Are you feeling burned out on writing and blogging conferences?
I’m not! And here’s why — this past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at and attend the Southern Christian Writers Conference for the first time and it was amazing! I left with a notebook full of useful information and feeling incredibly inspired. I made new friends, too!
But let’s be honest — sometimes attending writing and blogging conferences can be a waste of money and time. And if you’ve had this experience it may be because the conference was poorly planned and highly disorganized, or perhaps it featured subpar presenters.
However, here’s a hard truth — most of the time when we don’t get anything out of writing or blogging conferences it’s our own fault. Most of the time we were the ones who failed to plan and get organized.
My friend Randi Pink, author of the young adult novel Into White and the forthcoming novel Girls Like Us, calls herself a “conference-a-holic” and with good reason. She proudly proclaims that it’s because of the conferences held by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators that she is published today. (SCBWI’s 48th Annual Summer Conference will be held in Los Angeles, August 9-12. Learn more here.)
I’ve been attending writing and blogging conferences for years and I’ve learned that how much I get out of a conference has more to do with me than the conference itself. To make the most of writing and blogging conferences you must ask yourself important questions before you even step foot in the venue.
This is a question I asked myself as I was deciding whether or not I would sign up for SPARK, a five-day writing conference set to be held August 5 – 9 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Believe it or not, 2015 is just around the corner. Now is a good time to figure out which conferences you will attend next year. Here are ten writing or blogging conferences to consider.
Food Media South: The popular food blogging conference FoodBlogSouth (originally organized by Shaun Chavis and Jason Horn) is now being hosted by the Southern Foodways Alliance and has been renamed Food Media South. Set for February 27-28 in Birmingham, Alabama, FMS will explore storytelling in the digital era. Speakers include Dorothy Kalins, founding editor of Saveur magazine, chair of the James Beard Journalism Awards committee, and producer of beautiful books; Chuck Reece, editor-in-chief of Bitter Southerner; Erika Council, proprietor of the blog Southern Souffle; Roscoe Hall II, proprietor of the site Punk as Food; and Bill Addison, restaurant editor of Eater National.
The Southern C Summit: Connect, collaborate and create in a niche environment with like-minded creatives at the Southern C Summit, an annual conference organized by The Southern Coterie. The spring 2015 summit is set for April 30 – May 1 and will be held in Charleston, South Carolina. The conference promises engaging educational sessions and panel discussions with branding, marketing and social media leaders. Evening events and gatherings offer the opportunity to continue networking all while engaging in meaningful conversations in a fun intimate setting.
Y’all Connect: Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power is an annual blogging/social media conference in Birmingham, Ala. The event offers practical takeaways in corporate storytelling from the nation’s digital marketing experts. Next year’s conference will be held in June.
The Bloganista Mini-Con: Back in July See Jane Write hosted its first conference and it was a huge success! In 2015 we hope to make the Bloganista Mini-Con bigger and better offering inspiration and information for fashion, fitness, lifestyle and business bloggers. More details coming soon!
BlogHer ’15: In 2015 the BlogHer Annual Conference will be held July 16-18 in New York City. BlogHer is one of the biggest blogging conferences on the planet. Last year’s speakers included Jenny Lawson a.k.a. The Bloggess, media mogul Arianna Huffington and actor/activist Kerry Washington.
WordCamp Birmingham: WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamp Birmingham typically takes place in late summer.
Blogalicious: Be Blogalicious is a network with three major goals: 1) to be THE go-to destination and resource for influential multicultural women social media enthusiasts from all over the world to collaborate, connect and uplift one another; 2) to showcase the value of the demographic in today’s marketplace to marketers; and 3) to serve as a think tank and mouthpiece for causes, policies and issues affecting the multicultural digital space. The annual Blogalicious Weekend conference is usually held in the fall and is one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended!
Alabama Writer’s Conclave: The Alabama Writers’ Conclave was organized in 1923 and has been in continuing existence since. The Conclave is responsible for nominating, for the governor’s appointment, Alabama’s Poet Laureate. Members include fiction and non-fiction writers, novelists and short story writers, poets, writers of business and scientific works, freelance journalists, romance writers, publishers, patrons, and teachers.Through the years, the Conclave has moved its conferences around the state to provide writers everywhere better access to its resources.
Blogging While Brown: Blogging While Brown is a conference and a community for emerging leaders in digital media and social change. Since its launch in 2008, Blogging While Brown has grown to become the premier blogging conference dedicated to education, collaboration, and innovation among bloggers of color. The conference brings Black social media experts, speakers, and independent content creators together to expand their influence in social media and technology. The conference offers an opportunity to learn tools and strategies to build engaging and dynamic online platforms, leverage online engagement for offline results, and create sustainable business and activism models. The 2015 is set for June 19 and 20 and will be held in Austin, Texas.
Romance Writers of America: If you are a career-focused romance writer, then this conference is for you. This annual event gives you the chance to get down to the business of being an author. Expect education and information, networking with fellow writers, and interaction with editors, agents, publishers, booksellers, and other romance publishing industry professionals.