Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Attending Writers' Conferences

Ah, writers’ conferences! There seems to be a prolific amount of such things, and as aspiring authors, we are encouraged to attend as many as possible. For the record, I have attended two main conferences and one mini-conference, which was actually more of a workshop, conducted by a major literary agent.

The truth of the matter, at least for me, is that I can’t afford to attend most conferences. The conference fees alone, although reasonable when you consider what’s offered, is hard for people on a budget, but then when you consider the cost of travel (air fare or otherwise), hotel accommodations, meals, etc, it can add up to a hefty chunk of money.

Another truth is – are you ready – writing, or being an author, does not a wealthy person make. Unless, of course, you’re famous – Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson – or…well, you get my drift. These famous writers actually have their books turned into movies. I mostly read Christian fiction, of which authors I didn’t even mention – my favorites like Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Ted Dekker, and others – they have done well also.

What about us fledgling wannabe writers who feel we have a story burning in our hearts, a story that God inspired us to write? It is a lonely road to embark on that seems to require more time and money than we may ever get a return on. It’s hard not to struggle with discouragement and doubts.

I attended the FaithWriters Conference this past weekend in Portland, OR. I loved meeting new people, sharing stories, encouraging one another, learning new things. I won an award for an annual contest FaithWriters has, the Page Turner Contest, so perhaps you may be thinking I had a leg-up on some other the other conference attendees. Not so! I sat amongst these lovely people with my usual self-doubts and anxiety regarding if I will ever be recognized as having a gift the world wants to read.

It can, and probably will be, a very lonely road – this journey of writing. You have to ask yourself how badly you want this. If you want it, then don’t give up! Keep walking the path set before you. In the beginning, and throughout, your greatest cheerleader will be God Himself. If He believes in you, then it behooves you to believe in yourself.

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