Jessie: Eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s start of the Malice Domestic Conference!
Everyone has an idea of their dream vacation. For myself and a lot of the writers I know, some of the best vacations involve attending writing conferences. I realise a working vacation is not everyone’s idea of a great time but I promise, for many of us it’s true.
Because our work is done in solitude, we have to seek out opportunities to interact with other people in our industry. Writing conferences function sort of like an office water cooler for us. Despite the fact that many of us would proudly claim the label introvert, we still enjoy spending time with people who have an idea of what it is like to be in this crazy business. In fact, when writers get together, most of us are having such a good time we are quite outgoing.
It does the heart good to talk with people who really understand why an agent requesting the first fifty pages of your manuscript is enough to keep you going for a couple more years. It is wonderfulto have the rare chance to compare notes about the writing process, craft, the state of the industry and how to reach new readers.
Putting faces to names is part of the fun too. Often writers have online correspondances with each other long before they meet in person. Having the opportunity to visit live with people you feel like your already know, but have never meet, is such a treat. Meeting readers, especially those who have commented on your blog posts, or have sent you fan mail, is truly wonderful.
There’s also the fun of star spotting. Conferences are full of other writers you respect and to whom you have written fan mail of your own. At conferences you can listen to them share their own stories from seats on panels or you may even be so lucky as to run into them in an elevator or at the bar.
So, if you ask a writer about their vacation plans, don’t be surprised to hear them gleefully replying they are headed for a long weekend of staying indoors and talking shop in a city not know for its tourism.
Readers, do you love to attend conferences in your industry? Writers, do you have favorite conferences you’d like to recommend?