What purpose is served by writing conferences and other professional gatherings? Admittedly,some knowledge is imparted, talent showcased, and the usual bromides dispensed. As a veteran of too many business and literary confabs, I’ve given this considerable thought. My conclusion is simple: Reinforcement and motivation are the most compelling reasons for and biggest benefit derived from these sessions. If I return from a meeting motivated to write or otherwise excel in my profession, then my time and money was well spent.