On Friday I attended a writing event in Cardiff. I’ve been to a couple of events like this now, and have spoken on here before about reasons to attend one. But this time I’d like to discuss the things you must do while at a writing event – to ensure you squeeze the most out of your day.
Speak to other writers
Unless you come from a family of writers, or have friends with similar goals, it’s not often you’re going to get the chance to speak to like-minded people. People who know and understand the highs and lows that come with writing. It’s a great way to find out that your not alone, to meet new friends, make important connections and generally enjoy the day.
It may feel like you’ll remember every important point made, but in a day full of writing tips, advice and information, chances are you’ll be too overwhelmed to remember it all. Take notes throughout the day, even if it’s just some bullet points of key information. This way you don’t forget anything you learned, and it’s also great to look back on as time goes by.
It may feel awful and embarrassing having to speak up, but if there’s a question you want answered you have to go for it. How often will you be in the presence of authors, agents, editors, publishers…? If there’s something you want to know, ask the question. You’ll only kick yourself for it later on if you don’t.
Perhaps the hardest part of all! If agents attend these events they are fully expecting people to approach them with questions or pitches, or just for a chat. Of course you must respect their boundaries and be polite, but don’t shy away from saying a word. This is something I have hugely struggled with, but thanks to my amazing writing buddy, Lorraine Ambers, I managed to speak to an agent I have long admired. And I’m so glad I did, even if I was trembling like a jelly throughout the conversation! Again, how often do you get this opportunity? You have to grab it!
Next week on the blog I’m going to talk about the ways you can find writing events near you. How many of you have attended one before? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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