Also a true story: If I could go back in time and change that, I would tell 2009 Delilah to go to the Crossroads Writers Conference in Macon, GA.
1. I'm the keynote speaker. It's my first keynote address. There's a good chance I'll flub it horribly, and you could catch that on tape and blackmail me.
2. If you're in Atlanta or one of the surrounding states, it's rather close.
3. It's reasonably priced, as is the hotel. If you just drive down for Saturday, the main day, it's only $99.
4. Not only can you attend panels and ask questions, but you can also catch writers in their natural habitat: the bar. Lubricate us and ask that secret question you're dying to ask but, for some reason, won't. And we won't remember, because we'll be drunk!
5. There are panels for traditional publishing, self-publishing, fiction, non-fiction, comics, screenwriting, freelancing, blogging, promotion, agents, editors, graphic novels, poetry, history, and MORE.
6. While some conferences are about killing your dreams or ripping your words to shreds, Crossroads is about inspiration, about finishing that first draft, about how to keep writing when the writing gets tough and reach the next step. I left last year filled with renewed purpose and started writing a new book the day I got home.
7. You're going to meet amazing people. Writing is often a solitary activity, pursued behind a screen. When you're starting out, it can be hard to build connections and find your colleagues. But here, you'll meet people at all stages of their writing journey who are willing to share and commiserate. The people I met at Crossroads last year have truly become my friends.
8. There's a long list of Crossroads success stories. Writer Cat Scully met agent Carrie Howland last year, and now Carrie is Cat's agent. My own Shadowman: Follow Me Boy e-novella commissioned by Amazon's Kindle Worlds sprung from a Crossroads connection. You never know when someone you meet might help you reach the next level.
9. You'll end up with all sorts of inside jokes that people will never let you hear the end of. Ever. Because Crossroads is helpful, but it's also FUN. But don't bring a flip phone or everyone will make fun of you until you go buy a smartphone, which will actually make your life 100x better, and then you'll be all, MAN, CROSSROADS WAS THE BEST AND SHUT UP ABOUT MY PHONE.
10. Because what do you have to lose? If you're within driving distance and you're a writer who wants to up your game, make new connections, and refill your inspiration spring/still, there's no excuse not to go.
I'll be at Crossroads, starting with the keynote address at 1pm on Friday. And I hope to see you there, too!