As the DFW Writers’ Conference quickly approaches (it’s in 5.5 days), I’m quickly reminded that it’s not just the editors, agents, and other publishing folks that get excited. The writers are even more enthusiastic. These conferences wouldn’t happen unless writers wanted to attend them, right?
Knowing this can be a nerve-wracking experience for some individuals, here’s a checklist of things to do and to expect:
1. Get lots of rest the days leading into a writing conference, as well as during the conference. Most conferences are at least two days long, sometimes longer. So much will be discussed in a short period of time, that it’s easy to feel exhausted and feel a sense of “information overload. ” The more rested the attendee, the better the experience. Trust me on this.
2. Try to make new friends. Oftentimes I’ve met individuals who travelled solo to a conference. It can feel lonely to not have a friend to discuss all the cool things learned while the conference is happening. Make a point of introducing yourself to the people around you, maybe get coffee together, maybe even dinner! It’ll significantly enhance the overall experience.
3. Writing Conferences offer the opportunity to learn more about the world of publishing, as well as the chance to get one’s book idea critiqued. This is supposed to be a positive learning experience. Anything above and beyond this will be the extra icing on the figurative cake.
4. A writing conference offers an opportunity to build (or add to) one’s network. This includes meeting other writers (whom you can discuss this experience with), to meeting individuals (who can help further expand your platform), and more.
4. Publishing folks are just like you (the writer). We put our pants on one leg at a time, have forgetful moments, love books, and more. If you do sign up for one-on-one consultations, try to not panic beforehand. We’re just as excited about meeting you. Don’t let the nerves affect an otherwise educational (and fun!) experience.
5. Enjoy the few quiet moments at a conference, when they are available. Remember my advice on resting beforehand? The same goes for those small periods of time during one’s conference schedule. With all of the classes, presentations, and lectures, it’ll keep the head clear. (I personally bring a book of crosswords with me wherever I go, as that’s my own personal method of clearing the head and “relaxing.”)
6. Most importantly, always remember if you happen to find an agent or editor (to work with) at a conference, fantastic! Otherwise, this is a great chance to get some fantastic advice from experienced publishing professionals, so that there’s a stronger success rate in finding an agent (in the future.)
For anyone that I’ll be seeing in a few days, know that I’m honored and excited to meet you! It’ll be a great time, and I promise to not drink too much coffee during the conference, and to get my rest in advance. 🙂