(1) Writing, by its very nature, is a solitary avocation. You might even communicate with your agent/editor/publisher by e-mail. A conference puts you together, physically, with a whole bunch of other writers. And agents and editors and publishers, many of whom are looking to see who you are as a person as well as a writer.
(2) And that part about being around other writers, that let’s you know you’re not alone. The panic, the uncertainty, the “Am-I-doing-this-right?” moments, the understanding (like you have your own secret spy decoder ring), the joy in knowing that SOMEONE made it so maybe, just maybe you can, too.
(3) That writer’s group or critique group at home is made up of three to ten people. The same people. Some of them show up regularly. Some appear like an apparition. Even a small conference has 200 to 300 writers, more than likely from other parts of your state or, if you’re fortunate, other states. Wow! Meeting writers from other states.
(4) You don’t think you will learn anything but you will. You don’t think there is another writer out there like you but there is. You don’t think this will help you achieve any success but it can.
(5) Once you start going, you’ll make friends. And who doesn’t want to catch up with a bunch of old friends?
(6) Motivation. Inspiration. Becoming energized. All of THAT can happen (and does).
(7) The “Real World” is a whole heck of a lot easier to deal with when you get home. You’ve seen the Promised Land and know how important it is to get. through the wilderness.
(8) You’ll be away from your significant other for a couple of days. He or she will be grateful for that. For BOTH of your sake.
(9) It’s an experience you need. Wherever it’s held, whatever city, however many writers are there from whatever background or degree of success, and whoever the guests/faculty are that may intimidate you, you eventually realize we ALL do the same thing and go through the same emotions. It’s who we are: writers.
(10) And you also realize you ARE doing the right thing. Sitting there in front of your keyboard, maybe you’ve got notes or other books open, maybe you listen to a particular kind of music, the people at work asking what you’re working on and you don’t want to embarrass yourself or disappoint them, your family and friends and those who’ve known you ever since you were a “weird kid” growing up. It’s not the bank account or the awards or the recognition that validate you. It’s being around other writers that makes you realize you are truly part of something special.