I keep a separate blog on another site, and sometimes my entries are the same there as they are here, including the last two I wrote. Two people who normally read my other blog added comments that I wanted to highlight and delve into:
Kara commented in my previous entry:
I think you can write to fit a certain market and still maintain your own voice. Unless of course that market is just too far removed to fit you. Takes the Drabblers, for example. We can’t [exactly] take a piece we have laying around and submit it. Not if we expect them to bother reading it anyway. They have very specific requirements, and a theme. Yet when I write for a Drabble contest, I don’t feel I’m faking it, or selling out, or giving up on my true voice, and I’d bet you don’t either.
An excellent point, and one I wished I had addressed, darn it. Her comment shows that our voice is more difficult to subdue or kill than we too often fear.
Dan commented in my previous previous entry:
So, what’s with these conferences? How do you find where they are held and how do you gain admission? Is it like a job fair?
I want to answer here, because the answer is a bit long, and will include links you might find useful.
A job fair is an apt description. At most conferences, publishers, agents and magazine editors attend. Throughout the conference, writers make fifteen minute appointments and pitch their writing. Competition is high, because there are only so many slots, and many conferences limit the number of appointments a person can make. For the conference I’m attending, the limit is three. I have to make sure I choose wisely.
The conference also provides continuing education classes and elective workshops of a multitude of subjects whether it be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or children/juvenile writing. There’s usually something for everyone.
These are usually the larger/annual conferences. You can also find single-day conferences that focus on a single subject. These are usually more local, and a lot more reasonable price-wise. Many conferences are also geared to a specific genre. You’ll find many Christian writers conferences, conferences for science fiction/fantasy writers, and romance to name a few.
Be aware with some conferences, you may need to be a member of the organization who sponsors it. If not, they many times charge more for non-members than members.
One way to find a conference near you is through Writer’s Market. For the online version ( http://www.writersmarket.com ) you need a paid membership. It’s $39.99/year or $3.99/month. If you don’t have the cash, most libraries keep a current hard copy.
You can also do an internet search, and narrow by state. Most conferences, even the small ones, have an internet page with all the information you need.
http://www.writersconf.org/ is another site where you can narrow by state, type, genre and dates.
If you want to attend a writers conference (whether you’ve been to one before or not), I highly recommend you purchase the ebook "The Writers Conference Survival Guide" by Meredith Efken. It’s $15, but well worth every penny. You can find out more about it here: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/info/mefken/