Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting the Most Out of a Writer's Conference


Date: May 10-11, 2013
Place: Provo Marriott Hotel
Link: http://www.ldstorymakers.com
I will be teaching a marketing class and signing my books! Would love to see you!

Not only do I speak at writer's conferences, I attend them. And through the years I've learned a few things about how to make the best out of a conference.

Interestingly, it isn't always the popular speaker that I get the most out of; it's the speaker that stretches me and makes me want to try something new like editing in a new way I'd never considered.

Photo by: tom@hk, courtesy of Flickr
Stretch. Through the years I've come to realize that the classes that will be of the most benefit to me are those that take me to the next level. There's no need to take classes that I primarily know; I say, primarily, because there is always something someone can teach me. But don't take a class simply because you feel as if you'll be more comfortable there.

Whether I want to write better setting, or I need new ideas on how to market, I take the classes I need the most, whether the speaker is of the popular variety or not.

Take some breaks. I give myself time for breaks, too. I don't attend every hour, rather I give myself a couple of slots during the day (other than lunch or dinner) to reflect on what I've learned and set some goals.

My mind can get so filled with ideas that by the tail end of the conference I'm just sitting there learning nothing anyway. So why not give my mind some time to reflect?

Do it on you own. I used to attend classes with friends even if I didn't particularly care for the subject or didn't want to attend another class alone. But I've learned that it's okay to do it on my own. I can always meet up with my friend later. I need to take the classes that will cause me to stretch.

When it comes to stretching, this physical exercise helps with stress. I know this because since I've developed an hour exercise program and have been implementing it 5-6 days a week, my stress has decreased and my ability to do more has increased.

Stretching can do the same thing for you. While you're in class, don't take notes about everything you hear--it will drive you crazy anyway--write down those things that strike you, that cause you to ponder, that awaken your mind or cause you to want to leave the class and get started on the idea right away.

Live in the moment. While sitting in a lecture I often find my mind leaving even if my body doesn't. I am writing down all sorts of things; experiencing the moment if you will. People around me might think I am taking copious notes. What I'm really doing is applying something that I have just learned from the speaker.

Getting the most out of a writer's conference takes guts. It's really about giving yourself some time to reflect, not being afraid to do it on your own, being willing to stretch, and being open to the moment.

Living in the moment is always where I get my best stuff.


  1. Excellent advice all around! I too both teach at and attend conferences, and I learn a lot in both modes. Thanks for this - I'm passing it along to my students and writers' group.

    1. Sheila,

      I'm honored. I hope everyone enjoys the article.


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