Making the most out of a writing conference: Five tips

The Restless Writers are planning to attend at least part of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC) in October. This highly respected conference is a whirlwind mix of workshops, keynote speakers, master classes, trade shows and editor/agent appointments, plus a Blue Pencil Café where writers can connect directly with speakers.

The speaker line-up is exciting—Anne Perry, Jack Whyte, Diana Gabaldon, kc dyer, Tim Wynne-Jones—plus there’s a whole host of editors and agents from the literary and film industries, all hoping to sign some great new talent.

I’ve just been through two jam-packed conferences (the Indexing Society of Canada annual conference in Montreal and the Canadian Public Relations Society annual conference in Regina), and I’ve picked up a few tricks to make the most out of any conference experience:

  1. Rest up…you’re going to need it: Most conferences pack heaps of activities into two or three days. So take your vitamins, boys and girls, and get a lot of sleep beforehand.
  2. Have a learning strategy: Decide what you want to achieve at this conference. If your current WIP is an agent-ready non-fiction proposal, focus on maximizing your time in those one-on-one appointments. If you’re still in the first-draft stage, plan to check out “Creating Memorable Characters” or “Worldbuilding.”
  3. Reach out at the networking events: Even if you’re not the schmoozing type, take a deep breath (and some mints) and start talking to other conference attendees. You might find yourself befriending an editor who works with the agent you’ve been trying to snag, or a picture-book writer who knows some phenomenal illustrators. One serendipitous meeting might be the best thing that happens to you.
  4. Be inspired: You’ve just heard Robert McCammon talk about perfecting dialogue and you’ve had a breakthrough on a key scene. Go ahead—skip lunch to spend some quality time with your laptop. This is why you’ve used valuable vacation days to attend this conference. Get writing!
  5. Review and reflect: You’ve just had three days of intensive workshops, stimulating conversations and the odd epiphany. Don’t let it go to waste. Take some tips from 8-bit Holly, and act on what you’re learned.

If any of our readers have tips for making the most out of our experience at SiWC, we’d love to hear them!

Maria

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1 Comment

Filed under Author events, Writing resources

One response to “Making the most out of a writing conference: Five tips

  1. Pingback: WriteOnCon: Online Children’s Writers Conference « Restless Writers

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