The LA Southern California Writers Conference begins tomorrow and I'm jumping for joy! I joined this community of writers seven years ago and have learned an incredible amount about the craft during this time. I had no idea what I didn't know about writing when I wrote my first novel, but through the encouraging guidance of a group of dedicated professionals, I was able to realize my dreams. Now, I attend the conference as a workshop leader and have the opportunity to share my knowledge with other writers. See a pattern here? The circle of giving at SCWC is unparalleled.Are you attending a writers conference for the first time? Here are a few tidbits to consider:
First time attendees are always nervous, sometimes paralyzingly so. It's as if you've lost your voice, and the urge to hide in a closet is overwhelming. We know. We get it. So smile and say hello to someone. I promise you'll be happy you did.
Make the conference work for you. If you sit down in a workshop and realize it's not what you anticipated, just leave. We understand and want the conference to meet your needs.
Network, network, network. You never know when a relationship you kindle over the next few days will come in handy.
Go to Read & Critiques. Listen thoughtfully when your work is critiqued. Save the defensiveness for your significant other. This is a learning opportunity. The rule is--if you hear the same comment from three or more critiques, take it to heart.
If you meet someone you like/respect, gather their contact information. Keep in touch.
Take tons of notes. Review them once you recover from the intensity of the weekend. Yes, you will feel like you've been smacked by a vintage Smith-Corona.
Go to the bar. No, your mother wouldn't approve, but this is a great place to meet fellow writers and forge long-term relationships. Professional ones, that is.
Don't forget to eat! Adrenalin will convince you not to, but nutrition is important to brain cells.
You can sleep Sunday night. The late night Read & Critiques give you the chance to totally immerse yourself in writing. Do it!
You will be tired. You will be on information overload. Expect it. You will go home inspired and itching to write. I guarantee it!
Gayle Carline and I will tell you more (Yes, this is just a teaser!) about how to get the most from the conference on Friday, September 25, at 1PM. See you then!