Sign up for sessions that interest you, and if you have room in your schedule, try to take one workshop in a new area (for example, nonfiction if you are a fiction writer). At the recent NJ SCBWI conference, for example, Kathy Temean presented about the State of the Market, and is now sharing the info on her blog.
Conference-goers tend to be a friendly bunch, in my experience, and it’s great to meet new people who may become creative friends, sources of inspiration, or future critique partners.
If you go to the same conference several times, one of the biggest joys is catching up with people you don’t get to see often enough.
Many people attend conferences to meet editors and agents and gain industry insight. Take advantage of editor panels, agent pitches, and one-on-one critiques (if available).
Key note speakers (NJ SCBWI recently featured great speeches by Floyd Cooper and Rachel Vail), celebrating with other writers, and being surrounded by so many creative people can be inspiring! Soak it all in.
Have you been to any conferences lately? What other benefits do you think they bring?