No matter what, I usually manage to budget for at least one writers conference a year. I love a good writers conference. I even love a not-so-great one. Even if the seminars and panels and readings don't do it for me, the other writers in attendance make it worthwhile. Usually the seminars, panels and readings are outstanding (or some of them anyway). I get to be away from my everyday routine, immerse myself in a community of like-minded folks, and let my mind wander….to plan and dream, and make endless lists of what I’m going to write, rewrite, submit, read, do, and stop doing.
But this year I’ve decided I’m not going -- anywhere.
It’s about money. This year, every extra penny is going to pay off the MFA student loans, in full. The 10-year pay-off plan is only attractive if you don’t have a child heading to college in less than three. I want these loans to disappear. Other writers I know with budget concerns are also holding off on conference reservations.
And then there’s the friend who is taking a pass on conferences for an entirely different reason. She says she won’t go to another until she can say she has an agent. Another friend who has an agent says she’s going to steer clear until she can announce that the book has sold. Still another acquaintance says now that he’s published a book, he won’t go to a conference unless he’s on a panel or invited to read.
Although I’d love to announce fabulous news next time I do attend a conference, and it would be terrific to be invited to present, I hope I don’t get to the point where I stay away if I can't or don’t.
Meanwhile, any of my readers who are attending -- or presenting at or reading at or organizing -- a writers conference in 2010: How about writing a guest post for me on your experience? That way, I and the blog readers can get a vicarious almost-as-good-as-being-there thrill. Drop me an email, tell me where you are going and get on the schedule!