May is a prime time for writers’ conferences. Just this past weekend, there was the DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) Writers Conference, and Muse and the Marketplace took place in Boston. If you’re on Twitter, you probably saw the #muse14 and #dfwcon hashtags flying by. Both were full of writers getting together to learn about the craft and the industry, meet agents and editors face-to-face, and just hang out with other writers and talk non-stop about writing in a way that most of us don’t get to do in our everyday lives.
If you’re at these conferences, that’s fantastic. If you’re not at these conferences, every tweet is a reminder that you’re missing out. That can make you feel lonely, sad, and above all, jealous.
So if you get jealous of all those lit-partying, networking, panel-attending conferencegoers, here are a few ways to tame this particular green-eyed monster.
Next time, maybe you should go. Getting all riled up about one conference you’ve heard good things about doesn’t mean that you should attend that particular conference. But it might help you channel your enthusiasm into some research. Certain conferences are more or less helpful depending on where you are in the process — if you haven’t finished your novel, for example, you really shouldn’t sign up for a conference focused on pitch sessions. So if you find yourself wishing you were at X Conference, find out more about X Conference — and Y Conference, and Z Conference. That way you can figure out what works with your budget and goals, and plan ahead for next year. There are lots of local conferences that aren’t as well publicized as the national ones, but still offer similar opportunities, without the price tag for travel. Go looking for them. [Read more…]