Like most things in life, there is a fine line between not networking enough as a writer – and focusing on networking at the expense of your actual writing time. If you find yourself spending too much energy on networking, it’s probably time for you to be honest with yourself. Do you really want to write – or do you simply enjoy socializing with writers and other Christians? Neither answer is “wrong.” A candid self-assessment, though, will most likely save you a lot of frustration — and this process will help you to determine what value there will be for you in attending Christian writers conferences.
If you truly want to write and aren’t networking enough, you’re missing out on plenty of potential opportunities. I’ve found numerous writing jobs and made multiple contacts (and friendships!) by attending writing conferences. And, don’t worry if you don’t feel polished enough yet. Here’s the story that I share in Everything to God in Prayer: A Writer’s Weekly Devotional about my first writers conference, one where I ended up getting a rewarding writing gig that lasted for years.
It was in the early 1990s and I was barely published. But, boy, did I want to be! So, I decided to attend my first writers conference – the Midwest Writers Conference in Canton, Ohio. I was able to sign up for a ten-minute one-on-one time with Linda, the editor of Ohio Writer, so I went to the library and devoured every single issue of the magazine so that I could speak knowledgeably about its contents. I created a resume to share with her that highlighted the handful of articles that I had published and I rehearsed very professionally asking her for an assignment. My pen was SO ready!
Well. When the time arrived, I started out just fine but I quickly devolved into begging, “Oh, please. Please. Just please let me write for you! I can. I know I can. I promise that I can!” This went on until Linda finally put a hand on my arm and told me to take a couple of deep breaths. So, I did. She then told me to take another one and, after I complied, she told me that she had agreed to give me an assignment at least one or two minutes before, but I hadn’t heard her because I wouldn’t stop talking.
Fortunately, Linda saw the humor in the situation and she instructed me to say: “What do you want me to write about? When do you need it? How much will you pay me?”
So, what do you have to lose? It’s unlikely that you’ll be LESS polished than I was – and it still bore fruit.
If you’re looking for a friendly and welcoming Christian writers conference, be sure to check out the Northeast Ohio Christian Writers Conference on April 7, 2018. Probably the most comprehensive site to find writers conferences, overall, is Shaw Guides, where you can search for the best conference for your needs by location, genres covered and months scheduled. If you’re looking for a writer’s group that can offer support and education, consider the International Writers Association.
Register for the 6th Annual Northeast Ohio Christian Writers Conference
The cost is $25 for a full day, which includes a light breakfast and lunch. You can register online or send a check to NEOCWC/PO Box 3345/Lorain, Ohio 44052. You can pay at the door for $30. And, if you would really like to go but paying $25 would be a hardship for you, please email me ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Simply share why attending is important to you and a bit about the hardship. We have five scholarships to award.
We’d love to also see you on Friday, April 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.! From 6-6:30 p.m., you can enjoy socializing and refreshments. From 6:30-7:30? A presentation of Bound Together: One Great Bundle of Humanity, a thought-provoking one-act play starring the incredible Debra Rose and amazing Judy MacKeigan. More time for refreshment and conversation will follow. You can register online for $10, pay by check at NEOCWC/PO Box 3345/Lorain, Ohio 44052 or pay at the door. The entire community is invited– meaning even people who aren’t attending the full-day writers conference on Saturday. Please share the news!