Well…10 more days till the Writer’s Digest Conference. How’s everyone feeling? I’m sure some of you are a tad anxious. Especially, if you’ve never gone to a writing conference before. This is a great one to start with, believe me.
Anyway, I just wanted to wish everyone luck, particularly the ones who are involved in the Pitch Slam. Again, deep breath, you’ll do great!
Here are a few last minute tips:
1. Don’t be shy.
If you asked my friends if I was shy, they would say, “Heck NO!!” And that would be the truth, at least to them. But when I’m with a bunch of strangers, it takes me a little while to let my guard down. So if you’re like that, do your best to open up. I can’t tell you how freeing it was to just let myself kick back, and not be afraid to join in the conversation. Quite honestly, it’s how I learned some things and got more comfortable talking about my own book.
2. Make friends.
Again, this goes back to not being shy. This is a HUGE opportunity for you to meet all types of people. Writers, editors, agents, and others who have a part in the writing industry. Form friendships, and celebrate in the fact that you’re not alone. Learn from one another, and bond over the things you have in common. I met a great group of people while I was there, and I know some of them will be life long friends. When I have writer’s block or when I just can’t seem to get my seat in the chair to write, I’ll text them and they’re great at motivating me back to where I need to be. Writing is about so many other things, than just the words that come from you. I’ve said it before, WE are a tribe. We celebrate each other’s successes, and are there for support during rejection.
3. Take it in strides.
Be prepared to be overwhelmed. There’s a lot of information given to you. But don’t feel like you have to remember everything, or know it all by the time you leave. Writing is a continual learning process. If you feel like you’ve reached an end to that process, well, that means you’re not doing something right. It’s forever moving. Your mind will be so full, that when you leave the conference, you’ll almost be in a daze. Don’t fret, it will all come together.
4. Be prepared.
What do you do with all that information? Well…you’re a writer. Write it down. Or tap it in your IPAD or laptop, whatever you’ve brought to take down notes. Just make sure you have a pen and notebook. Anything. I guess, unless you’re an audio learner, but even then, it’s so much, you’re bound to forget something. I actually brought a messenger bag with pens, highlighters, notepads, my business cards (those are to hand out to fellow writers that you want to keep in touch with. Not agents.), the first few pages of my manuscript, and that was about it. Just make sure, to be prepared.
5. Take a chance.
One great thing I have found at the Writer’s Digest Conference, is how interactive they make it. From the guest speakers, to the agents, editors, etc., they encourage you to ask questions and give you time to actually ask them. DON’T BE SHY!!! I can not stress this enough. Get up there, take that microphone, and ask whatever question your little heart desires. This could be your only chance to ask your question, so do it. I promise you’ll regret it if you don’t. A lot of times I found that someone would ask a question, and it would be the very one that was on my own mind. You’re helping other writers around you, just as much as you are yourself. It gets easier too, after you do it a few times.
6. Don’t put pressure on yourself.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, that you forget to enjoy the time at the conference. I know it feels like this might be your only chance to find an agent or to sell your book, but it’s not, I promise. This is simply another step. It opens the door for many more things. Yes, there are writers who get signed from the conference. I know of three of them personally, from last year when I went. But the conference is not just about getting signed by an agent. It’s about learning the skills and industry as well. Don’t be so focused on signing with someone that you miss out on some other really good stuff. You’re time is still coming. Don’t get discouraged.
6. Have fun.
This will probably be one of the greatest experiences in your lifetime. Revel in it. If I could go to a week long writing conference like Writer’s Digest, I would do it in a heart beat no matter the cost. There are no words to express how refreshing and how liberating it is for a writer to be surrounded by people who love it just as much as you. Sure, your friends and family are supportive of your writing and dreams, but it isn’t the same when you can talk to someone about how freaking scared you were during the Pitch Slam or that you received 50 rejections from 50 different agents. Nobody understands that better than a fellow comrade in paper. They don’t look at you crazy when you want to just talk about writing for hours, cause they want to do the exact same thing! I’m telling you, I didn’t want to leave. 🙂
And, just a word of advice. If everyone seems a tad anxious on Friday. I promise after the Pitch Slams on Saturday, everyone will be like college kids who just finished their graduate exams. They all breathe a sigh of relief and go, “Oh…that wasn’t so bad.” LOL!
Happy Conference Ya’ll!
And please please, when ya’ll get back, let me know how everything went! Can’t wait to hear!