Intangible Conference Benefits

Recently I blogged about whether or not authors make money by attending conferences. While that’s not always easy to determine through cold, hard math, what you can calculate, though in a more fuzzy way, are intangible benefits:

  • Connecting with Internet friends in person.
  • Meeting authors previously unknown to you.
  • Sharing time with others who understand your victories and struggles.
  • Shaking hands with authors whose work you have admired for years.
  • Interviewing agents to see which one may be a good fit for you.
  • Seeing several editors representing your dream publishing houses.
  • Receiving advice from publishing professionals.
  • Hearing speeches from top speakers.
  • Worshipping with others.
  • Attending book signings.
  • Learning in many varied classes.
  • Forging new relationships.
  • Strengthening established relationships.

While none of these may result in cash at the moment, all are part of your writing journey and personal growth. These might be the most important benefits of all.

Your turn:

What intangible benefits did I miss?

Do you have a conference story to share?

47 Responses to Intangible Conference Benefits

  1. Ruth Anne Blanchard June 29, 2017 at 3:48 am #

    I can attest to all these things as benefits of going to conference. I went two years ago and met authors, agents, and editors. I learned about writing and the business of writing. I listened, worshipped and prayed for three fantastic days alongside like-minded people with a heart for God. I left with renewed purpose and many new friends.
    The only thing I would add is to pray about your purpose in being there and trust God to lead you. Other than that, put on your best smile and enjoy the experience.

  2. Diana Harkness June 29, 2017 at 5:22 am #

    I have attended 3 different conferences and cannot attest to any of those things, but I have found that they stimulate my thoughts and give me new avenues to consider.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 29, 2017 at 5:45 am #

      Oh, Diana, I looked at the list again and I am so sorry. Perhaps look for different conferences that have the potential to come closer to meeting your needs.

  3. Loretta Eidson June 29, 2017 at 5:30 am #

    True on all counts! I’ve been to several conferences and I always, always learn something new.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 29, 2017 at 5:46 am #

      Yes, always be a learner, even after age 100! Although by then, people will be asking YOU for wisdom!

  4. Kailee Diaz June 29, 2017 at 6:25 am #

    Agreed! Conferences have provided me with valuable learning opportunities. In addition to the classes, I love meeting the people I’ve encountered online in person. It’s a great avenue to deepen those relationships and find critique groups or fellow writers.

  5. Martha Whiteman Rogers June 29, 2017 at 6:35 am #

    All those things you mentioned are exactly why I’m going to miss ACFW so much this year. At age 81, I’m still learning new things about our craft of writing. I’m busy planning our Texas Christian Writers Conference to make sure we have workshops that will benefit all writers.

    Of course, the best thing was meeting you, Tamela, at conference in Kansas City. 🙂

    One thing I learned early on is that Christian writers are there to help each other succeed. There’s no sarcasm, back biting, or jealousy. We’re in this together and when one of us succeeds, it’s good for all of us.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 29, 2017 at 6:52 am #

      Martha, I value you and your friendship so much!

      I think with Christian writing, we are ultimately working for Christ, so we all have a united, Kingdom purpose rather than just being individuals striving for our own kingdoms. As always, to God be the glory!

  6. Heather June 29, 2017 at 7:29 am #

    I live in the middle of nowhere and cannot, at this time, afford to go to a writers conference. I hope to go one day. Regardless, I still research the craft of writing and write everyday that I can to improve.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 29, 2017 at 7:53 am #

      Absolutely! Thank you for making this blog one of your stops in your journey!

  7. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser June 29, 2017 at 8:32 am #

    Perhaps the greatest intangible is in self-image; committing time and money to a conference means that you’re starting to think of yourself as a professional.

  8. CJ Myerly June 29, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    These benefits make me so excited about going to a conference in the future. Not this year, but hopefully 2018 and (most likely) 2019.

    Thank you for sharing this today. It makes the benefits of attending a conference well worth the cost. Now if only I can convince my one-year-old that a little space from mommy is okay…. 🙂

  9. Marianne June 29, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    It was an invaluable experience! It was my first conference.I cannot say enough about the staff and faculty! They were so encouraging ,kind, honest, and forthcoming with their advice and did I mention funny! I laughed like I hadn’t in so long!
    I met and conversed with wonderful people. It was an invaluable Investment. The sessions helped me better identify my strengths and weaknesses. I learned so much over the course of four days and have made a list to Help me grow and will be implementing one new thing at a time. WITH GOD
    I am looking forward to the next conference…

  10. Christine Henderson June 29, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    The only I would add is to focus on local conferences where you can meet other who live nearby and get to learn about writing groups that can continually encourage and guide you where you live to keep that enthusiasm going.

  11. Sherri WIlson Johnson June 29, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    For me, conference is like summer church camp — but for writers! It’s like being at church for a week. There’s nothing like being one in Spirit with everyone PLUS sharing the same heart for writing. I get goosebumps thinking about it. Can’t wait until I can attend ACFW in Nashville 2018.

  12. Carol Ashby June 29, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    At the very first conference I attended, I met the former fiction editor of a big CBA publisher. A 5-minute conversation with him set the course for my writing career. He told me the only way to keep enough rights to use my writing creatively for supporting missions was to self publish. Not what I wanted to hear, but that conversation gave the clarity and direction that I needed. I won’t be going to conferences seeking representation or a publisher, but I’ll keep going to learn how to be a better writer and to improve my business knowledge. Most of all, I’ll go for the pleasure of being with other fanatical writers and for the new friendships with people with the same compulsion to write.

