Finding and Choosing a Writer’s Conference to Attend
In December, we discussed how in the season of gift-giving, maybe it’s time you gave yourself the gift of a writer’s conference. Not only can it be good for your writing career, it can be good for your writer’s soul.
If you have decided that yes, you deserve a mountain-top experience, next you need to choose which conference to attend – and there are many to choose from! Perhaps it’s due to the explosion in self-publishing and online books, but events are happening everywhere. Bigger cities certainly host more of them, but author events are also held in small towns, particularly if it’s a college town.
Some conferences are appropriate for writers of any genre. Ones that are local to the Chicago area include:
Let's Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference
March 21, 2020 – Mar 22, 2020
Write Like A Pro Author Conference 2020!
October 8 - October 10
Other conferences cater to writers of a particular genre. If write mystery or thriller novels, you might be interested in this one:
Murder and Mayhem in Chicago 2020
March 21, 2020
If you write romance, erotica or any of their sub-genres, you should check out this conference:
Spring Fling Writers Conference 2020
April 30, 2020 – May 3, 2020
For those who write children’s books or who illustrate children’s books, here’s a conference you would find useful:
SCBWI-IL Spring Thaw–Pitch Perfect 3
April 18, 2020
Regardless of your genre, perhaps you are interested in writing screen plays of your stories rather than novels. In that case, you should be aware of this upcoming conference:
ScreenCraft Writers Summit
April 24, 2020 – Apr 27, 2020
Another local conference that invites authors of any genre who write for the Christian market is this one:
June 17-20, 2020
While some of these conferences might specialize in a particular genre, that doesn’t mean that they don’t welcome authors who write other kinds of books. If you look at their websites, they’ll even say so. What you can learn about dialogue, pacing and plot structure will help you no matter what the genre in which you are writing.
How do you find these conferences? Well, for this article, I just searched online for “Illinois writer conferences.” I also have a Google Alert set up for that term so I get an email when something new is launched online.
Conferences can be expensive, but also worth the money. That said, many have scholarships available that you can try to win. If that doesn’t pan out, be sure to register during the “early bird” window to save yourself a few dollars.
Also consider getting a roommate to stay with you, if it’s a multi-day conference. Bring a friend or check with the conference organizers because sometimes they will help pair you up with another attendee. Even if the conference is local, you can get so much more out of the experience if you stay at the hotel with everyone else – which includes the speakers. Who knows what can happen for your career in the bar or in the hot tub!