, Maureen Johnson, Jennifer Laughran, Stephanie Perkins, Rebecca Sherman, Margaret Stohl, Laini Taylor, Kate Schafer Testerman, Robin Wasserman, Evanna Lynch, Scarlett Byrne, Team Starkid, MuggleCast, Meghan Tonjes, Tonks and the Aurors, Alex Carpenter, Ministry of Magic, Gred and Forge, Lauren Fairweather, The Whomping Willows, Harry and The Potters. Mmm. Yeah. Serious POA.
Where are your dreams taking you? How long will it take you to get there?