May 1, 2022: Writers' Conferences
Last week I had the privilege of being a presenter at a Writers’ Conference. Conferences have always been a staple for most industries and careers. They were held often…until the pandemic hit and then they jumped into the virtual world. With two years of solitude behind us, in-person conferences are back.
Professional Conferences are not all alike however. They can be enormous, industry-wide events, or small, local gatherings. They can feature the famous, rock-stars of the industry, or the up-and-coming newbies. Writers Conferences in particular can be varied in everything from offerings to the cost to attend.
No matter the format or the sponsor, there is one thing that you can do that can make every conference you attend worth it and valuable.
Decide on your personal goals for attending before you get there.
o Everyone is in a different place in their writing journey and should be seeking different things at the conference. By thinking about your personal needs ahead of time, you are more likely to put yourself in the position to reach those goals. Is it to gain a better understanding of social media tools in marketing? Is it to gain inspiration and strengthen your craft? Is it to make personal connections and find a critique group to join?
o Prioritizing these goals will make it easier to make the many choices that go along with attending a conference.
o With so many different conferences available, your goals should also dictate which conferences you should attend. Most of us cannot attend them all every year due to time and resources, so thinking about what our writing goals are for right now, can help narrow down the conferences and sessions that are most likely to help you reach your goals.
o Your goals should dictate the sessions you seek to attend, the way you approach the unstructured time between sessions, and the connections you will seek to make at the conference.
o Do you have polished work you may be seeking a home for, or are you looking for inspiration to get you out of your current bout of writer’s block?
o Knowing your goals will also help you use that unstructured time in positive ways. Should you browse the Vendor room and collect business cards? Should you sit in the lobby and chat with other attendees? Should you track down the keynote speaker to get that selfie with them?
Conferences are goldmines of connections, information, leads, and inspiration. Knowing your personal goals before attending, can make it all the more productive!