I did something I’ve never done before. And trying new things is not something I like to do very often. This past weekend I attended my first writer’s conference. I didn’t really know what to expect, never having been to one before. My Building Your Author Platform class attended the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference. The conference was for writers and I was going as an editor so I decided to focus on making connections with people and getting advice from some of the editors that would be in attendance.
As soon as we walked into the building we saw Gene and Marylou Habecker, the former president and first lady of Taylor University. It was a nice surprise to run into them, and they seemed equally happy to see us. We continued interacting with them throughout the rest of the conference. Getting the chance to know them a little better was wonderful.
I also got the opportunity to eat lunch and dinner with different writers every day. I heard about many different projects these writers are working on and got to share in their excitement of the workshops we were attending and the connections we were making. I also discovered that a writing conference is possibly one of the best places for an editor to go. Everyone there needs something edited and I was in a prime position. Of course, it would not be possible for me to edit for everyone in attendance, but the connections I made were definitely worth the trip.
I was also able to line up one-on-one appointments with editors and publishing house owners. I used these opportunities to pick the brains of the experts. I got advice about the freelancing world and how to possibly get into houses in the future. Each person I met with gave me valuable information that I am able to put into practice today. I even got a foot in the door for an internship at one of the companies and as a freelancer at another!
Besides all the great things happening at the conference, I also was able to spend time with my fellow students in the evenings. We stayed up late talking the first night, sharing stories of our experiences at Taylor University and even stories from before our time at Taylor. Before we left for home we all went down to Lake Michigan, which was a short walk from our condo, and dipped our toes in the water. I always enjoy getting to know my classmates outside of the classroom and putting nine people in one condo is one of the best ways to do so.
Needless to say, I am so glad I had the opportunity to attend the conference. If you have never attended a conference, as a writer or editor, I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t have a book to pitch, you can meet with other people, make connections (and friends), and open the door to work with those people in the future. I got much more out of the conference than I expected and plan to go to another as soon as I can. I encourage you, if you get the opportunity to attend a conference, go!