I generally stumble through conferences. I went to my first one because a friend told me to. I didn’t have anything to pitch and I wasn’t even writing much. I went back the next year because I’d met the Wordbitches the 1st year. I just went to the Sostice Writing Retreat because my previous professor, Louise Plummer, was teaching and I wanted to hear her laugh again.
And now SIWC is around the corner. So here are some ideas as I get read to stumble my way through another one:
5. Don’t be shy. I normally like to observe and take note, but it really is better to share and to talk and to make friends. Leanne already went over this, but it really is incredibly important while you’re at the conference. And it leads me to #2…
4. Always find the Calgarians. I’ve only been to two conferences, but in both, I spent the whole time with people from Calgary. And neither of the conferences were in Calgary. It’s getting odd.
3. Everyone has a different way of writing. Don’t stress out if you attend a class and find out your method isn’t the same as your favorite writer’s. One of the speakers at Solstice said that he outlines every book. He can be given a topic and he will outline then write. My professor said that process makes her want to claw at her skin. I believe that’s what she said. There may have been vomit involved as well. I think if you picture The Exorcist you’ll be getting the right idea. She has to have passion about what she is writing and the word “outline” has no passion in it. (I don’t think anyone has screamed “outline” after an amazing kiss.) But if outlining works for you, then do it. (Then try screaming it after an amazing kiss. And let me know how it goes. )
2. Just go. When I’m with other writers I often feel like a fraud and I start questioning why I attend conferences. What have a really done to call myself a writer? Do I have a manuscript to pitch? Am I succeeding? What is success? What am I doing here? Were these the right shoes? But no matter how much I’m questioning myself, I always learn something or meet someone who says something that clicks. I usually have an a-ha moment that carries me for the next few months as I sit alone, writing something that may never see the light of day.
And my #1 is my huge a-ha for me at the Solstice conference. (Remember I’m a simple person so my huge a-has are usually very basic, you’d-think-I’d-already-know-this information.)
1. Be consistent!!!!! This is essential. If you have a blog, post regularly. If you write, write regularly. And 2 hours seemed to be the key amount of time. Find 2 hours every day. Not many of us can find 6-8 hours but we can find 2-3 if we ignore household chores. And just write. Put on a timer and truly give yourself 2 hours. I sit down but then I’ll go on Facebook or I’ll see someone emailed me or I’ll feel lucky at Candy Saga and I’m not writing. I’m sitting at my desk for 2 hours. That doesn’t get the manuscript finished. School starts today and I have my writing schedule for the week and I have to stick with it or I’ll never wear my Frye boots.
Conferences are wonderful things and I highly recommend stumbling through one. (Which could refer to another of Leanne’s points of hanging out at the bar.) Then sitting down and writing.
That’s what I got. What do you think? Have I missed anything?