What I learned at Conference Year 2

*I will first say that I am lacking sleep as I post this so if it overlaps last year’s post, OH WELL! 😀

  • I really should get business cards. Everyone there used them for networking and that is a good reason to go to a conference.
  • Get into a critique group or organization (Like SCBWI). Not only does it make writing less solitary, other members can help hold you accountable. There’s also help on making your work its best and more.
  • Phone calls in your hotel room at 5am mean bad things. Like some idiot hit my car in the parking garage. That’s two years in a row something happened to my car in that garage–well, last year’s was my fault.
  • Nathan Bransford is as cool as I thought he would be. And he has plenty of info to share. Don’t believe me? Look for yourself   http://blog.nathanbransford.com/
  • Conferences are full of people at different writing levels. So this means I’m not the newest!
  • When a session says bring pages for agent to critique, DO IT.
  • Sitting for really long periods of time make your butt go numb. Make sure to take advantage of break times and stand.
  • Agents and published authors are people too. They don’t bite (well, it didn’t leave a mark at least).
  • Don’t let fear stop you. You won’t drown if you think you’re in over your head (they promised).
  • There is no such thing as perfection. There is only good enough.
  • Permit yourself to make mistakes. I know, we’ve all heard this but it’s worth repeating.
  • Overnight successes are not overnight. They have worked for years writing. Maybe this book came about faster, but there are most likely others shelved along the way.
  • Bring dough, THERE WILL BE BOOKS! And almost every presenter will have a ton of suggestions, too.
  • Take advantage of your hotel pool and free toiletries. Do I really need to explain this one?
  • Leave the session 2 minutes early to avoid a line in the ladies’ room.

Obviously, there are plenty of other reasons to go to a conference. I learned so many things about avoiding writer’s block and plotting. I heard from published writers who have been in the trenches and lived to tell about it. I met fabulous writers from all over (including Australia) . And when I catch up on my sleep (did I mention our first night, we were kept up by really bad rave music with a nasty bass?), I plan to implement all the ideas these fabulous sessions put into my head. No matter what you get from a conference, you will not regret it. Maybe you want to pitch to an agent or just meet up with other authors, there is something for everyone. I went to the University of Wisconsin Writers Institute and it is a general conference open to writers of every genre and type of writing (i.e. novel, poetry, screenwriting, etc). There are also conferences specific to different genres and groups. Make sure to do some research to find the right one for you. And make sure to massage your butt every once in a while. You won’t want to leave your seat!

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