As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve attended numerous national SCBWI summer conferences. I’ve also taken part in many other SCBWI events—Writers’ Day, Editors’ Day, and Working Writers Retreats. All have been informative, enjoyable, and always worthwhile.
However, I recently read an article that stated conferences, workshops, etc. can be addictive. The new ideas, the networking, the chatting with friends, the opportunity to meet editors and agents and learn what they are seeking, the books everywhere you look…some writers, it seems, need the “buzz” they get from this environment. And, they need it often.
But when do these writers actually sit down and write, the article asked? Are their copious notes being turned into articles, short stories, and book proposals? Are editors and agents being contacted with solid queries targeted to their needs? Are catalogs and guidelines being seriously studied so that queries can reach the best possible market? Or do some writers simply seek out more and more conferences that use up valuable writing time and large amounts of money? And, are they using up even more time endlessly corresponding with people they meet at conferences?
None of these endeavors are “wrong,” but they do seem counter-productive to the true purpose of conferences. They have tremendous value, whether they last one day, a weekend, or longer, and I certainly am an advocate of them. But this article made me stop and think. Can a person become addicted to conferences? I’m not sure, but I now realize that it’s very important, especially in today’s precarious economy, to pick and choose carefully the conferences that mean the most to me and then to follow through with what I’ve learned. I think if each of us makes the effort to do this, we will be putting our time and money to the best possible use.