One of the best ways to sharpen your writing skills—after writing and reading, of course—is to attend a good writers conference.
A good conference will send you away with lots of new ideas and remind you of things you know but have forgotten. The information you glean at a conference is worth its weight in gold. (Including the repeated advice to avoid clichés.) The creative energy at a conference can help spark new story ideas, get you unstuck if you're blocked, and inspire you to keep going.
Another great reason to attend a good writers conference is the networking with authors and industry specialists. Talking to like-minded people, sharing stories about your writing journey, meeting people willing to help and support you—invaluable!
Of course, as with any good thing, you can overdo it. Don't go to so many conferences that you don't have time left to write. Look around in your area and see what's available, then pick a good one or two to attend.
How do you know which conferences are good? Ask your writer friends who've attended conferences to recommend some. Or just go—knowing that it's a gamble—then keep going to the ones that you like.
As a writer, I like to attend between two and four conferences or workshops a year. This keeps me going when I get stuck and disheartened. As a publisher, I would often attend as many as eight to ten conferences a year. I've been to some good ones and some pretty bad ones.
I have no official connection with LDStorymakers—I'm not a member—but I'd like to say that from both a writer's and a publisher's standpoint, they have the best conferences I've ever attended. The atmosphere is one of support and encouragement and the classes are wonderful. If you ever get a chance to attend one, do it.
Readers, what are some other regular conferences and workshops that you attend that you feel are worth the time and the cost?