I remember you from the Southeastern Writers Conference a few years back. You have a way of standing out in a crowd. How do you do that? I'm a wallflower at these things. Why do you draw attention to yourself? In fact you do that in every writers conferences you attend. The same questions apply. You aren't disruptive but memorable. I'm in awe. Are you always like that? CR
Yes, I make it a habit to be noticed at writers conference and public events, but I am your basic introvert and hate crowds. I remember you too. You followed after me wherever I went but never joined the conversation, but remained the wallflower with your eyes cast down at the floor. Now matter how I tried to draw you out and talk, you muttered responses and refused to offer more. It's a shame really.
It takes tremendous effort on my part to go to these events. I really have to psych myself up for them and they leave me totally exhausted afterwards. I have a few goals for attending any writers conference or public event.
- Hey, I'm here.
- I'm a writer just like you.
- To learn what I do not know.
- Teach from experience.
- I paid for it, why not have fun.
|Joan M Mas @ flickr|
I was struggling with The Sacrificial Lamb. It was way too short by almost 10K words when I finished the third editing pass and was at a loss on how to expand it. I contacted a friend. Yes, I'd met here at a writers conference. Actually I'd contacted several. But these friends came up with a workable solution. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Yes, it meant a subplot weaved into the story, but I made my goal word count.
I'm going to combine "to learn what I do not know" and "teach from experience." These people at writer conferences and author forums may have forty or fifty books published or still working on their first rough draft. You can learn from the ones in the first category and teach the second. I may have fifty thousand (an exaggeration) ways to fix any problem that doesn't mean I can't have one more in my arsenal.
Even when I am the teacher, I'm constantly learning new things. My way is not the only way. There are so many variations and possibilities to make a better widget. In this case writing and publishing.
When you have a list of needs outweighing your wants, something playing the double duty role is advantageous. I tend to look at writer events as a working vacation. Writing and promotion is what I have to do to be successful. Having fun is an option but doable. Pick one person at a writers conference like CR did. More than likely that person knows another and they know others. Become an interactive part of that group. Be crazy, but not in a destructive way and have fun.
Be the flame because moths will get their wings singed and die. Standing back hurts rather than help you become memorable. Take a chance and speak up even if it's to agree with what has been said and why. These are the impressions other will carry with them of you.
Why is all of this important?
Because you need to build a readership. You need to build a platform to one day be considered by an agent or publisher. Even if you plan to go it on your own, you need a readership base or you won't sell any books or very few.