Guest Blogger

How To Get The Most From an In-Person Writer’s Conference

May 24, 2022
By Gina Holder
Photo by Jaime Lopes on Unsplash

I attended my first in-person writer’s conference.

Do you recall the thrill, and fear, of doing something for the first time? The tightening in your stomach, the light-headedness, the overwhelming anticipation… Putting yourself out there is difficult for everyone. We all shy away from feelings of vulnerability and potential failure.

I recently attended my first in-person writer’s conference, Write in the Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado. I’d been to virtual writer’s conferences but hadn’t yet been able to take part in an in-person conference. At a virtual conference, I can hide behind the camera, even turning it off if I choose, and I don’t have to speak to anyone unless I want to.

It’s far more difficult to hide at an in-person conference, and as an introvert, that was a gut-wrenching thought. I was so nervous I cried on the drive there. In the end, I had a marvelous time, learned a lot of helpful craft information, and even made some new friends.

Gasp! I know! I talked to people!

For my guest post, I thought it would be fun to share some tips, or reminders, that helped me get the most from the conference. I found they centered on two subjects, Respect and Courage.

Respect

Respect those who aren’t ready to go back to normal.

You might find as we get back to in-person events that some aren’t ready to put down the masks or share personal space, and you need to respect that. Don’t mock or demean those who feel differently than you do about the pandemic.

Treat others with kindness.

Others are watching and they will build an opinion of you based on the way you treat other people. A little kindness goes a long way. Don’t forget your basic manners and look for ways to bless someone.  

Be respectful of the teacher’s time.

It’s easy to want to monopolize the teacher’s time, picking their brains, or swapping stories, but you aren’t the only one who would like to speak to them. Keep things short and sweet, so others will get their turn as well. If more time presents itself at another opportunity, be sure to maximize it.

Be respectful of different beliefs.

Even at a Christian conference, you will find a wide variety of beliefs regarding doctrine, Bible versions, etc.… Respect that others view things differently and now is not the proper time for a debate.

One publishing path is not better than another.

We as authors separate ourselves into two camps—indie publishing and traditional publishing. If asked, it’s fine to share the pros and cons of your experience, but don’t bash another author’s choice of career path. What works for one may not be best for someone else, and vice versa.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another…

Romans 12:10 KJV

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:21 KJV

Courage

Share your publishing experiences. You never know who you may help.

Many unpublished writers also attend these conferences, and they are looking for guidance, or at least information. Sharing your personal experience can give them an enormous boost of confidence and understanding.   

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you run into a snafu, let your needs be known. Some kind soul is more than happy to lend a hand or point you in the right direction.

There are no dumb questions and no dumb suggestions.

If you are confused about something, ask for clarification. It’s doubtful that you’re the only one with that thought. And if suggestions are solicited, make some. You never know, you might surprise yourself.

A smile goes a long way.

If nothing else, smile at those around. It makes you appear warm and welcoming and sets others at ease, too.

Say “Hi” and introduce yourself.

Step one to making a new friend or new contact.

Just be yourself.

You want people to like you for you and not some made-up façade anyway, so let your personality shine.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Joshua 1:9 KJV

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper,
and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Hebrew 13:6 KJV

ღ About Gina Holder ღ

Gina Holder is an indie author and stay-at-home mom. She’s had an infatuation with books for as long as she can remember. She loves sharing uplifting messages from God’s Word and introducing readers to new and new-to-them authors on her blog at http://storiesbygina.wordpress.com. When she’s not writing, Gina enjoys playing the piano, cooking, reading, watching Hallmark mysteries, and solving “escape room” puzzles. She’s been a member of ACFW for several years, and loves growing in her craft as an author. She published her debut novel in 2017. Gina lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter.

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