The Writer's
Conference Experience

© Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved




This past May my local writers group held our first Ontario Writer’s Conference. It was a tremendous experience and I came home with so much writing energy and new insights into the craft.   


Writers must write. It is what we do. And most often, writing is a solitary pursuit. When actively involved in creating, a writer is often isolated in their writing corner, hunkered over a keyboard, oblivious to the turmoil of everyday life around them. Families are neglected, chores ignored, the phone left unanswered until at last they surface from that “other world” and embrace the mundane for a while before once again disappearing into their art. 


But, a writer cannot thrive in a vacuum. It’s important to nurture the creative soul, to spend time with like-minded individuals, to network and continue the process of learning the craft. Face it. Nobody knows what it’s like to be a writer better than another writer. Certainly local writing groups can do this with regular meetings and by offering workshops from time to time. But a conference; two days of intensive classes and over a hundred writers from all over gathered in one place. How exhilarating! 


The conference experience is unique, and there is so much you gain from attending. 


  • Through classes and workshops you sharpen your writing skills and get some nuts and bolts information that you can use immediately.


  • The opportunities to network are great. It is at a conference that you can form some new relationships with professionals in the field and, if you’re lucky, perhaps get feedback from them.


  • Along with talent and skill, in the publishing business it can be a case of “who you know”. At a conference you have a chance to form some relationships that may be useful later on. 


  • A conference allows you the chance to take some classes outside your usual writing realm. If you’re a novelist, take a workshop on poetry writing. If you only write non-fiction, try your hand at a class on fiction writing. You will expand your horizons, and with luck, learn something. This might offer new publishing opportunities or open doors previously unexplored. 


  • You will be energized. At a conference you are surrounded by others who share your passion. You will have opportunities, both formal and informal, to share information and experiences. You will be inspired by those who are ahead of you in the game, and you will offer inspiration for those at an earlier stage in their writing career. 


  • By attending a conference, you can’t help but become a more professional writer as you hone your skills and improve your knowledge.


  • And at the very least, on a purely practical level, you will likely be able to write the conference off on your taxes. 


With fall comes the return to school for students and teachers. Perhaps it’s a good time for we as authors to take the step “back to the classroom” by choosing a conference. There are many. 


For romance writers, Romance Writers of America hold an annual conference. Information can be found here As well, the various local RWA chapters hold their own conferences throughout the year.


A comprehensive listing of writing conferences can be found at Shaw Guides.


And for the thrifty, there is the Muse Online Writers Conference. It’s free, so you have to book early.


Although it is nice to attend a genre specific conference, it is not entirely necessary. Any writing conference will give you the tools you need to perfect your craft, regardless of your genre of choice. 


So consider spending some time with “your own kind” and find a conference to attend. You won’t be sorry. 


Some related articles to also read: 


Everyday Courage and the Writer by Holly Lisle: 



How To Be in the Right Place at the Right Time: How I Got Published by Katrina Kittle 



About the Author:  Judy Bagshaw has been published since 2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include several novels, a collection of short stories, and short stories in multiple anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website  







Easy Way to Write Romance - by Rob Parnell