I’ve attended a few writers’ conferences over the years, and recently just got back from the first in-person one I’ve attended in over three years. It was great to be surrounded by so many writers! If you’ve never been to a writers’ conference, I encourage you to find one near you and attend. So what can you expect from a day or a weekend with other writers? Here are some quick tips that can help make your experience comfortable and fun.
Bring a notebook.
Or your laptop, or tablet. But be prepared to take notes in some fashion.
Bring business cards.
Not every person, especially if they’re just starting out, has business cards. But it’s pretty easy to get cheap ones made online, so that you can have an email address, website, or phone number that you can hand out to people you make connections with.
Bring money to buy books.
There’s usually a table where conference speakers have their books for sale, plus other swag like pens and such. You’ll probably want to buy something by the end of the conference, so bring a little bit of spending money.
Bring your extroverted side.
The vast majority of writers are introverts, and mingling with crowds of strangers and starting conversations isn’t what we’d call a good time, usually. However, the great thing about a writer’s conference is that most everyone there feels just as shy and awkward as you do! And getting a conversation going is easy—just ask someone what they’re working on or writing about. And talk about your projects, too.
Bring a willingness to learn.
The point of a writers’ conference is to meet other writers, editors, publishers, and to learn more about the book industry. Even the “experts” who are the speakers and workshop teachers often share tidbits of things they’ve learned from sitting in on other workshops or just chatting to another writer or book industry professional. You’re never too old or experienced to learn something new.
Have you been to a writers’ conference? What did you learn? What was your favorite part? Please share!