Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Meeting: Blue about Missing You, and Looking for Conference Advice

The Blue Man Group rocks. Literally.
Last week was vacation week for my kids--and we did some great stuff. None of it revolved around writing or being plugged in. I miss this aspect of my life when I can't focus on it. I'm hoping to jump right in this week, and not lose any momentum that I had gathered before. (I guess that's my ROW update--I did nothing last week, but plan on hitting my goals this week.)

This April, not only am I attending the NESCBWI (New England Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) conference, (can I get a WOOT!?) but I'm moderating a discussion there about attending a conference for the first time. Since my group is first thing on Friday afternoon, what I tell first time conference goers might affect how they go about the rest of the conference.

I remember attending my first conference, and, quite honestly, feeling like a fraud. I stuck to my writing partner, and we both introverted the entire time.

Now, that doesn't sound much like me. :)

So, I'd love to hear your take on your first conference, and what advice you would like to have heard before that conference.  Or, if you have yet to attend a writing conference, what questions you might have about preparing for the time spent there.

I think that my advice for first time conference goers revolves around the idea of picking one thing to focus on--whether it is socializing (or appropriately networking), getting critiques for your work, or working on craft. Otherwise it can be overwhelming.

On another note, I found this great post outlining the benefits of using youtube, and it reminded me about our discussion a few weeks ago about an author's platform.

And, I love this hopeful post, about YA and ereaders.

So, what goals do you have this week? What concerns did you have when you attended your first conference? What do you think about YA and ereaders? Do you youtube?


  1. I'd love to see my attempt to focus on one thing. I'd end up socializing more than anything, even if that wasn't my intent! :P

  2. Jon--last year, I attended mostly with the idea of socializing. It was a very fun and rewarding conference. The year before I went focusing on a critique. It was a stressful time.

    I am giving a pitch at this conference, but instead of getting stressed about it, I am hoping to continue to focus on the socializing/networking part, instead of the I-am-going-to-be-critiqued part. This way, I'm hoping to play to my strengths. :)

    You'd have such fun at the conference!

  3. Hi Heather-looks like you had a great time with the kiddos! I've attended several regional and LA National conference and my advise is to meet people in the eye-smile,say " good morning,how you fairing, thank you, can i sit there,etc. " by the elevator, by the coffee, or sitting down waiting for a talk------ there is great power in looking at someone and smiling!

  4. JULIA!!! HELLOOOOOO! It's been too long! And great conference advice. Smiling is such a power ice breaker. :) Heading over to say 'hi' at your blog now! :)

  5. Blue Man Group is awesome! How fun for the kiddos! I should take mine sometime. My sis and I took my mom for Mother's Day one year and we loved it.

    How great that you are one of the participants at the conference. My first conference I was VERY nervous, but luckily went with my friend. I mingled a little, but looking back I should have mingled more. I felt maybe overwhelmed and a little intimidated. It was a great experience though!

  6. i think one of the best things you can do at a conference is meet other writers - especially if they live in your area, and you can connect again in person. the people i've met have become such a great source of inspiration and motivation.

    i'd also advise writers not to think of this as your way to slip your manuscript into an agent's handbag. if you have a chance to pitch, take it - but don't just treat the conference only as a promotional ploy...

  7. Congrats on being a participant at the conference. I was hoping to attend my first one this year but life got in the way instead. I love the comment about the power of a smile.

  8. A former grad professor of mine frequently said, "You'll learn more from your fellow students than you will from your professors." In many ways he was right.

    Congrats on moderating a discussion session! That is completely cool! You'll be an instant star and certain to attract first-time groupies who will hang on your every word. : )

    Make us proud.


  9. Kelly--I was totally intimidated at my first conference. :) I hope that I can help others get over that feeling.

    Gina C--Making local connections is great advice. And, I kinda love all those agent myths--you know, when they say someone slipped them a ms while they were in the bathroom stall! But yes, we need to all take care not to be pushy!!

    Carol--Bummer! I hope you get another chance to attend a conference soon. I love meeting other writers in person. I too, think that Julia's advice is worth its weight in gold. :)

    Tom--Uh oh, now I'm feeling some pressure. LOL. It's such a funny thing to be asked to do a semi-professional thing at a conference that I'm attending as not a professional. Although, that's the feeling of intimidation that we all have to work at getting over, right?! I'm exciting to be contributing to the conference in even a small way. I'm hoping to find a way to make it fun. :)

  10. I don't read YA unless looking for something to grab the attention of my sons, although I plan on reading the Hunger Games. I've simply had too many recommendations to let it pass by without a little look-see...ha! As for e-readers - I love my Kindle! I'd never give it up. It was a bit hard to get used to it (I have a secret love affair with paper - books, magazines, newspapers...) but once I did, I really did.
    I've never attended a conference! Maybe one day I will.
    My goals for the week are to get my edits from the hard copy to the computer and begin the first of three reads before sending my newest novel off to my beta readers!
    Hope you have a great week, Heather.

  11. I like YA and ereaders, I have a Youtube channel (youtube/user/bigplainv), and at my first conference, I focused on everything and was, as you said, very overwhelmed. I think for my next conference, I might concentrate on the "networking" more, because so far, other writers have been my greatest source of... everything I guess.

  12. Glad you enjoyed the week off and hope you enjoy the conference. I love your conference advice about focusing. I went to my first one last year. I loved it, but did find it overwhelming and my head was so full at the end.

  13. OMG I remember my first conference. It was only 5 years ago--and I felt like a complete poser. I thought everyone else was a writer and I was not. I thought everyone else would see right through me. I thought everyone else knew so much more than me.

    And I discovered that everyone else felt pretty much the same way at their first conference. :)