Staying sane at writers’ conferences

We’re going to the Melbourne RWA conference next weekend. The person who recommended it to me so many years ago said, “It’s one of the most professional writers’ conferences I know,” and I’ve been meaning to go ever since.  Sherylyn went once, a couple of years ago, and said it was good, but I couldn’t make it.

We’re both going this year.

Sometimes it’s nice to chill out and simply talk to other writers.

Sometimes it’s nice to sit alone and read your iPad or write the story that wants to come out.

That’s okay.

When we get to a conference we’re often exhausted, usually because of work, but sometimes for other things.  Sherylyn, for example, is down with a bug this week, and hopefully will just be over it in time for the weekend.

Beginning writers are so often told conferences are all about the networking. That’s what you go to conferences for.  Don’t you?

Network, network, network.

I think that you don’t get much value out of conferences until you get over that ‘network’ mantra. Go because you want to listen to other writers. Go because you want to be inspired. Go because it’s lonely in your cold writer’s office and you can’t possibly write another word without a recharge.

If you want to sit somewhere quiet for a while, don’t feel guilty about it. Do what works for you. Take the conference at the pace you can manage. Coming back with fifty new friends isn’t what conferences are about. Learning and recharging while enjoying yourself are.

Let go of the guilt and enjoy the conference on your terms.

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