Friday, February 17, 2012

The Danger of Being a Writing Conference Addict

Is there such a thing as going to too many writing conferences? Yesterday I blogged about the many different events going on in our state. And they all sound brilliant. But what do you think? Is there a point when writers should stop making the rounds of the writing conference scene? When they should simply hole up and write?

I don't know.

Because it's so nice to be with other writers. It's energizing. It gets all my creative juices flowing. It makes me feel as if this crazy dream of mine isn't so crazy after all, that it's entirely possible. I love connecting with and making new friends.I love seeing old friends. I love escaping to a world where I have a whole string of thoughts without interruption.

But I think going to writing conferences can give writers a false sense of being productive. Yes, it is energizing, but if you find you are only writing in preparation for an upcoming workshop and then letting it all fall to the wayside afterward, then something isn't working.

And I've been there. I've let myself be so busy that I don't have time for writing. But then when a workshop shows up on the horizon, I make time for it. I prioritize my life better and I find the time. And then once it's over, I get too busy again. *sigh*

Somehow I have to push through and continue making the time for the writing, which is what I've been trying to do this month. I've focused on organizing my life better so I can make the writing a bigger priority. So far I think I've been doing pretty good. I'm making time for this. I'm slowly chiseling away on the revision of my novel. Oh, so slowly.

And I think that's what I need to continue to do. I've learned so many things over the years from amazing writing conferences and it's time for me to put it all to good use. Although maybe conferences are like need to hear it every week in order for it to sink in?

But maybe my money and time would be better spent to simply hole up in a hotel somewhere and write for two days, to give myself a little vacation from my herd of monkeys and breathe and type.

I've taken a break from conferences and workshops, for the most part, in the last few years. And I'll probably continue to do so this year. Although I might try out that Writing for Charity one.  And then there's the LA Scbwi shindig...

Hello, my name is Erin Shakespear and I am a Conference Addict.


  1. Lol, Erin! Now I understand the envy in your comment on MY blog. ;) This is the only conference I go to during the year. I live so far away from everything else it's too cost prohibitive. But I do attend a summer writing retreat as well, but only to write.
    Good luck with the addiction...I think I'm just a hop, skip and a jump away from one myself.

  2. Ha ha I like your confession. :) I hope you get your novel done. It's not my type of story to read but I'd definitely read it knowing the author once you get it done!

  3. Yes I think it's possible to go to too many writer's conferences. I try to go to at least one a year, mainly for the contacts I make.

  4. I'm right there with all on this one. I think they're great if you use them correctly. You go to network, to meet other writers, and to pick up nuggets of knowledge, and you go to get energized and inspired. However.. first in your mind must be the fact that while conferences like this provide tremendous opportunities to network, you must be focused on the craft of writing. Don't be a 'writing groupie', (and there were a bunch of groupies at LTUE it seemed).

  5. Having writing in hand when going to a conference is the best way I think. I don't know if there is a more valuable resource for an early writer, but as the progression continues, they do take on a different role.

  6. Ha, the worst part about being a conference addict is all the money you have to shell out for them!

    I'm hoping to go to one of David Farland's writing classes this year. That's kind of like a conference, right? And LDStorymakers, maybe CONduit if the panels don't suck (because let's face it, last year they did).

  7. I haven't ever been to a writing conference. They always look amazing, though. But I understand getting distracted from writing! I can do so many things ABOUT writing that I neglect the actual writing time. ;)

    P.S. I have a post going up on Monday morning--it's a blog tag post, which I'm doing for fun and to help promote others, and you're one of the people I've tagged. I was going to email you about it to give you advance warning, but I couldn't find a contact email for you anywhere. So I'll forewarn you here. ;)

  8. Hi Erin. I think you can go to too many conferences. But at the same time they can be helpful: early in writing they teach you a lot about the craft, later, as you progress, you meet contacts there that can help you along with the career side of writing. Just choose your conferences carefully.

    LDStorymakers is excellent, especially if you do the bootcamp or publishing primer where you get hands on, specific help. WIFYR has some amazing weeklong morning workshops that can be amazing. I went to one last year with Martine Leavitt and it was the best experience of my writing career, aside from getting a contract.

  9. I loved this. I'm stopping by from the Platform Campaign. Cheers.