Like any other career, you have to keep pushing yourself to try new things and become better to be successful. Conferences are about connecting, learning, and keeping ourselves humble.
Conferences are overwhelming, exhausting, intimidating -- and one of the best things you can do for your career.
I pulled this post out of the vault. Marcy Kennedy is teaching the fiction intensive this year, and I'm teaching a career class on Facebook marketing -- but this is not the first time we've been faculty at a conference and there may be some things as attendees that you're not aware of. We're here to dish.
(1) We can tell a lot about you from a 15 minute appointment.
- a willingness to learn and work hard
- questions showing an understanding of the market
- the ability to tell me what you need my help with (or the acknowledgment you’re just starting out and aren’t even sure what your first step should be)
- evidence you did your research ahead of time (if you booked an appointment with me randomly, that’s not a good sign)
- Do you understand the market?
- Do you know who you're writing for (everyone is not the right answer)
- Are you willing to accept constructive criticism?
Lisa: And both of us are very accessible online - and so are most writing conference faculty. Having someone sit down with me and say - 'So, what do you write?' tells me they didn't even take five minutes to look us up on Facebook or our blogs.
(2) We don't make money going to conferences.
Lisa: We know exactly what it feels like to attend your first conference or even your tenth conference. We're there to help and offer advice -- just like at one point someone further ahead on this career path did for us. Professionally, we have little to gain from being faculty so know that any advice we give is sincere and meant to help and not hinder.
Lisa: Our intention is not to crush your dreams, but help you understand the market and make you a better writer. Be polite even if you disagree.
Bring some business cards and swap cards with the people you meet. Look them up on social media, stay in touch. Some of the best connections we've ever made were at conferences and we've maintained many of those connections (which I'm now able to use to help get great faculty to come to Write Canada). These people want to see you succeed and there are many stories of promotional help and writing advice taking place long after a conference meet up is over.