Monday, March 23, 2009


Last time Allison told us about Free Money. Now she addresses the "R" in her plan!

Everybody agrees: the surest road to publication begins at a writers conference. But between the conference fees, travel expenses, and little extras along the way (at least one new outfit!), you might have to pay a pretty toll to travel that road. So, if you’re wanting to go to a conference, but you’re not sure how you’ll fund it, let me introduce you to the concept of the FREE conference. I’ll share my tried-n-true methods for paying for your conference without robbing your family.

R = Reconsider the “Must Haves” in your non-conference life. I love the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference—love the facilities, the aspens in the fall, the ducks on the pond—everything. Some of my best memories there are of going to the Holy Grounds coffee shop after the closing session and listening to the hub of conversations all around. This is where editors and agents really let their hair down. This is their time to get to talk to each other. Nobody’s pitching, nobody’s (blatantly) schmoozing. Just nice. It’s nice to just sit back and soak up the atmosphere and, sometimes, enough tables get pushed together so that you’re sipping your mocha latte alongside that editor you were dying to impress, and both of you are laughing hysterically at someone else’s great story. A cup of coffee at Holy Grounds? 4.50. That moment of unscheduled camaraderie? Priceless.

The point is, while a coffee at Holy Grounds is about the same price as one at your corner Starbucks, if I fritter away my money at Starbucks, I may never get to Holy Grounds. Think about it. One cup of coffee @4.50 once a week comes to about 225 dollars. Think how that could cut back your air fare. Or lodging. Or conference fee.

Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” From now ‘til conference time, keep your mind and your heart focused on the calling God has made on your life, and make a lot of little financial decisions based on that calling. The coffee is just one example of the possible trade-offs…
Do you need to buy that new book? Instead, go to the library and buy a great resource book at the conference.
Do you need to buy that DVD? Instead, find a good movie on TV so you can buy conference CDs of the sessions you miss.
Do you really need new clothes? Instead, hold off a bit and buy the perfect appointment outfit.
Do you really need to go out to dinner? Instead, scrounge something at home and have money to go out to an impromptu dinner with the friends you only know through email.

Again, these choices will fund an entire conference, but they might make your time there a lot more enjoyable! Check back for more ideas!

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