I've returned home from Mount Hermon writer's conference set in the glorious red wood covered hills of California. So much green it made my eyes ache just looking at it. And while the area is famous for its spring rains, we enjoyed nearly a full week of sunshine and warm breezes. The only rain came on our final morning of the conference and blended with our goodbyes.
I attended the Career Track (additional application must be processed and accepted before being allowed to attend this track) with the other five ladies I blog with over on Novel Matters. While we behaved impeccably at all our sessions, and professionally whenever we set foot on common ground, we did have ourselves a hoot in the privacy of our cabins (cabins? More like charming small homes complete with closed in porches, claw foot tubs, and huge windows that opened wide to let the sun dappled breezes cool and refresh). It was a highlight of my time there to bond more deeply with these women - fantastic authors each of them.
And while we laughed until our sides ached (mine still do, a little), we also shared ideas, read our works in progress to each other, stretched each other, and challenged each other to grow as writers. We shared our hearts and our hopes and became a true community. I'll forever be grateful for those precious moments of "alone time" with these women. I'm a better writer, and a better person because of them.
Naturally, much more went on at the conference than bonding with friends. I was able to chat face to face with my agent, Wendy Lawton, something we'd not been able to do before. We were privileged to listen in on conversations between editors and agents (The entire conference was able to attend panels given by agents and editors - and while hearing the straight scoop wasn't always easy, it was valuable information for any writer to know).
Writer's conferences cost time and money - things we can not afford to waste. I'm not one to tell people where to spend their resources, but I do suggest if you are serious about learning the craft of writing, consider attending a conference. Research your options and choose one that best suits your needs and your career goals. Networking is one of the most powerful advantages of attending a conference. There's nowhere else you meet so many people in the industry. The value of that alone is priceless.
I'll be attending another great conference this spring, The Word Guild holds its annual Write! Canada conference June 18-20 in Guelph, Ontairo. Check them out and consider attending.
I bid you good writing.