Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference is set to kick off in just over a week, and if you’ve made the investment—of time, of money, of guts—to attend a weekend that will challenge, inspire and get you closer to a finished, published novel.
With that in mind, we collected a few tips over the years that might be helpful. Some are insights gleaned from survey results of past attendees and others are just what we’ve learned by connecting with folks in person. Either way, you’ve got the whole wisdom of the crowd at your disposal:
Do your homework!
Yes, historically, no one likes homework, but this is the kind that can dramatically shape the experience you have in Pasadena. First, make sure to review the schedule throughout the day. It doesn't mean you have to memorize it, but have an understanding. Tip, if you are sitting in a session that doesn't interest you, quietly get up and go to another session. You are not locked in!
If you have business cards, bring them. You never know who you might meet. From fellow writers to agents, these impromptu connections can be a great way to exchange information and find likeminded supporters. Also, don't forget to bring a light jacket or sweater for the rooms (we’ve learned the hard way).
Network, network, network!
This is a great opportunity to meet fellow writers. Some people may just be starting out while others are veterans. They could become friends, critique partners, someone to go have a drink with, or someone who could be the connection your writing career has been waiting for.
This one should go without saying, right? But the truth is that attending a conference can cause stress and anxiety. That’s normal! Remember that you’re surrounded by others feeling similar things—and also that you’re being mentored by people who genuinely want you to succeed! The intimidation factor can be high, but if you remind yourself of that goodwill from time to time, it can help you enjoy it more. Plus, we might even have a little surprise in the back of your badge.
We can’t wait to see you, but remember the experience doesn’t end when the conference does. Be sure to bookmark this article to read once you’re back at home. See you in Pasadena!