Friday, September 6, 2013

Writers' Conferences: Prepare, but Don't Forget to Enjoy

Three months have passed since the Write-to-PublishConference where I have the opportunity to teach and encourage writers, who also encourage me.

Now, I find myself getting ready for another conference (American Christian Fiction Writers). Since I am not a part of the staff, I feel more relaxed and have different goals. At WTP, I focused on seeing that attendees had the necessary information to navigate and benefit from the conference. This conference is for me to listen and learn and meet other writers.

If you are planning to attend an upcoming conference, here are some things you might consider:


1.  Rest before you go. Try to get some sleep at home before you leave. I will be driving for a few hours, which adds to the fatigue for me, in addition to the hectic schedule of a conference.


2.  Set goals. Do you want to concentrate on the classes or seek out times to network with others? There may be the opportunity to purchase recordings of the classes, thus freeing up time to attend some of the gatherings to meet other writers.

Odds are, as a writer, you are probably an introvert, as are many others attending. Decide before you go that you are going to step out and meet other writers. Once you do it, it will become easier.

3.  Check availability of a photographer. There may be a conference photographer taking head shots for business cards and social media, etc. The cost is usually quite reasonable when a photographer has access to a larger number of clients at one time.


4.  Set a budget for books. Most conferences will set up a conference bookstore. As a writer, you will probably be overwhelmed at the options. Set an amount you will spend before you go.


5.  Travel light. This goes not just for travel, but for what you carry while attending the actual conference. Consider whether you will want to take a laptop computer. If your computer is not small or lightweight, it may physically weigh you down. If you take it, and find it is too heavy, then you may be forced to leave it in your room, and you have to decide if you are comfortable with that. I find an old-fashioned pen and notebook works the best.


6.  Relax and Enjoy. Don’t try to put too much pressure on yourself. It is one conference and there will be more. At each conference you will meet new people who will help you along your road to publication.  


How about you? What is one thing you consider before attending a writers' conference.





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