Attending Writers’ Conferences with Purpose by Robert Lee Brewer

It’s one thing to go to a writers’ conference; it’s an entirely different thing to attend a writers’ conference and have it be a useful experience (while also having fun, of course).

8 Tips To Make Your Next Writers’ Conference a Success

  1. Choose the conference. You may want to create a budget for this step. How much do you want to spend on the conference? How much do you want to spend on the trip, meals, etc.? What subjects do you wish to know more about? It’s a good idea to research several possible conferences before you make your final pick. And remember: bigger is not always better, especially if you want a more personal environment. Check out some conferences at WritersDigest.com.
  2. Set goals for the conference. Now that you know which conference you’re going to attend, figure out how you will attend. Which specific classes do you want to attend? Are there any time conflicts? Which speakers would you like to talk with? When can you do this? These are some important questions to ask yourself. Make sure you get it all on paper to use as your plan of attack.
  3. Bring supplies. Make sure that you get supplies a couple days before the conference. You never know what personal issues/errands you will be presented with the day before the conference. Some supplies to bring to the conference include business cards, a notebook (I personally prefer those 6×9 steno pads), and a few pens. You can bring other stuff, but these are the essentials. If you don’t have business cards, create a publicity sheet that basically has your name, contact information, writing specialties, and a short bio.
  4. Be flexible. Once you make it to the conference, you may find that the schedule has changed. Don’t panic; no conference goes 100% to plan. Your plan is there to help you keep focus, but don’t worry if you miss a class because you’re in the middle of a discussion with an agent. It’s okay to relax and play it by ear.
  5. Ask for business cards. Any individual you meet who may or may not benefit you and your writing career is a potential network contact. Make sure to ask for business cards. If the person does not have a business card, use your notebook to record the person’s name, contact information, and why he or she might be important to you. These contacts can play a huge role in the success of your writing career.
  6. Talk to those around you. To keep your mind on networking, talk to anyone that will talk back. It doesn’t matter if the person is interested in the same subjects as you. Perhaps, this person knows someone who you would like to meet. A note on conversations: the best conversation tools you have are your ears. Use them. If you always let the other person dominate the conversation, you’ll eventually emerge as a star conversationalist.

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