There was a post on Facebook recently that posed the question of what would you do to get better at writing if money was not a concern. There were many people that said they would buy or rent a place to go and write as a retreat either permanently or for the summer. I can understand that desire. It is always nice to get away. For me however, I love traveling to much it would serve more as a distraction than an encouragement to write. I need to stay in my comfortable world and get better at the self discipline and everyday writing habit, not run off to some beautiful, exotic land I will just want to explore.
Another thing I saw was people wanting to buy more books on the craft. Again I cannot say I would not want them. I, personally, have more than a dozen books on way to improve my writing. I love them and use them often as I move through the writing process with each new project. I also know that if I spend all of my time reading ways to get better at writing I am not, in fact, writing at all. So I need to find a balance. At the moment that means no more new books on the craft. Classes are the same way. I can either go and learn about something that works for someone else or I can keep practicing on my own in order to get better myself.
My response was that I would attend more conferences and conventions. They are in a way, a combination of the ideas presented before. They involve a very temporary getaway while also allowing me to learn from others either through books or sessions. For me though, it is more about the networking. Getting the chance to shake hands and have a drink with someone in the industry you may not have had the opportunity to speak with outside of that setting can be incredible. Having the chance to walk up to someone that you admire their work is exhilarating while asking an agent or publisher point blank what you can do to catch their attention with a query or pitch in something that money can't buy anyway.
I am a social creature by nature so of course having the time to spend getting to know other people and speak to them would be my first choice but the networking is invaluable. i hope someday to be comfortable enough financially to take part in more events like writer's conferences so I can truly see if I was right to choose that as what I would do.