A To Don’t List for Writer’s Conferences

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By Tamara D. Fickas

Springtime is easing into summer. Trees and flowers are blooming. The temperature is inching upward. On cue, the writing world is easing into conference season. One-sheets and proposals are bursting forth. Social media is a twitter (see what I did there) with what works best and words of encouragement.

This season is a busy time for writers. Whether you’re a multi-published author or a newbie, attending a conference is one of the best ways to stay on top of happenings in the writing world. It’s an opportunity to be with our people, to be understood.

Still, for new writers this time can be fraught with stress and anxiety. Until you’ve been to a few conferences and pitched a few projects, it can be intimidating and daunting. The web is awash with To Do lists, advice, and help.

I just returned from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. As I went through the week, it occurred to me there are some things you just don’t need or want to do at a conference.

Here is a short To Don’t List.

Don’t let the stress of pitching projects overwhelm you. Do your homework, polish your work, and practice your pitch. After that, it’s up to God. Trust he will find the right place and the right time for your project.

Don’t let one person’s criticism derail you. We all see things differently. If the agent you wanted to represent you doesn’t respond the way you want, don’t panic. Weigh their comments and advice. Take what’s helpful and let the rest go. If you hear the same comments from several people, then you should take a serious look at what they’re saying and possibly make changes.

Don’t stalk the authors, agents, publishers, and editors. Look for opportunities to meet the person, but don’t go crazy. Don’t approach your person in the restroom or camp outside their hotel room door. Most conferences have tables at meals so that you can sit with those on faculty. This is a great way to allow relationships to develop naturally

Don’t forget to relax and get to know fellow attendees. You never know what relationship might develop from a casual conversation. A seemingly small meeting in the lobby of the hotel may well lead to an open door for you later.

Don’t give up. If God has called you to write, don’t give up when things get hard, and they can get hard at conferences. Don’t make a rash decision based on one bad meeting or class.

Conference season can be a roller coaster of emotions. The better prepared you are, the easier it will be to weather the tough times. Just remember that every writer goes through similar emotions at one time or another.

Tamara Fickas 2016Tamara Fickas – Christian, storyteller, writer, speaker, encourager. She lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her beloved kitty boy, Wilson. When not writing she loves adventures, time with her dad, reading, and making people laugh. Life experiences, her vivid imagination, coffee, and Hot Tamales fuel her writing. www.tamaradfickas.com.

Comments 0

  1. Tamara, good advice. Remember that your future doesn’t hinge on that one appointment or meeting. God’s in control, and what He has in mind for you may be much better than what you want. Realize also that His timetable may differ from yours.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for this post, Tamara!
    Even though I’ve attended half-a-dozen conferences, I still get a bit nervous and anxious, so your list was a great reminder of keeping things in perspective and doing my very best. 🙂
    Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Richard, Sometimes it’s hard to remember that it isn’t up to me, but there’s such a sweet peace when I get there. It makes a world of difference in how I approach the business side of writing. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Patti Jo, you and me both. My list came from the things I told myself during the recent conference!


  4. Thank you for such an encouraging post. This August is my first conference and I am a bundle of emotions. I am sure I will read this a couple thousand times before then.

  5. Cindy Martin, the first conference is always nerve-wracking. We’ve all been there. Prepare before you go an remember that God has gone before you even in this. Hope you have a great time at the conference.

    Cynthia and Davalyn, thanks for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the post.


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