Writers Conferences and the Learning Curve #writing #amwriting

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 Writers Conferences and the Learning Curve

This was my second year attending the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference. As a second timer, my experience this year was way more enhanced than last year. Why you might ask. Well, mainly it was me. After spending the last year connecting with folks on Twitter and my blog, the writers world was not as intimidating as I thought.




Things I Learned This Year

Talk, talk, talk – We’re all writers. We all have the same up’s and down’s. It’s so important we share this with real live people.

Listen, Learn, Review – If you can take away one thing from the class or speaker then it was worth your time. Be sure to get the handouts, or the website where the handouts can be found. When you get home organize  your notes or handouts. If a instructor drops book names in your genre, write those down and put them on your to read list.

Ask, but Save Some Questions- After the forum with Agents and Editors there is time for Q & A. If you save some of your questions it will give you a good intro to strike up a conversation later with the agent or editor your interested in.

Twitter- Be sure to connect with your writer Twitter friends attending the event. (In a sea of faces, this is where having a picture of yourself as your icon comes in handy.) Tweeting during the event with its hatchtag is a fun way to connect to other writers that are attending as well. It can also give you helpful feedback on classes.

Take Time to be You – At a writers conference its easy to get carried away and only talk about writing or your genre, but a balanced conversation with an agent/editor will let you know them on a deeper level than a brief conversation or pitch in the hallway.

For example, I sat down with Regina Brooks , founder and president of Serendipity, LLC , in the Hyatt lounge for about 45 minutes chatting about a variety of things with a couple of other hotel guests. I had attended a class with Regina earlier in the day and was impressed with her knowledge, enthusiasm and how welcoming she was. That conversation confirmed my impression and put her agency on my writers radar.  

Just Go – Writers conferences can be spendy, but they are well worth it. The knowledge and connections you make can only help get you one step further to where you want to be. Often if you sign up early or belong to the association that runs them, they are discounted. My only advice is to take a good look at the classes offered before you shell out the money.

The best thing about a Writers Conference is that you leave there inspired, full of ideas and ready to write.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for that report, Lara. I recently learned of a North Carolina Writers Conf. that will be in November, and I am REALLY hoping to attend. This post makes me even more determined to attend!

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      Yes, if you can attend. I’ve found them so useful and insightful. Taken away so much that has helped me become a better writer.

  2. I enjoy this post, Lara. I have yet to attend a conference but look forward to getting to one some time in this next year. Your advice will be stored in my journals for further reading.

    I hope you get out your work soon. I think you are a very talented writer and I’d love to hear you landed an agent 🙂

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      Thank you for your support. It means a lot and has helped keep me going in those “argh” moments.

  3. You have a blog, Lara the Dunning?


  4. John Wiswell says:

    I really ought to go to one of these sooner than later…

  5. mbwilliams says:

    A great insight into a new world (for me!)

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      Writing conferences are great. You always take so much away with you.

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