On the other hand, if you 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 writer’s 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 writer’s 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.
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 writer’s conference, be sure to check out the Northeast Ohio Christian Writers Conference on April 9, 2016.
Probably the most comprehensive site to find writer’s 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.
Find out more about my writing, editing and teaching experience at LinkedIn. If you want to connect, use the firstname.lastname@example.org address and reference this blog.