WRITING CONFERENCES II
Confession time. I’d been looking forward to attending this conference for months! However, that did not translate into appropriately preparing myself for the journey—both the physical miles to be traveled and my personal mindset. I’m not only a writer of my own projects, I’m also a ghostwriter critique/consultant who works hard at helping other writers prepare their manuscripts for publication. SO…I was working on multiple projects right up to the hour before leaving home. Following are concepts that I strongly advise considering as you prepare yourself to attend—and participate in—any writers conference.
1. REPEAT THE BOYSCOUT MOTTO MULTIPLE TIMES: BE PREPARED. Last week I mentioned doing the Google research on faculty members—especially those whose workshops you’re planning to take. NOW prepare your materials (manuscript pages) that you feel represent an example of that Workshop Topic. For example: If you’re struggling with the development of a character in a specific chapter—and the Workshop Faculty person has been a long-time hero of yours because of the characters they have written—BRING a page or two of your character sketches to share with them. Will they always be willing to take a look? Most will, especially if you’re only showing them a SHORT segment…and are respectful in your request for their time.
2. IF YOU HAVE a completed manuscript—carry it with you everywhere while at the conference! You never know who you’ll be seated next to at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Remember to be respectful of the person—agent, publisher, editor, radio host, etc.—while having the “story” about your story ready to share.
3. KEEP A NOTE-TAKING device close at hand! Whatever instrument works for you—yellow note pad, phone note-taker (utilizing voice), mini-recorder, sticky notes—never leave a conversation or workshop without having notes that hold keywords to trigger the main points. Again, ALWAYS be respectful of the speakers and ask their permission to record, unless you are in a class setting where you are expected to record/take notes.
4. PRESENT YOURSELF AS A PROFESSIONAL WRITER! You might be a bit awestruck when being in the company of some well-known authors, but take a deep breath and remind yourself that they were beginning writers once, too, and most of them will acknowledge that they are learning something new about writing every day. Business-casual attire is always a good image. Of course, there are the retreat-type conferences where everyone is in blue-jeans and sweatshirts and it is difficult to tell the faculty/speakers from the conference participants. However, even in that environment every writer can be professional as they practice respect for each other and do more listening than talking.
5. SET TWO MAIN GOALS for yourself. My always-on-my-mind goals are: (1) Seek the company of those published authors who most closely match my writing style and genre. (2) Stay open to any author who “connects” with me on a mentoring level—whether that person is a well-known author or a recently-published author.
a. There are as many possible goals to set for yourself as there are writers on the planet. Listen to your writer’s intuition and make sure you have at least four (4) goals before getting to the conference. THEN be willing to adjust them once your feet are planted on the conference grounds.
Like a bird in flight, fledgling writers have much to learn. What all writers have within themselves—that push them to become writers in the first place—is the natural ability to fly! We are born into this world with writing gifts that budding and blooming all the time. It is a process and I’ll share more conference tips in next week’s blog. Until then…WRITE!
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.|