Attending Conferences is Easier Than Ever
Conference season is upon us! If there is a conference season… at least, it feels that way to me. I had one conference I attended (virtually) last month, I’ve got another this coming weekend, and another in mid-September.
I love attending conferences. They’re so incredibly useful! I learn so much and I get to network with publishing professionals and hang out with other authors. I know that I’ve written about attending conferences before but now, in this age of COVID, it’s actually easier and more manageable than ever before.
In the past, I’ve only attended the small Washington Romance Writers Retreat because it was just over 100 people. I can deal with being around 100 people in small bites, especially because I’m only ever actually interacting with, at most, eight people at a time. For an introvert that’s manageable with breaks every now then when I would escape back to my hotel room or out for a walk by myself.
Many years ago, when I was first published, I attended the RWA National Conference. A couple of thousand people all wandering the halls of a major Manhattan hotel, attending seminars, hanging out in the bar, etc. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t deal with that many people and I had no place to escape to (I was staying with my brother-in-law a twenty-minute subway ride away and, if you’ve ever been to New York, you’ll know that if you go outside for a walk you are NOT going to be alone). I haven’t attended an RWA National Conference since then.
Until this year.
This year I was able to attend the Beau Monde conference (it’s the Regency writer’s chapter of the RWA) virtually and this coming weekend I’m going to participate in the RWA conference. How? Because I don’t have to leave my own home! This is an introvert’s dream come true.
I can attend a huge national conference from the comfort of my own home. I attend a few talks (all on Zoom) and then turn off my computer. I can attend a virtual meetup, chat with many people online, and then turn off my computer. This is manageable! This is so easy and comfortable. And best of all, I get to learn and experience the wisdom of others without having to be overwhelmed.
See, there are some good things that have come out of this pandemic. I do have to look at the bright side of this.
So, everything I’ve said about the benefits of attending conferences still holds. It is an important thing to do if you consider yourself a professional writer—or would like to be. You need to keep up with what’s happening in the field. You need to hear from others how they have done it. It’s a great place to learn craft, and about the publishing world, and marketing. And it’s equally important to network with other authors.
Everyone has always extolled the wonders of the random meeting in the hotel bar with an agent, an editor, or a fellow author who knows just the right thing to do that will jump-start your career or get that book finished or sold. While a conference is virtual, there are frequently still opportunities for that chance meeting—meetups. I don’t know that these will work as well as one-on-one meetings in person, but I’m hopeful it will still be useful.
If you are attending the RWA conference, look for me! I’ll be hanging out at some of these meetups and I’m facilitating the last one on Writer’s Block on Sunday.
I’m also going to be presenting two workshops – one on Writer’s Block and another on Self-Publishing at the Savvy Authors Free conference in September. I hope to see you there!
On a different note, this week’s blog by Kristen Lamb is AMAZING! Really! I strongly encourage you to hop over to her site to read this.
And do remember that if you ever need help with your writing or motivation to write, I’m available. Find out more at my coaching website, http://servesyouwrite.meredithbond.com.