Here's some positives from going to a conference:
1. You learn the craft (do you remember when you were a kid and your mom wanted you to learn how to embroider or sew a button on a shirt...it's nothing like that). The craft of writing includes: plot, voice, tension, world building; things that will make your book/story better.
2. You get to meet cool people. I have a group of writer friends that I get to see at most conferences, but sometimes you get to meet other writers who are considered the superstars of writing. Like:
|Orson Scott Card|
(I am not confirming or denying any accusations that I am stalking any of these writers)
3. If you're lucky, you can meet and pitch to agents and editors. This year I will be meeting with an agent. It's nice to be able to meet face to face with an agent/editor to discuss your book. This means you can surpass the slush pile. But please do your homework. Doing a pitch can make or break your chance with that agent.
4. Some conferences allowed one to work with professional writers in workshops. If you have the chance at a conference...DO IT! I've worked with a number of authors and have gleaned new information from each one. (They are so brilliant!)
Those are a few things that you can gain from going to a conference (not to mention eating out for every meal which means...no cooking...yes!)
If you have been to a conference, what have you learned? (Don't forget the online conferences...WriteOnCon is excellent.)