5 Best Writing Conference Hacks
1. Bring a dedicated notebook.
For years I took notes on conference handouts and miscellaneous scraps of paper. When I returned home, I’d shove the notes into a file and never look at them again. All those wonderful words of wisdom virtually wasted.
The next time I attended a conference, I added more wisdom to the notebook. Now, three years and seven conferences later, I have a priceless collection of writing knowledge neatly bound between two covers and easily accessible. Whenever I ask myself, “What was it that plug-in Edie Melson talked about in her workshop?” I go to my purple notebook, flip to the page with her name on it, and VOILA, I have all the information I need.
2. Find a book bag that works for you.
3. Pack a kit with conference essentials.
My kit contains headache medicine (so many people, so many conversations), Band-Aids for blisters (darn those cute new shoes), snacks (Reese’s peanut butter cups and granola bars), a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss (no bad breath for important conversations), hand sanitizer (so many handshakes), as well as tissues, contact lens solution, an extra pen, and ChapStick.
4. Buy the conference recordings and spend as much time as you can meeting with people.
I love, love, love writing workshops. I learn something valuable every time I attend one. Conferees often wonder if they should leave a dynamic workshop to meet with an industry professional in a one-on-one appointment. My answer? YES.
Conferences provide rare and invaluable opportunities to meet and gain personal insight from the movers and shakers in the Christian publishing industry. When else could you sit across from an acquisitions editor or agent and share the project God has laid on your heart or ask their advice about the next step in your writing career? I can trace almost every publishing breakthrough back to a one-on-one appointment a writers conference.
Attend as many workshops as you can, but don’t neglect meeting one on one with agents, editors, and faculty members. If you purchase the conference recordings, you won’t miss a workshop. You can listen and learn at home.
5. Begin every conference day with prayer.
My conference day prayer sounds something like this:
Father, you know the plans you have for me today. Help me receive everything that comes from your kind and wise hands. Remind me to be teachable, grateful, and kind. Connect me with the people who can help me become the best writer possible, for your glory. Help me surrender my hopes, dreams, and agenda to you, knowing that you will accomplish your will in my life, in my writing, and in the world. Remind me that editors, agents, faculty members, and conferees are people, too. Show me how I can bless them today. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.
Writers conferences are one of the most important ways to grow as a writer, advance your career, and discover what God wants to do in and through your writing. I hope these five tips will help you be better prepared to enjoy and learn from your next conference.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite conference tip? Share it in the comments and join the conversations.
Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, writing instructor, women’s ministry speaker, and career dental hygienist. She writes for Our Daily Bread, Guideposts, Revive Our Hearts, and Crosswalk.com. Check out her latest devotional, Refresh Your Hope, 60 Devotions for Trusting God with All Your Heart from Our Daily Bread Publishing. Connect with her at www.LoriHatcher.com or on Facebook, Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or Pinterest (Hungry for God)