Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Mailbox ~ The Past Revisits Me- Introverts and Writer Events

It's that time to visit Tilda the Mailbox and answer your questions.
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

My response...

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.
The "Hey, I'm here" when you write a book and want to publish or have published one, you have to learn how to gain attention to/for yourself and your work. Otherwise you, won't be noticed or read. Remember one person tells ten people and so forth. I hear the buzz... "I met so and so at X. You won't believe the antics or stories surrounding her books." It gets repeated exponentially.I am remembered by those who have never met me so when they shop for books there's the recommendation.

Joan M Mas @ flickr
At writer conferences, "I'm a writer just like you" comes into play. All writers are friends you haven't met yet. They all have stories to tell because we are the storytellers. We have a common interest, desire, and love to see their books on the shelves. The hard work of finding common interest among strangers is taken out of the equation. Why not build upon it?

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.

Now I tend to be frugally minded and keep my eye on the bottom line. It's the accountant in me. It is also the introvert side of me. But at public events, including writer conferences, why not have fun? You paid for it and sometimes it's a big expense. If you look on these things as a chore than maybe an author life is not something you should be pursuing.

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.

clipart.com
I haven't met a writer yet that doesn't like to talk about their writing, their WIP, and their published works. That what I did at my first writers conference too many years ago. Most of us are introverts too. But get us started on our passion and soon you have a self-feeding bonfire. Who isn't drawn to or doesn't have fun at a bonfire? Drawn like a moth to a flame, and it is kindled by you and one other person.

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.

3 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's true - every writer likes to talk about his work. You just have to ask the question.

J.L. Murphey said...

Ain't that the truth.

Lara Lacombe said...

Like you, I find conferences exhausting, but very much worth the energy! I've met so many great people and learned so much--it can be a wonderful experience if you make it so!