I have attended perhaps a half-dozen conferences in the last few years. I paid the fees, took time out from my family life, and traveled to these conferences for three primary reasons.
First, I’m always looking to work on my craft. Many conferences offer sessions that meet this need, whether it be discussions of character or plot or even the nuts and bolts of the narrative craft.
Second, conferences never fail to inspire me. Gathering with others to talk about literature and writing always renews my drive to continue pursuing my own artistic dreams.
Third, I need to network more with agents, editors, and other writers. By their very definition, conferences always provide plenty of opportunities for confabbing and schmoozing – the only obstacle has been overcoming my own reticence to reach out and socialize with others. To help with this, I always remember the “ice-breaker” I learned at my first conference, when others introduced themselves and then invariably asked, “What are you working on?” For a socially-challenged person such as myself, learning that one line was worth the price of the conference!