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  • J. J. Hanna

Making Writers' Conferences Last

If only writers' conferences could go on forever. I recently had the opportunity to go to Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference and I had the time of my life sitting and talking with editors, agents, and authors about the industry and writing and learning how to make my writing better.

But, like any amazing experience, you end up feeling like you’re on the “mountaintop.” The experience was great, but what happens if you don’t take the lessons you learned while on the mountain back into the world with you? Nothing has changed. So, how do you maintain the “mountaintop experience?” How do you keep the conference going long after it’s ended?

Here are a few things you could try:

Read books by the authors that spoke.

Likely, if they’re asked to talk on writing, they have a book on writing. I plan on diving into Troubleshooting Your Novel and Story Trumps Structure by Steven James, along with a few others.

Listen to writing podcasts suggested by the speakers.

One that I was able to learn about through the conference is Write from the Deep and it will be a great source of encouragement as I continue on as a Christian writer.

Put the advice to the test.

Likely, at the conference, you learned a lot of techniques and methods that you want to try. Now is the time to try them. Pick one a week to test out and see how they work for you. This is the only way to make sure it didn’t go in one ear and out the other.

If an editor asked for your proposal, send it to them.

I’ve heard that only a small percentage of writers actually send their manuscript proposals to editors when the editors ask for them. This is sad and a little silly. If an editor wants your work, isn’t it in your best interest to send it to them and see if they still want it? The worst that can happen is they say “no.” The best that can happen is you walk away with a contract. Why wait?

Connect with the people you met at the conference.

Part of the reason these conferences exist is to provide a networking area for writers, editors, and agents. That is lost if connections aren’t made. Likely, they’ll be glad to have made an impression on you. Let them know you’re still thinking about something they said, or involve them in the opportunities you hear about.

Writers’ Conferences are amazing and I hope these tips can help extend the experience for you.

Until next time,

J. J.


J. J. Hanna is a Professional Writing major at Taylor University. In her spare time she makes Youtube Videos and Comics, and practices Karate at a local dojo. If you have a writing question, she'd love to hear from you! Reach out to her on the contact page. She is also looking for freelancing work, so if you have editing, beta reading, or writing needs, please let her know.

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