So, you’re going to a writers’ conference!
Good for you!
You’re investing in the gift for words, or the testimony God has given you, to tell His Story through your story. A writers’ conference is the place to go for next level tools to advance your idea or manuscript through to the finish line of publication . . .
To make the most of this teaching and learning opportunity, fully prepare yourself and your work for what you will receive. If it’s your first time at a conference or workshop event, the material covered and pace of the day can be overwhelming. Anticipate that you will be filled to overflowing with inspiration and instruction to your purpose. Plan to make your time there as productive as possible.
Begin by prepping a three-ring binder with index folder sections and envelopes to organize handouts or information collected. Your notes become an invaluable resource on a myriad of topics pertinent to your writing and publishing goals. House all handouts and materials well. I’ve kept all my notes and info from every conference I’ve attended through the years for easy reference anytime.
Once you’ve pulled your binder together, focus on four things: Purpose, Preparation, and Productivity.
WHY are you going to the conference or workshop?
Whether it is a four-day conference or one-day seminar/workshop, determine WHY you want to attend and what you hope to gain from it. Your purpose may be to understand more about the process of publication and realities of the book and media industry. You may be a novice with just an idea and a sense that you have a story to tell or a more seasoned writer with notes and manuscript drafts. Zero in on why you have chosen to attend and own your purpose there with resolve and confidence.
WHAT do you have to bring to the conference or workshop?
Don’t arrive empty handed! As noted above, perhaps you have a few story or idea notes jotted down in a journal and wonder if it has the potential to be published someday. Perhaps you have a file full of short articles, a few chapters of a book, or a completed manuscript.
Large conferences have dozens of workshop sessions and professionals on faculty ranging from published authors to editors, illustrators, marketing gurus, and publishing company representatives for books, articles, devotionals, or online media outlets. Smaller one-day workshops may have a staff under ten and only about 5 teaching sessions. Either way, plan how you will use your time there and know who you want to meet, the questions you want to ask, and the most useful workshop classes to attend. Make sure you come prepared:
HOW will you follow-up on what you’ve learned?
Your experience at a writers’ conference/workshop does not end with the end of the event. The time you spend afterward in review of what you learned and who you met is almost more important than simply attending. Follow-up will make the difference between moving forward with your goals, remaining stuck in limbo, or quitting on your publishing dreams altogether.
If you have a passion for storytelling, a way with words, and good news in God to share with the world, you need to explore the writing and publishing tools available to you through independent publishing and the plethora of online and print media markets looking for material to feed a hungry reading audience.
The road to publishing is paved with plenty of rocks and ruts along the way. Disappoint and Delight will be your companions. But if God has called you to it—He will give you the compass necessary to navigate through to a completed vision. It never happens overnight—but as I’ve learned on my own writer’s journey, we must be willing to take risks and grow into greater things while having patience for the prize.
One day at a time.
One word at a time.
Books are written with the potential to publish peace.
In all your good news--
persevere and take joy in the journey.
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