WIPs (Works in Progress) and Writer Cons on My Mind Today

I haven’t gone dark again, I’ve really been busy with two important events-

WriteOnCon, and making headway on my new WIPs, and also fine tuning more posts for the coming days. 
(Those interested in WriteOnCon, go check it out!!)
I try to take the time to make the topics I cover have heart, and aren’t solely a rant on my part, which admittedly I have issues with at times. 
But sometimes a no-frills rant is a good way to spark discussion, and not just get my dander up, but things will progress as they’re meant to I guess.
Anyway, those of you who didn’t hear or took part in last year’s first WriteOnCon, there’s still time to get in on the action, and as someone who’s unable to travel to the big in-person events, this is the only way I get access to certain info and have the chance to network, though that’s still a weak skill of mine, it’s better than not getting the chance to use it at all.
But this leads perfectly into something I’ve wanted to talk about on T.A.A. for ages, how do you feel conferences, particularly the in-person events, helped better your emerging or eventual writing careers.
If you haven’t yet the chance to go, do you want to? Is it worth going? Why or why not?
Many people advised I go to conferences for advice and insight on aspects that still cripple me, and more often than not, those are the big (Expensive!) events in either NYC or California, often L.A., and as much as I may want to, I can’t afford the in-person events, and those are the ones that have the “One on One” workshops I need that add to the overall cost of registration, and the tiny local ones don’t have them at all, and never have speakers discussing what I need to learn more about. The topics are either things I already learned “The Hard Way” or things WAY beyond my reach at my current level of understanding.
WriteOnCon isn’t perfect, but it’s free, and the closest thing to the big live events I heard legends about, and it doesn’t require me to beg, borrow, or you know, to be part of something bigger than me, with the goal of making me a better informed writer for having done it, since live and in person events are few and far between for us Midwesterners. Did I mention expensive for those of us who don’t have a spare 5-10 Grand to register? That’s not even counting travel costs and hotel fees since they’re rarely included in the registration price, and that’s still not counting the extra costs getting into critique and pitch sessions, or the craft panels and workshops.
I know these events costs tons to put on and when you really think about it, the prices charged for these services isn’t unreasonable, I just wish there were ways to break it down so those of us with limited incomes aren’t left out in the cold.
What’s your take on this subject?
Are their writer events you’d attend if they weren’t cost prohibative? Do you think they’re really worth it as we often hear?
For those who’ve been to in-person events, did you learn anything worth the time and money it took to go there?
I know I’m not the only one on the fence about this kind of thing. So share your thoughts in the comments. The first three who reply (On topic, spammers are not eligible!) will each receive a mystery prize I’ll only reveal when three great on-topic replies are in the comments, and there’s still a prize from Monday’s giveaway that’s yet to be claimed!
Stay tuned tomorrow for new weekly polls and final tally results of this week’s polls.
I hope to get another post up today, but if not, 
May the Fantastic Fauna Be With You!
Until next time,
P.S. I know I haven’t done as much genre-specific how-tos as I meant to, but since my own writer-centric focuses have changes drastically in recent months, I had to re-think some of my ideas, but I hope to balance the general with the genre-specific articles and features very soon.
P.P.S. I’ll update my future headlines to better flow with my new direction soon.
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  • I discovered WriteOnCon this week and joined, actually – but after poking my head around awhile I was overwhelmed! Maybe I’ll pass by again in the future, but for now the ICL and Verla Kay boards are where I go for info.

    I’ve not attended the national SCBWI conference or ALA conference, but I have attended a few state and regional ones. Very helpful! I had heard it many times in my early career that networking at conferences and getting to meet editors, etc. in person was very important. Now, having met many other authors and a few editors myself – I am convinced. Plus – a face-to-face contact with an editor is how I landed my first freelance assignment in the first place (which has now materialized into more than 50 published articles).

    If you can’t afford the conferences on a national level, try the local SCBWI events. Do you have some in your state?

  • Thanks for sharing, Miranda.

    In Michigan, where I live, there are two SCBWI events a year. One in spring, usually May or June, and the fall one’s coming up. I was planning to go the one this spring, but money got tight, and I really wasn’t emotionally ready for it, and many of my writer friends know full well why, but I won’t bore folks hear with that.

    If life and positive outlook permits, I will go to the fall event, but I will say this, I don’t want to put money down on something I can’t be sure I won’t get to, and thankfully they will refund most if not all the money if something just comes up or like a couple years ago, got sick and couldn’t be well in time to go.

    I feel such sorrow for writers who plan this months even years in advance for these events, only to get sick the day or week before, get hurt at home or on the job, and for the conferences who don’t refund you in those instances, it’s just heartbreaking.

    I used to be a member of SCBWI, but life and money didn’t allow me the chance to go to even the events in my state, my membership expired last year and I haven’t had the money to renew it, and part of why I joined was because members get discounts on the in-person events, both national and regional, and discounts on the added costs of workshops and publishing panels.

    Once again, as the first to comment, you’ll receive a mystery prize, once two more readers share their thoughts, and you will receive your first prize soon. I had some e-mail trouble this week but I’ve nearly worked it out.

    I’m getting my new polls up soon, I’ll explain how to contact me so I can award the prizes you and others already won this week.

    Sorry for the delay to my other winners this week. I didn’t forget and will make good on what I promised.