I've written before about writing confernences and how I think they're super important in a lot of different ways. I just want to tell you about one coming up in May called the LDStoryMakers writing conference. I went to this conference last year, and as a birthday gift I paid for a slot for my mom as well. We both did the "bootcamp" portion on Thursday where we brought a portion of our manuscript and workshopped in different groups led by a published author. Then for Friday and Saturday we picked classes that sounded useful or fun and we ate some good food (included in the conference package!). We made other writer friends, chatted with agents and editor, and won a few books during the drawing.
Overall, the conference was a great experience, and worth every dollar. So, of course, I'm going back again this year. And, like last year, as a little birthday celebration, I bought a slot for my mom to come along. I've been to conferences by myself, but it's really nice to go with someone--particularly wonderful to go with my mom because she's so excited about all of it. I really love my mom :)
If you're interested in becoming a published writer, my suggestion is to go to writing conferences. Not only do you learn new (or old) ways to improve your craft, you also get the opportunity to meet published authors, make friends with other writers (who you can then form critique groups with--hint hint), and make connections with agents and editors. Start with LDStorymakers (and if you're not LDS or not writing LDS material, don't sweat it because this conference has become so big that it isn't just for LDS writers or those who write LDS stuff--there are lots of national-market writers and there are editors and agents from the national market who present). So, check it out. And if you don't have the funds for a 3 day event, then just go for two days or even one day. http://ldstorymakers.com/conferences/registration/
P.S. if you register for this conference then you might be interested in this awesome contest to win a reserved seat next to an agent/editor for dinner :) take a look http://ldstorymakerauthors.blogspot.com/2012/01/show-your-love-for-ldstorymakers.html