Okay, so I'm going to delve into writing conferences today. This is not the first time we've discussed these blessed events on the blog. Oh no. Mary expounded on why she goes to conferences here. And then she gave some excellent advice on etiquette at a conference here. Both are worth your time.
Since I'm literally hours away from being on "the other side of the desk" at a writers' conference, I thought it would be a great time to revisit the topic.
I'm going to give you some tips as I prepare to not only attend classes at a conference, but PRESENT at one too. Tips from both sides, I suppose you could say.
As a (terrified) presenter, here's what I'm hoping each attendee will do--and what I try to do when I attend classes/workshops:
Learn one new thing in each class/workshop. Attitude is everything, and if you go into a class just expecting to learn one new thing, you'll be surprised by how much you hear.
Listen, don't write. I know, I know. This goes against everything I stand for too. I mean, we're writers, right? We write stuff down. But instead of writing every. single. thing. someone says, listen and interact with them. Make eye contact. Just absorb what they're saying, then write it in your own words, if you must.
Eat, talk, laugh. I found my critique group by eavesdropping on two people talking in the lunch line. I'm actually pretty embarrassed to admit that, but I'm also proud that I said something because those ladies are awesome. So converse. Smile. With the attendees and the presenters--after all, they're people too!
Be prepared. If you've signed up for pitches with editors/agents, be ready. Class/workshop schedules are usually online way in advance. Choose the classes you want to attend and prepare intelligent questions. And don't forget the chocolate. That's important too.
So, have you attended a writing conference before? What did you like? What did you wish were different/better? I seriously can't wait for Friday morning, even though I have to be somewhere at 6:30 AM. Because there's nothing better than hanging out with writers. And that alone is enough to attend a writing conference. So have you been yet?