Writing Conferences - Your Thoughts?

I've been thinking for quite some time now about attending a writer's conference or at least a one day event locally.

Really, I've just been thinking more and more about writing. Writing rather than (or simply before) blogging.

Here's a few things I'm thinking about:

:: Women Writing for a Change. My friend Lynn told me about this group; I like that they run the gamut from semester classes to one day workshops to retreats.  It's local to the Cincy area so it's doable for me.

:: Women Writer's Winter Retreat.  A mid-winter retreat plus writing workshops - sounds lovely.

:: Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop.  This is every two years and won't be available again unit 2012 but it's literally just up the road from me.  Am I funny enough?  Hmmmm......

Of course, before I go signing up for anything I need to ask myself the hard questions.

Can I balance blogging and writing?

Can I put myself and my dreams on the "Priorities" list that consumes my time?

Can I put aside the fear of failure and just do the hard work?

I'll be mulling over those questions while we're on vacation this week.  I'm hoping a change of place and pace as well as a break from all things online will help me.

Now, a question for you:

Have you attended a writing conference?  Do you belong to a writing group?  Have you gone to a writing retreat?

If so, what have you taken away from those experiences?