Still, the opportunities are not always so close to home and I have previously travelled to Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide for conferences, usually at my own expense. I do this not because I’m wealthy (the phrase ‘rich author’ is almost oxymoronic) but because I consider myself a professional and see professional development as an important part of my writing career. I have scrimped and saved to get to some of these events but have never regretted the expense when I’ve got to the conference – or afterwards.
The point of this ramble is this: if you are truly serious about being a professional writer, seek out professional development opportunities and seize them. You don’t need to spend a zillion dollars attending every single event. Choose those which you feel are most relevant to tour writing interests and the stage of your career. Talk to other writers who’ve been in previous years and find out what they’ve got from their attendance. Look at the list of speakers or workshop offerings, and the networking opportunities. And, yes, consider your budget. If you can’t afford to travel across the country or across the world, look at what is on offer closer to home. There might not be a big children’s writers’ conference, but there might be a writers week component in your city’s festival, or a literary festival which has writer’s sessions.
I’m still buzzing from my weekend at the WA SCWBI conference. It’s a feeling every serious writer deserves.