This week I’ll be heading to the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference. While I’ve been attending these things for years, new writers often want to know what to expect. The first time you attend, you may feel very overwhelmed. Some conferences draw upwards of a thousand writers, and it’s easy to feel invisible. If this is your first year to attend any writing conference, here are some tips:
Writing Tip for Today:
- Use your first year to simply immerse yourself in the conference culture. Focus on taking workshops or hearing agents, writers and editors speak at the various luncheons and dinners. If you do pitch a project, be extra-sure you’re really ready to pitch. Free pitch practice is usually available.
- Find out if there are any pre-conference activities meant for first-timers. Seek out the shepherds or conference officials who are assigned to look after first-timers.
- Attend with a friend. At least you won’t have to talk to yourself.
- Consider going this year as a day timer and attend only one day.
- If the conference holds a pre-conference writing contest, you might enter it. If you win a prize, you usually get to attend the awards dinner for free.
- Look for ways to volunteer as a way to cut costs next year.
- Learn to network. Be upfront about your writing without bragging or being pushy. That’s really what a conference is all about.
- SMILE! And please don’t try to corner the editor or agent in the food line or in the bathroom stall. That’s an urban myth which needs to die.
Try This! Write one sentence that conveys the essence of your book. It will probably sound like a zillion other stories, but that’s OK. Try to avoid using general words (situation, things, circumstances) and be specific. If possible, try to work in these elements: Time, place, protagonist and problem.