It's midweek, so time to talk about writing. First, according to the poll I did on the topic of writing goals, it appears that 50% of voters say they "make more progress when I have specific goals" vs. no goals, or even loose goals. *Eww, that sounds terribly close to a bad physical condition. 'Nuff said.* So, according to polling data, it would behoove us as writers to actually w.r.i.t.e. down our goals, break them into small and large chunks, and go after them systematically.
Second, I'm so so happy to see there have been inspiring good news announcements for blogging friends this week, as I predicted according to my trusty gut, there would be. Cannot wait to see if there'll be even more. Please please share it when you have it. If we can't toot our own horns and bang our own cymbals, how are we going to promote books, poems, short stories and other writing projects...and sell future work?
Here's a shortened form of a blog post I did for our beloved The Rose & Thorn Literary E-zine which I hope you will enjoy --
The success of writer’s conferences depend mainly on the quality of speakers and material presented, but there are several things participants can do to increase returns on the time and money invested to attend.
- BE PREPARED –DO arrive fully prepared to work on your writing project. Have supplies including hard copies and digital copy (on disk/flash drive) of your polished writing project; pens and paper; business cards (even if temporary ones with just your name and email address made at Kinko’s or on home computer); laptop; and appropriately dressy and casual clothing and shoes. Bring your comfort items if not provided by the conference or hotel, such as a travel coffeepot, bottled water, a special pillow, and whatever helps you sleep soundly away from home. Be well-rested beforehand. Chances are, you won’t be getting as much sleep while away, so stock up on it before you arrive at the conference. If possible, plan to arrive early and/or stay late so you can relax and unwind. DON’T pack everything you own. Most hotels now provide blow dryers, irons and toiletries. Conference organizers will probably arrange for simple supplies on-site. Lots and lots of extra luggage and “stuff” to haul around will tire you unnecessarily.
- SCHMOOZING –DO take every opportunity to interact with speakers, classmates, agents, and editors as much as possible, including breaks between sessions, social gatherings, at the coffeepot, and anywhere possible. If your conference is mostly breakout sessions or classroom style, think about bringing a small gift to the teacher and/or organizer. Most work hard to host a good conference and will appreciate the thought. After the conference, thank-you notes are always nice. DON’T stalk or harass conference presenters. They need downtime, too, and efforts to invade their personal space at every moment will not cause you to be remembered kindly. Maybe a speaker, organizer, agent, or publisher would enjoy dining with you if he/she doesn’t have plans, and either way, it never hurts to ask.
- TAKING NOTES –DO bring a fully charged laptop if taking notes is easier on a keyboard vs. longhand if you will be at a table or desk. You may also want to “swap notes” with a fellow attendee afterward to make sure you’ve gotten as much solid information as possible. DON’T think you will remember all the information presented without having to jot down a few reminders. Most conferences are intensive and packed with important tips and how-to data you’ll want later.
- AFTERWARD –DO transcribe notes while they are fresh. Organize handouts and information however it’s most useful and accessible. A three-ring binder might be helpful, or creating a new computer file may be more your style. Whatever method you choose, spend the extra time needed to get your notes in order to save time and effort later. Begin work on your writing, submitting, querying, or whatever your goal was before attending the conference. There’s something to be said for striking while the iron (and information) are hot, especially as it pertains to contacting agents, publishers, or speakers if given the green light. DON’T go home and get back to business as usual. Make the effort to compile and process the information you got at the conference and make a plan of attack concerning writing goals. While enthusiasm is at a peak, you’re more apt to make strides. Many agents, publishers and speakers travel frequently to conferences, so do not assume they will remember who you are and what your writing is about six months from now. Make contact as soon as possible after the event.