Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Prepping for My First Conference (Personal Notes)

Most of you are probably veterans of the Writing Conference scene, but I have to confess, this is new for me. In a little over two weeks, I will bundle up on a (potentially) cold day, pack up my completed manuscript, my WIP, a notebook and some (hopefully) new pens, and head out my door.

I am terrified.

Don't get me wrong--the workshops sound right up my alley. They cover topics such as writing for young adults, writing speculative fiction, writing query letters, and talking to agents. So why am I worried, you ask?

One of the workshops asks me to submit my first page of my manuscript anonymously and listen to the presenters give feedback. Now, there are other workshops scheduled for the same time slot, but none of them remotely interest me. And it would be great to get some professional feedback on my novel opening. BUT. . .

What if my face turns red when they start reading my page?

What if they say terrible things and I cry? It could happen. I cried at end of The Lego Movie.

What if they say nice things and I regret not signing up for one of the $30 pitch sessions? (Not as likely, but you never know.)

And, assuming I live through the session, what am I going to do with my hour-and-a-half lunch break?

What if people talk to me? I'm an introvert, so that could be awkward. Just leave me with my coffee and a book, and I am good. . .

. . .but, what if no one talks to me? Just because I'm quiet doesn't mean I don't like people.

I love listening to lectures and taking notes. It is just the rest of conference that terrifies me.

Have any of you been to a conference? What advice do you have for those of us who have never been to one? Leave your tips here, and many thanks!



  1. That's awesome! It is a local conference?

  2. Good luck, Erin - you'll be awesome! First Pages sessions can be pretty intimidating, but hopefully helpful, too! And if it's any consolation, at the ones I've been to they didn't get through them all :) As a fellow introvert, I get worried about going to conferences, too, but the good news is that at a writers' conference you have an easy conversation opener..."So, what do you write?" :) And there will probably be lots of other introverts there, so if you initiate the conversation I'm sure they'll be grateful!

    1. Thanks! I would love to learn more about what people write, so great reminder--just ask!

  3. Erin, thanks for sharing this! I am just like you in this way and usually get nervous about going to large events with lots of people. The funny thing is when I went to my first writing conference, I wasn’t nervous once I got there. I was so excited and felt like I was in the right place and with people who were open and nonjudgmental. I also found that people were very friendly in a gentle introverted-type way :). I think it will come naturally for you to chat with someone or a small group over lunch and at other opportunities. Good luck! I hope you really enjoy it and make some great connections!

    1. Thank you! I hope my butterflies calm down once I get there, too!

  4. Have fun, Erin! At one of the conferences I went to last year, I didn't know ANYONE. I walked in the door, scoped out the room, gathered my courage, then went to a table with an open spot (people on both sides: two chances to make friends). It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It worked -- the people there were so nice (and they were introverted like me!! Yay!)
    Don't stress about the feedback -- they're helping make your story better! ;-) And make sure to write a post about your experience--we'd love to hear it.


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