Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why You Should Attend a Writing Conference by Susan Anne Mason

Susan Anne Mason
In light of the opening of registration for this year’s ACFW Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, I thought I’d share my views on the benefits of attending a writing conference.

Before I ever attended one, I was fascinated by all the pictures posted on Facebook of writers having what looked like a fabulous time at the annual conference! But the thought of facing such a large event felt too big, too scary. Thank goodness in 2011, I overcame my fears, and with the right motivation (meeting my favorite authors), finally took a leap of faith and booked my flight to Missouri. This year will be my 4th conference and each one has been a unique experience. 

Here are some of the advantages I’ve found:

  • Being able to meet with editors and agents to pitch your book! This is a huge and likely the most important advantage gained by attending a conference—the opportunity to get your work in front of experts and receive valuable input from someone in the industry. Granted it takes a lot of courage to make that appointment, but there’s comfort in the fact that you are not alone!
  • Paid critiques! For a very reasonable price, you can have your work critiqued by a seasoned author. Pick someone from the list that you like, someone who perhaps writes the same genre as you, and be open to their suggestions. I will always be so grateful to Karen Witemeyer for the wonderful advice she gave me on the opening pages of “Irish Meadows”.
  • Meeting other writers and feeling like somebody really understands you! It was such a blast meeting other aspiring writers like myself, people who understood the struggles of trying to write while juggling the responsibilities of a part-time job, a home, and a family. It was also a huge thrill to meet my favorite authors and to find they were all so gracious and approachable!
  • The great workshops! No matter what stage of your writing career you’re at, you can learn something new, and there’s a great selection of workshops to choose from.
  • The worship. I must admit I was a little afraid of what this might entail. I pictured loud, evangelical-type gatherings, and for this reserved, private person, it seemed very intimidating. I’m happy to say that even if I didn’t know the songs, or the words to certain prayers, I never felt out of place. Only wonderfully blessed! And the music is fantastic! (Thanks Rachel Hauck and team!)
  • Last, but not least—THE FOOD! Yes, prepare to go on a diet after the conference. The food is so good, you won’t be able to resist temptation! Especially the desserts!
A Worthy Heart
by Susan Anne Mason
If you’ve ever wondered if spending the money to attend a conference is worthwhile, I urge you to set aside your fears, save your pennies and plan to attend. You won’t regret it! You’ll probably make a new friend or two, and who knows, you might even sell your story! Hope to see you in Nashville!
About the Author
Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She loves incorporating inspirational messages of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness into her characters’ journeys. A Worthy Heart is her second historical novel in the Courage to Dream series. Irish Meadows won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Authors chapter of RWA.

Susan lives outside Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She loves red wine and chocolate, and is not partial to snow even though she’s Canadian. Learn more about Susan and her books at www.susanannemason.com.

A Worthy Heart
Maggie Montgomery’s dream of seeing America has finally come true. While visiting Irish Meadows, Maggie meets an intriguing man whom she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother, Rylan, demands she stay away from Adam O’Leary does she learn he is Rylan’s brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can’t seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother’s request. Adam O’Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam’s only desire is to earn back his family’s trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone’s effort to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break—but they soon discover the past isn’t easy to overcome.


  1. Hi Angie and everyone! So thrilled to be back here! I hope that if someone is wavering about going to the conference, this will help!
    I'll try to pop in and out today as I'm able!
    Have a great day!

    1. So glad to have you back, Sue! You're so right about conferences, I've made so many great contacts there. I met my mentor, my agent, critique partners and great friends who understand "writer-ese" at conferences.

      Can't wait to see you in Nashville this year!

  2. I'm on the fence about attending, so I thought id better read this!

  3. great blog ...I think conferences can seem intimidating, but in reality, it is a load of fun!

  4. I'm several days behind in reading this, but still wanted to leave a comment. :) Excellent post, Sue, and I wholeheartedly echo everything you've said! I was unable to attend any conferences last year, so I'm SUPER excited about going to ACFW in Nashville this summer! I've even been tempted to go ahead and pack, LOL, but figured that might be pushing things a bit. So instead I'll keep working on my writing and preparing a pitch. :) Can't wait to see you there, Sue! Blessings, Patti Jo

    1. Hi Patti Jo! So glad you're coming! I didn't attend last year either so I'm really looking forward to this year! Can't wait to see you!


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