When Is a Writers’ Conference Right for You?

Chris August 20, 2012 No Comments Insight The Writing Life

Part of what I hoped to convey in my last blog post (SEE: Ain’t Wasting Time No More) is that when you really want something, you have to DO something. I’m not talking want like you want a box of Krispy Kremes fresh off the gooey conveyor belt and will pout like an infant when you don’t get it. That’s a like, not a want. You’d LIKE some donuts. You have to WANT to write.

Otherwise, there’s no point in trying.

So that’s to say no conference, program, how-to book/blog or group will (insert booming echo voice) MAKE YOU A WRITER …if you aren’t already doing the work. At best, these things will give you tools–just as a good psychiatrist or coach would–but don’t buy in thinking any of it will do the work for you.

We have tried hard not to make promises with Crossroads that we can’t keep. We stray away from too much talk about getting publishing (though the awesome editors of Akashic Books and Mercer University Press are joining us) or finding an agent (though the lovely Carrie Howland of New York’s Donadio and Olson is joining us) because we don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

The cart is getting published and making a living writing books. The horse is all the hard knock crap you do to have the hope of maybe one day sniffing the cart.

And the reason we don’t traffic in dreams of publishing stardom? Because we ourselves are all, by and large, trying to figure out how to be more creative, more prolific, more versatile. Our board members have written and published books, have crafted screenplays and had options bought. But none of us are famous yet, so we’re staying focused on the horse.

To get the most out of a writers conference–and Crossroads is no exception–know what you’re putting into your writing and ask what’s keeping you from where you want to be with it. Do you just need some more guidance? Is there a particular impasse you can’t see around? Maybe you want to find other writers who can help hold you accountable and be a source of good feedback.

We can help with those things, no doubt, but if there may be other options to consider. If Crossroads won’t work for you, we won’t be happy. So check out some of these links to navigate your decision.


25 Ways to Rock a Writers Conference by Robert Lee Brewer

“What are the BEST writers conferences to attend?” by Chuck Sambuchino on Writer Unboxed

Attending a Writers Conference by Sarah Rexman

Why a Writer’s Conference Is Important by W. Terry Whalin

How to Pick and Choose a Writers Conference by Bob Mayer



AWP’s Writers Conferences & Centers Guide

Shaw Guide to Writers Conferences

New Pages guide to Writing Conferences

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