Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writer’s Digest Conference: Decisions, Decisions

Happy Valentine's week! I hope you've perhaps got some fun plans lined up, even if, like us, you're not spending a lot of money on gifts or going out this year. Yes, with some major expenses on the horizon, including attending my sister-in-law's wedding in Hawaii (if anyone knows where I can magically find airfare from DC for less than the ridiculous rate of around $1,000 per person, please let me know), replacing our damaged couch and saving for a home if and when we finally move, we've been trying to cut back in other areas lately.

Speaking of cutting back, I’ve been hoping to attend this spring’s Writer’s Digest Conference in New York for quite some time, but with the early bird registration deadline now looming just a couple days away, I’m torn about whether to actually go or skip it. The main reason? Yup, you guessed it – the expense.

With so many other big financial obligations and goals on the table this year, plus the fact that I'm still eager to increase my workload and income, I’m hesitant to spend close to another $1,000 to travel to NYC, attend the conference and stay in a hotel. This is especially true because my novel is not yet finished, and I’m therefore not ready to actually start pitching my work to agents.  

My favorite editor. 
That said, I do feel like I’m making progress, however, and that attending the various panels and training sessions at the conference might help me better know what to expect once I am ready, not to mention begin to assess what I’m doing right and what I need to improve upon as I continue moving forward. 

I also have the option of skipping the NYC conference and holding out for the fall West Coast conference. If it's held in L.A. again, I would even be able to stay with family and save on hotel costs. But that’s still an unknown right now, too, and it's hard to help but feel frustrated that there are so many things I want to do and make happen, but so many other obligations to be considered at the same time. Sigh...

What would you do if you were in my shoes? How do you usually determine whether something is worth the expense or better off postponed? 

7 comments:

  1. I can see how you would be hesitant with all of these expenses coming up, but I think it's always worth it to invest in yourself and your career. If writing is your passion and you have the potential to make a career out of it one day, I would definitely go ahead and attend the conference. Do you have any friends or family you could stay with in NYC? If not, maybe there is a forum for other attendees who would like a roommate for the weekend at a hotel. NYC is crazy expensive, but we have been able to find hotel deals on priceline.com. Good luck!

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  2. Ooh man!!! This is a tough one. If you have any money in your savings that you would be willing to part with, that is an option. I have used hotwire in the past and it works wonderful for me, especially if I need a deal on flight and hotel or some combination.
    The west coast one would be fun, though too. You could even start saving for that now if you skip the NYC conference.
    Have you asked your fuzzy editors? ;o)

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  3. If you could make the finances work, I would definitely recommend going. The first time I went to this particular conference, I didn't pitch to agents since I wasn't ready, but it was still a very worthwhile experience. There are a lot of sessions about the craft of writing so you could cater what sessions you attend to where you are in the process. Plus, you'd get to meet fellow writers which is always a good thing.

    I totally understand the financial situation though. We've been cutting back too, so I've had to be smart about what I sign up for. This is why I'm not going to the Writer's Digest conference this year, and checking out a different one I've been wanting to attend instead.

    I bet the west coast conference will be great too, so if you're able to save up for that, that's a great alternative!

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  4. First of all let me say that I love your editor!

    On the subject of the conferences, I would suggest you to wait until the one in LA, because you will be able to stay with family, do the conference but also spend some time with loved ones (that for me is a win, win!).

    If you already committed to your SIL wedding and you know the expense needs to happen then skip NY and have a bit more spending room for that trip to Hawaii.

    I know sometimes sucks to be a grownup and having obligations.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

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  5. I can absolutely understand your situation. Right now I'm on a super tight budget because my future is so up in the air. I think if I were in your place I would examine my financial situation and if I could swing it and after if it would help my future goals and work I would definitely attend.

    Tracy @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

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  6. hmm, this is a difficult decision. i would definitely want to save, but the experience and connections of attending would be priceless. wishing you the best of luck in this big decision.

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  7. That is a difficult decision. I'm sure it would be worthwhile, maybe the one in the Fall might be better: You can save on the hotel, and also have more time to save money for it. Or, is there another similar conference you could attend that's cheaper?

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