The shortest answer to the title question would be a resounding yes. A certainty! 100%! Absolutely, no question about it! However, there are some things that should be considered before you just jump in there and throw your hard earned money around willy-nilly. Just because you can take part doesn’t mean you should.
Let’s break down me as a Writer to give an example of how to pick and choose the best options.
My first book, Ripple the Twine, is a 60,000 word Chick-Lit novel. It’s a happy ending romance where the girl and her friends pretty much all figure it out in the end, though they live through their struggles throughout. If this was my niche, my chosen genre, and I had no desire to branch out into another (even as a sub-genre) then the following scenario would not work for me:
The Fantasy Writers conference is coming to town and will be chock full of Agents and other industry pros who are willing to talk to Writers. Plus I just saw that the Author of the dystopian novel [insert title here] is running a workshop in town next month on writing your first novel. I could do research online for how to get a book written so I’ll know what the workshop will entail.
Now, all of those options are indeed useful but only to the right Author. For someone who writes mostly upbeat and happy real-world love story type stuff I have no business at Fantasy conferences, dystopian workshops or reading up on writing my first (because I already have it).
This scenario would work:
The Romance Writers of America’s conference is coming to town. The Author of that RomCom I read last week is running a workshop at it on writing believable dialogue. Her book is available on Amazon for purchase before the conference as well and it has a lot more tips.
Narrowing down what you do, your genre, style, voice, etc., before choosing your career investments is actually the best career investment of all!
I’ve entered some contests recently with fiction. There isn’t a chance I would enter a contest that wasn’t for me though just to get my name published. I’ll explain.
Poetry contests wouldn’t be for me. Though I’ve written a lot of poetry over the years, for the most part I keep that work to myself or my blog. Bottom line I wouldn’t want to use it to enter contests because it’s not what I want to publish long term.
Attending conferences, taking part in workshops and entering contests can push you to challenge the boundaries of your work but they have to be the right ones to help you reach your ultimate goals.
A contest came up recently across MediaBistro called America’s Next Author. I can’t begin to express how hilarious it is that this writing contest has shown up now. I just blogged about reality TV for writers in my post If the Voice Existed for Writers what would we call it? back on September 14th. As you’ll read over there (link opens in new window), I’m pretty much a reality TV junkie in some shape or form so the concept of this contest is a perfect fit for me.
I’ll keep you informed when I enter because I’ll need major support in voting. And I’m not afraid of asking you to share with your friends and family to go and vote too. I’m going to need as much support as possible in making it further as the rounds go on. The help will be greatly appreciated!
This contest is a perfect fit, however, I haven’t found any terrific workshops or conferences that seem to fit just yet.
But when I do you can bet I’ll be investing my money into the ones that best work with my genre, niche, writing style and voice. And who knows, maybe this contest I’m entering will cause me to have The Voice after all!