Summer is a time for writers conferences. If you are planning to attend a conference in the next few months, here are some things to keep in mind in order to get the most out of your experience.
1. DON’T PLACE TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF-It is unhealthy to think of this as a make or break situation. Granted, you may have a chance to meet editors and agents but it certainly won’t be your last opportunity. The more relaxed you can be, the more at ease, the greater the likelihood that something good will happen.
2. DO HEALTHY SCHMOOZING-In my opinion, the healthiest form of schmoozing one can partake in at a conference is to get to know other aspiring writers, people who are on the same journey you’re on. Sure, it’s always nice to get a business card from an agent but in the long run it may be more valuable to have the e-mail addresses of three fellow writers whom you may be friends with for the rest of your life.
3. GO SOMEWHERE NICE-Choose a conference in a city or in a part of the country that you’ve always wanted to visit. If the conference ends up to be disappointing, the vacation will still be a huge success.
4. DON’T RUN YOURSELF RAGGED-Conferences can be grueling. Don’t be afraid to skip a seminar or a panel discussion if your mind and body are begging for a nap. It’s hard to absorb information when you’re drained. Don’t feel obligated to do everything.
5. SEE IT AS A NO LOSE SITUATION-Even if you don’t land a four book deal with Macmillan, you will come away from the conference highly motivated and full of new insights about the craft of writing. It really is a no lose situation!
For those of you in the Midwest who may be looking to attend a conference in the fall, I will be teaching a one week seminar called ‘How To Write A Children’s Book’ in Door County, Wisconsin, where I grew up. The seminar will take place from Oct. 12-17 at Bjorklunden, the northern campus of Lawrence University. For more info check out Bjorklunden’s Web Site-
Or contact me directly at Jmihaley@yahoo.com