Unsolicited Advice: Attending Conferences

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Last week, I had an amazing opportunity to attend the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference. I had gone before, but not for about three years. Coming back was like coming home, in a writers-bonding-with-writers kind of way. It’s a community like no other, and there’s nothing quite like talking about writerly things with people who have been there, who understand the struggles and the wins just as you do. I thought of a few things that I learned, and whether you’re a writer or not, they should apply to situations related to your own career in which you might find yourself:
1) Follow Directions/Read your handouts: It may sound like a no-brainer, but be prepared. Know where your classes are, and how to get there. Bring the materials that the instructors want you to bring, and in the manner that they told you to bring them. There’s nothing quite like missing out on some valuable information that could change your career because you didn’t double space your sample pages (which I’m certainly glad I did!)
2) Don’t be an A-hole: A good life rule in general, but definitely applies to the conference scene. The last thing you want to do is sit down to a pitch session and stare wide-mouthed at the person in front of you, thinking to yourself, “Oh (insert expletive here), this is the woman who I couldn’t be bothered to hold the elevator for this morning.” Remember, no matter how brilliant your work is, nobody likes a jerk, and more importantly, nobody wants to WORK with a jerk. Would you?
3) Read, Read, Read: Would it kill you to read a book about your craft? Nope. I admit, this is a rule that I’m trying to get better about following. Hence why I bought books by all the master class speakers whose workshops I attended. Which brings me to the next rule…
4) ATTEND THE MASTER CLASSES: Yes they cost more money. There’s a reason for that. I learned more in those half day sessions than I learned in the vast majority of my college classes. GO! You’ll be glad you did.
For more information, email me at authorreneenmeland@gmail.com. Happy reading! 

Writing Conferences and why they are AWESOME!

Just got back from my first writer’s conference! What an amazing experience! I am excited and ready to amp up my writing life with everything I learned. I’ve compiled a list of thoughts, tips and tricks for anybody who is interested in a writing conference, or any meeting that might make you better at your own craft. This is my own opinion, so what is right for me may not be right for others, but I hope it will help! #1- Go to the classes: before I went, I researched. A lot. A whole lot in fact. Some people were poo-pooing the classes at conferences, and thought the best use of your time would be hanging out in the bar hoping to run into agents or editors. I don’t agree. There’s several classes going on at once and if one doesn’t suit you, go to another. There are people there teaching them who are the best in the industry. You are wasting your money if you don’t use that opportunity to pick their brains and learn. There will be time for the bar when class is over. #2- Agents are extremely nice people: Don’t be afraid of agents. They are extremely happy people who are just as excited about the industry as you are. And think about it: if you do well, so do they. They are rooting for you. #3- Be careful who you make friends with: I met some amazing women at the conference, all of which I plan on keeping in contact with. But if you find yourself talking to someone with a bad attitude… a real complainy-pants…get away. Seriously. Remember: you never know who is around. The last thing you want is to have happen is an agent seeing you with a complainy-pants and automatically thinking that you are one too. Guilty by association may not be fair, but it’s true. #4, and the most important- NEVER give up! One of our speakers shared some of her stories from her journey to best-seller stardom and if she had let any of those setbacks stop her she would have never gotten where she is today.  I will post more when I compile my notes because I got so much good information it needs to all be shared! Thank you for reading!