The second writer’s conference I attended this fall was the Breathe Christian Writers’ Conference. This conference is Friday and Saturday, so it’s not as expensive and you don’t have to take much time off from work. This year the conference was held in Dutton, MI (just outside of Grand Rapids). Since I live in Grand Haven I decided to make a mini vacation out of it and got a motel room for Friday night.

The theme was “What’s Your Story?” The keynote speaker was Terry Whalin. He spoke Friday night about never giving up. He said:

1. Figure out your goals, your big plan for your writing life.

2.What’s stopping you from completing those goals.

3.Take control of the distractions; take back your time.

4. Overcome the Catch 22 of publishing – publishers want to know your writing experience before they take on your book, so do some writing for magazines.

5. Discover the lost art of apprenticeship. (join a critique group)

6. Read in the genre you write.

7. Join an organization in the genre you write.

8. Build a platform.

9. Engage the marketplace.

On Saturday Terry’s topic was “Keep Growing, Keep Learning”. Here he pointed out eight characteristics of a successful writer:

1. Learn how to rise from the challenges of life.

2. Understand and practice the pain of discipline.

3. Combine persistance with perseverence.

4. Find ways to celebrate every positive milestone.

5. Be willing to learn from every possible source.

6. Embrace your partnership with the editor and other publishing professionals.  (Never resist re-writing and editing)

7. Know and understand the power of business cards.

8. Never rest on your laurels. Always look for the next opportunity.

The workshops at this conference were amazing. I learned about plot building, more on blogging, how to hook people with the first paragraph of a short story, how to be an editor’s favorite freelance writer, and much more.

There was also the opportunity to meet one-on-one with authors, editors, publishers, and agents. I did not take advantage of that time at this conference because I was so busy attending the workshops.

Then there’s the fellowship at meals with other writiers who are struggling just like you. It is encouraging to hear how other people are experiencing the same things you are as they pursue their writing goals.

As I mentioned in my last post – attending writers’ conferences is a must to help you in learning the craft of writing. There is so much more to it than just putting words on paper.

I hope these last two posts have nudged you into checking out writers’ conferences near where you live. They are well worth the time and money. You will never regret going.  No matter if you are working on your first book, short story, poem or have written 10 books there is always something more to learn.

The world of writing and publishing is changing all the time. You don’t want to be left out in the cold. If you are serious about writing, attend a conference as soon as you can.

If you have attended conferences in the past please tell us about them in the comments. I’d love to hear about other ones around the country.

(If you are interested in attending the Breathe conference next year go to breathe.com. The dates are Oct. 18 & 19, 2013.)

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