Getting the Most from the Conference #2

  1. Have fun. This is going to be a hard week, but determine to have fun while you’re here. Don’t be afraid. Enter the contests, mingle, make contacts, have a blast. We want you to leave fired up to write.
  2. Decide you will learn at least three things from each session you attend.
  3. Make a list of questions you want answered. Make it a goal to get these questions answered by the end of the week.
  4. I don’t know how many times I hear the same things asked over and over of the editors and agents. Listen more than you talk. Your questions may be answered in plenary sessions, during other people’s critiques, mingling, in the halls, in afternoon sessions, during the time with the agent and editors, etc. etc. Pay attention.
  5. There are people who keep coming to this wonderful conference who never do anything with what they learn after the conference is over. We hope you go home excited to write and to work toward publication. How can you accomplish this? Set specific goals: I’ll write every day, I’ll send things out, I’start or join a critique group. Set both short and long term goals. Then in a few months you will have a rejection in hand or a contract. Remember, even a rejection is good—it means you’ve done something.
  6. Be willing to look at all possibilities. Maybe after a discussion about fantasy you decide that chick-lit writing is no longer for you—you were meant to write fantasy. Or perhaps you’ve been inspired to write a research based novel. Keep an open mind about all kinds of ways to stretch your wings as a writer, or illustrator, for children.
  7. Get out of your comfort zone. Mingle. Talk to others. Stretch. Writers and illustrators tend to be loners. We’re shy. We want to put on our jammies and go draw or write. But here at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers there’s an opportunity to learn like crazy. So put yourself out there and gather up all the tidbits that will help you succeed.

~Carol Lynch Williams