Y’all I went to my very first writing conference about two weeks ago and it was AWESOME!
For a while now I had been reading on author blogs that mentioned going to a writing conference was important and at times a necessity for the craft. I can definitely agree for sure.
Over a year ago I found out there was a something called the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators which works on membership and there are tons of workshops and resources that they offer for writers and illustrators. At the time I didn’t join because I felt I had nothing to offer since I hadn’t actually made a lot of progress on my manuscript. I thought it would be best to join until I had finished which is still the plan. Fast forward a few months later and I found there was a chapter in North Texas which was so comforting to hear mainly because I hadn’t heard of any writing groups or events here. We do have literary events here but they are far in between. So I signed up as soon as I found out about the conference. It was a great experience where I felt at home with other writers and illustrators there.
Fast forward a few months later and I found there was a chapter in North Texas! It was so comforting and amazing to learn about it mainly because I hadn’t heard of any writing groups or events here. I mean, we do have literary events but they are far in between. So I signed up as soon as I found out–I hadn’t missed the conference yet. It was a great experience where I felt at home with other writers and illustrators there.
It was such a great experience where I felt at home with other writers and illustrators there. I recommend going to one. They can get a little expensive, but if you can please attend.
The conference had several workshops that everyone could break-out into depending on what we were interested in. In between workshops, we had a couple of keynote speakers one of them being fellow Texan and author Kayla Olson who wrote The Sandcastle Empire. She was absolutely wonderful and shared her journey to publication. Her words spoke to me, even though I am still on my own journey to being published hearing someone else’s story made me realize I wasn’t alone.
When I registered there was an option to sign up to pitch to a literary agent, but I didn’t (I know right?) mainly because I’m not finished with my manuscript. I did manage to take good notes of what the literary agents and editors are looking for in manuscripts they request.
I will admit I was a bit stressed in the morning because I didn’t have enough time to pack my lunch, but in the end was so glad I didn’t because I had lunch with a couple of fellow writers.
I can’t wait to go back next year!
Here are a few things I learned:
- Don’t bring lunch. Take that time to connect with others.
- Sit anywhere and be sure to introduce yourself to everyone at the table.
- Bring paper, pens, a sweater, and some snacks.
- Be kind and share snacks!
- Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to people, ask them about what they’re up to and voila network.
- Exchange social media.
- Exchange goodies, bookmarks, business cards…
- Introduce yourself and others to other writers you might know.
- Exchange notes of different workshops you attend with others.
- Keep in touch whether it’s through social media or writing get-togethers.