  13. Tracey Dyck June 29, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    I’m looking forward to Realm Makers next month for all the reasons you listed! It’s my first conference, and I couldn’t be more excited to meet fellow writers, learn from industry professionals, and immerse myself in an environment of people who all care deeply about writing for the Kingdom.

  14. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D June 29, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Tamela, I think you hit them all!

  15. Jerusha Agen June 29, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    I’m enjoying your conference series, Tamela! One intangible benefit I’d add would be the joy of seeing God at work in more obvious ways than we sometimes experience in everyday life. Every time I attend a conference, I’m amazed at how God works in unexpected ways to bring HIS results for me out of the experience. I’ve learned I can do my best to plan who I’ll meet with and what the outcomes will be, but the best results and opportunities are always the ones that I couldn’t plan and never saw coming–the “God moments” that leave me awed and humbled by His providential care in my life.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 29, 2017 at 11:56 am #

      With so many believers compacted in a relatively small space for days, no wonder God is at work in a special way!

  16. Julia June 29, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    I agree! I have attended three writers conferences in the last 8 months and each one has strengthened my focus and provided me with new friendships and mentors. I also think that other than learning directly from session content, I’ve found myself more attuned to hearing from God during and after.

    • Julia June 29, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 29, 2017 at 11:56 am #

      Yes, the conferences are refreshing! Thanks for sharing your lovely site, too!

      • Julia June 29, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

        You’re welcome. I got to meet Karen Ball last week at the SoCal CWC — that was a treat!

        Sorry, it asked for my website when I posted the comment, but I did not type it in correctly. 🙂 Wish there was a way to edit!

  17. Julia June 29, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    I agree! I have attended three writers conferences in the last 8 months and each one has strengthened my focus and provided me with new friendships and mentors. I also think that other than learning directly from session content, I’ve found myself more attuned to hearing from God during and after.

  18. Patti Jo Moore June 29, 2017 at 11:54 am #

    The ACFW Conferences I have attended have been SO special to me – – and I agree with your list, Tamela. 🙂 My middle daughter calls it “Mom’s Summer Camp” and she (along with other family members) always encourage me to attend. However, this year I won’t be attending—due to middle daughter having my first grandbaby!! 🙂 But Lord willing I’ll be at next year’s ACFW and see many precious friends. For me personally, it’s worth every penny!

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 29, 2017 at 11:57 am #

      Congratulations on your marvelous news! I’m a September baby. I always got “back to school” clothes for my birthday. 🙂

  19. Amanda Wen June 29, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    This will be my first trip to any kind of writer’s conference, ever. Go big or go home, right? That charge to my credit card was daunting, and I’ve never been away from my three kids longer than a single overnight. But, once the initial “what did I just do??!!?” subsided, I find myself looking forward to it! I’ve met some great people online that I can’t wait to meet in person, and I’ve just been added to the worship band for the conference. Those two intangibles are helping my anxiety give way to anticipation!

  20. David Rawlings June 30, 2017 at 1:48 am #

    A great list Tamela! I headed up for AFCW in Nashville last year (a huge hike from Australia) and found the most beneficial thing was completely unforeseen: I met my tribe. They were the people who understood my journey, faced the same challenges and were interested in my story ideas as much as I was in theirs. They spoke to imaginary characters and held entire worlds in their head, as do I. It was nice to be among “my people.” The biggest intangible for me was connecting with the guy I’m now working with as my mentor: Jim Rubart. That wasn’t what I was expecting from ACFW at all, but his input has been huge – as a support, as a guide and as a guy blazing the very trail I’m looking to walk.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray June 30, 2017 at 4:59 am #

      What a wonderful testimony, David! Thank you for sharing, and for making the HUGE trip to be there. You probably realize that a lot of Australian authors go to ACFW, and I appreciate all of your dedication and effort.

  21. Rebekah Millet June 30, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    Thank you for these posts. The information, and most of all the encouragement, means a lot. I’ll be more confident in attending my first writing conference in September. ACFW, here I come!

  22. Melissa Henderson June 30, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    I have attended a conference and a writing workshop. Both events were very, very helpful to me. I enjoyed meeting everyone and gaining wisdom from authors and readers. 🙂 Looking forward to attending many more conferences and workshops.

  23. Angela Carlisle June 30, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

    I’ve only attended one conference so far, but I plan to go to ACFW this year as well.
    Mt most memorable conference experience was getting to spend my first night with an amazing group of authors who “took me in” after flight delays combined with a registration mix-up left me with no room when I finally arrived. Sometimes the sweetest friendships come about by accident (not accidental in God’s eyes, merely our own).
    The most valuable part of my experience was the opportunity to connect with other writers. It sounds cliché to say that it was the family I never knew I was missing, but I guess that best describes it. I’ve never been a homesick sort of person, but I was seriously homesick for my “people” when I got back home.

  24. Emily Brown August 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Tamela, I read this particular blog post about a month and a half ago as I was contemplating going to my first writer’s conference, and I wanted to come back to say thank you.

    After reading what you wrote, I went ahead and bought my plane ticket from Washington, DC for the Taylor University Professional Writing Conference in Indiana. I’m so glad I made that decision!

    Not only did I hear amazing keynotes concerning faith and serving the Lord, I learned a great deal about the craft and business of writing. I also got a chance to link up with other like-minded believers who are on the same journey. That kind of connection is priceless. It was an investment that I will never regret!

    Thanks for sitting down to type this because it helped someone like me get over the fence, and experience something meaningful as a result.

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