A writing conference? A dream. I’ve had this one for many years — and it finally happened. To be surrounded my like-minded female writers for a weekend of learning and communing was absolutely incredible. I am so unused to be around those who think like me and get excited about ideas and words as I do.

There is always so much to learn from your fellow travelers and so, I wanted to share some of those things with you here. Take what you need and leave what you don’t. Here are 6 things I took away from my first writer’s conference.

  1.  We all have imposter syndrome. In some way, shape or form, every writer questions their abilities or worth. Even the most seasoned and successful writers stare a blank page and wonder if they can ever write another beautiful sentence again. You are in good company and these feelings are part of the creative process. Thanks to Emily P. Freeman for reminding us!
  2. Dogged persistence is essential. This is not a quick match – it’s the long game. Whether you’re working on a book or building a freelance business, we’ve got to think long-term on strategy, audience, ideas and goals. So go ahead and make that 5-year plan – cause 5 years is going to pass and you’ll be better having planned for it!
  3. Speak to your reader. Everyone is not your reader, but you better figure out who is. The more people you try to speak to, the less people will listen! Workshop your intended reader and ask yourself all the important questions about who they are and what they need to hear. Tune out the noise & go hard into your calling to bring light and life to that person.
  4. Collaboration is everything. We need each other. Since I began communicating with some other writing professionals regularly (and met several of them this weekend!), I’ve been so much more inspired. PLUS: I can reach out anytime to these women & get feedback. Pricing, projects, proposals, you name it. They want to help me and I want to help them. It’s been incredible & I’m only sorry I waited so long to get so connected with people doing the same thing as me.
  5. We need space to create. As a freelancer and ideas-driven creative, my mind is constantly on the go. I’m a working mom, wife, podcaster, author and have multiple projects going at the same time. But we creative types must create space to breathe, dream and give the ingredients we’ve got stored in our brains time to rise. Like bread needs hours to just sit before baking, so too do our ideas. Create margin for the magic.
  6. Doing it scared is always a good idea. I was nervous to go to this conference, nervous to share a room with someone in a totally different life stage than me, nervous to walk up to so many people and just start a conversation. I almost cancelled a meeting I had with a new book publisher because I didn’t think my idea was fully baked enough. I almost didn’t publish this post about sobriety because I thought it was too vulnerable, too much – but I did all of this anyway and got great feedback. DO IT SCARED. ALWAYS.

Now that I’m home, I don’t plan on letting these connections and lessons go to waste. It’s important to hold on to the momentum and inspiration you get after having one of those mountain top experiences.

Writing Conference Benefits: How To Make Them Stick

If we aren’t intentional about how we hold on to what we’ve learned in a class or at a conference, we can easily lose it. That’s why there are a few things you can do to avoid that happening.  Here’s my little list of ideas:

  1. Grab contacts and photos. At the conference, get photos with your new buds, exchange contact info and start the connection right away. Create the familiarity when you are together so that connecting when you get back home is smoother.
  2. Organize & silo. Make sure you keep track of everyone you met and get them on your email list or make a post-conference message to them via email or social media. Re-iterate that you enjoyed your time together and loved learning about whatever it is they do.
  3. Go over your notes. Hopefully you took notes at some of your sessions. Be sure to go back and read over them, highlight what was most important and actually implement it. Grab a sticky note and put in on your computer if you have to but don’t forget to put what you learned into practice right away.
  4. Start one new thing based on what you learned. Whether it was a new style of writing, a new tool or an idea that got your wheels spinning, don’t wait to use it. Be intentional about setting aside time to try the new thing. It will invigorate your writing life and hopefully, be worth your time.
  5. Collaborate now. Obviously, the people you meet are a big part of this. Reach out more closely to the ones you really connected well with and find ways you can work together. Whether that’s keeping your rolodexes open, partnering for a reel, doing an interview or advertising each others stuff in your newsletters, these are your people so don’t neglect them.
  6. Write a short reflection. Reflect on what you loved about the conference and the highlights that stand out to you. Giving yourself a moment to digest and reflect may open up some thoughts you didn’t even realize you had. Take a breath and truly inhale what it is you were meant to receive this weekend!

Post Writing-Conference Opportunities

Whether you’ve attending a writing conference or not, you have so many opportunities to use your skills. If you are new to freelance writing, take a peak around my Instagram account, where I offer tips and tricks each day. You can also join my email list where I send out exclusive updates, tips, samples and writing opportunities each week here. Download 10 tips for publishing in 2023 now to get started. 

Every few months, I also host my signature course, Bragworthy Bylines: Get Paid & Published. Sign up for the waitlist here to be notified when our next round goes live!