One of my goals for 2012 is to hone my writing skills. If this is one of yours, one way to do this is to attend a writers' conference. At a conference you can learn new skills, meet other writers and hear about the latest trends in the publishing market. Try to attend a conference that has a faculty of editors from publishing companies and magazines, plus literary agents. There should also be freelance writers on the staff, who are writing in the field and can share their expertise.
I am on the staff of Write-to-Publish, a Christian writers' conference, held every summer in Wheaton, Illinois on the campus of Wheaton College (although not affiliated with the school). This year the conference will be May 30 – June 2. If you live in the Midwest this might be the conference for you. If you live in another area, check the ones near you. If you are interested in a specific area of writing, such as fiction, you might check out the American Christian Fiction Writers who hold a conference each September in various locations, this year in Dallas.
A conference does cost you something. In addition to the registration and travel expenses, there is the time away from work and family. But, I have found a conference to be more than worth the sacrifice.
At most conferences you will have the opportunity to meet with book or magazine editors and pitch an idea for their house. Since most publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, this is a rare occasion for you to meet face-to-face with company reps.
You will also have the opportunity to meet fellow writers. You can talk unashamedly about your work for hours without seeing eyes glaze over, which we see in the faces of our friends and family, who don’t “get us."
As you begin your year, are you considering a conference? If, so, which one are you attending?