by Stephanie Rodda
In retrospect, I think I thought, at that first conference, I'd meet some fabulous person who would discover me and recognize my outstanding talents and offer me a contract on the spot. That didn't happen.
Don't be discouraged however, because although what I expected did not happen, things I didn't expect DID happen. These unexpected things led to a very different life, a life I'd dreamed of for a long time. I like to call it #writerslife after a popular hashtag. That conference changed the direction I was headed, as a writer.
So, why should you attend a writing conference?
Whether you have yet to write a single word of the story in your head or have a finished manuscript in your hand, there will be workshops to direct you to the next step of your writing journey, whatever that may be in your particular case.
You will meet and network with people that will be an extended support group like you can’t imagine. You will discover fellow travelers at every stage of the journey. There will be those only beginning and those who seem to have arrived (although they’ll explain clearly why that isn’t the case at all). You’ll discover teachers, workshop leaders, agents, publishers, editors, independently published authors, traditionally published authors, industry legends, and perhaps even make a few lifelong friends. These folks will all become a part of making your dreams realities.
I have often heard that if you want to know what is important to a person, look at their checkbook. If you are ready to take yourself and your writing aspirations seriously, find an affordable conference and invest in your dreams. There is no better time than the present to stop procrastinating.
You will learn so much! Already have a book published? That’s great, but don’t let that stop you from growing and learning and honing your skill. Since that first conference, I have published two books, dozens of magazine articles, actually been paid for my writing, and led workshop myself. Still, I have so much to learn and I imagine that will always be the case.
You will learn about new venues that you may never have considered before. You will come to understand clearly that there is no substitute for hard work and determination. You’re going to have to pay your dues, stumble along the way and learn some valuable lessons that only experience can provide. Then, you get to choose to use those as building blocks as you keep on trying.
You may discover that your journey is worth enjoying along the way as you head towards your destination. How you measure success may change drastically. And finally you may find that your focus has changed. Your aspirations of writing will no longer linger in your peripheral vision. Instead, you’ll find it front and center. It will no longer be willing to be boxed up and put away for another day.
That day has arrived because you have attended a conference where you were given tools and tips of the trade. This beautiful calling we have been given to weave words, to make a difference, to encourage others and see our hopes being fulfilled is worth the time and effort!
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NLT)
Stephanie Rodda is on the SCWC staff as a Conference Assistant. She is an author of two books of nonfiction and one novel; she also is a regular contributor to magazines and posts devotional thoughts regularly on her Facebook page. She will present the session, "Journal Here, Journal There, Journal Everywhere: The Benefits of Spiritual Journaling" at this year's SCWC annual workshop.
Join us at the 2021 Southern Christian Writers Conference on June 4-5. Email us at email@example.com to register or to get more information.