This weekend is the gigantic party known as SCBWI Winter Conference, here in Gotham City. People who do not attend conferences, or have been to one or two, often ask me whether I think they are important. And my answer is a big, fat YES.
Writers’ conferences excellent sources of information about craft and the publishing industry. Hearing first-hand stories of other writers’ experiences are invaluable as we try to navigate our way through this madness known as publishing. But moreover, they function the same way as pep rallies. Nothing fuels inspiration more efficiently than getting the whole team together to cheer each other on.
But conferences might only be a once-a-year extravagance. They can be pretty expensive. There are smaller things to attend, like author appearances, lectures, online webinars, even write-ins. I think using these moments can help to solidify the feeling of belonging to the writing community. Anything that gets you to admit you’re a writer is a good thing.
Maybe something even smaller would be good. Book yourself into a hotel for a weekend. Or volunteer to housesit for a weekend while your friend is away. Get out of your house and get down to the local pie-shop. And commit that time to writing.
Anything you can do to make your writing feel special and important is something worth doing for yourself and the story you need to tell. Elevate the time you spend with your words so they aren’t always something crammed in between laundry and the PTA. I myself am looking forward to hearing some words of inspiration tomorrow, and seeing some great artwork along with friends and faces I haven’t seen since last year. My community.