Tomorrow begins the first day of the Write to Publish Conference. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and networking. As I peruse the class and workshop offering, I recall my first ever conference back in 2005.
I had no idea what to do, so many new things to learn. If not for the help of the veteran attendees I would have remained lost.
In the spirit of paying it forward and keeping the theme of Jubilee Writer here are some tips for choosing the classes and workshops.
- Where you are on your writing journey?
As a newbie there may be a faculty member your dying to meet whose teaching an advanced fiction class. Don’t take the class. You’ll be overwhelmed and frustrated trying to keep up. Instead sit at his table during a meal. Faculty is encouraged to have meals with the attendees. Pick classes that will help you improve your craft. Be sure the titles that spark your interest aren’t miles ahead of where you are on your career path. Published authors should consider classes on marketing and any new trends. Writing is more than an art form it’s a business so stay informed.
- Newbies should always choose introduction classes and workshops that cover the basics.
Most beginner writers gain the most benefit from those classes. We are all a bit nieve at our first conference. You may have many books written that aren’t published. That makes you a newbie. My first draft wasn’t as stellar as I thought after taking the introduction classes for fiction my eyes were open. The same advice goes for non-fiction and articles writing, too. New trends can change how you approach a book.
- Repeat a class or workshops
This isn’t your first year and the classes may appear duplicates of the year before. But, there is always something new to learn. I took the fiction track five years in a row. Each year it was a different teacher. I gleaned better understanding every time I sat through the class. Even after my first novel was completed I found help for my weak areas by revisiting the class. I’ve repeated marketing classes simply because it is constantly changing.
- Published authors should never stop learning
I don’t recall where I hear “When you stop learning you die,” but there is so much truth in that statement. We need to keep up with the changing trends or publishing house may not give us the time of day. I keep hearing educational materials are selling well. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) topics are the big trend. If I’m serious about writing as a career I need to find out more about that trend and decide if that is something I need to add to my writing resume. The money I’d earn from those projects could help fund the marketing of projects I love. Don’t dismiss a speaker or class covering the newest trends your career may depend on it.
- Choose a class out of your wheelhouse
If you write non-fiction, it would be a good idea to attend a class on writing effective dialog. When recreating a scenario in your non-fiction book dialogue can captures the essence in a way narrative cannot. If you write poetry perhaps a workshop on writing children’s books might help you find a niche for your creativity.
- It’s okay to change classes
If after the first fifteen minutes you discover the class is not what you expected then walk out and attend a different one. You’re not being rude. Most conferences encourage you to do it.
Lastly, there’s no need to fret over the classes you missed. They are recorded and MP3 are available to purchase.
I’d love to hear your conference experiences in the comments.
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