Happy Tuesday Writers!
Here are some quick tips for conversations at conferences. It can be overwhelming talking to people you don’t know and some people aren’t great at small talk. It’s exhausting for everyone–even us extroverts. Trust me, it is. We just don’t struggle as much while doing in, but at the end of the day sometimes our room, a glass of wine and TV or a good book as all we want, crave and need.
- When asked about YOU, instead of telling your life story, your boyfriend/girlfriend, breakups, life’s story, tell them about your writing. Example. “Hi, I’m Stephanie, I’m a writer from SoCal focusing on YA at the moment and looking for a new agent. How about you?” Here’s where you might say, “I’m from Minnesota and I am writing MG now but I used to be a reporter.” or whatever. You wouldn’t say. “I wish I lived in CA, it’s so cold in Minnesota, and my boyfriend always says that I complain too much but really? I hate snow.” etc.. it’s best to keep it professional unless there is a natural lead-in. See the difference? If the person you just met is talking about something you have common ground with like they have a dog and you love dogs or have one, and or they went to the same college as you, or got married on the same island in Hawaii as you did, or they dream of climbing Mt. Everest and so do you,–that is when you can easily make small talk. It will flow because you are just being you, but if that’s not your thing–just engage about your writing (without pitching-unless asked)
- Be confident. When someone asks you “why are you here? What do you write?” etc.. BE CONFIDENT. Don’t ever apologize or cut yourself down. Trust me, I hear these things a lot. Example. “I hope to be a writer someday. I never wrote anything. I’m not published. I just started writing. I love to read. I suck at grammar. I hope to get an agent if I get better. This is my first conference, I don’t know anything.”
- Remember you are a writer. “Hi, I’m Stephanie. I write YA. This is my first SCBWI conference. I’m loving it so far.”
- You are with colleagues not stars that you hold up high to some unreachable platform. They started out just like you. Everyone is a beginner until they aren’t. Everyone was once not published. And like the book says, “everybody poops” LOL but it’s true. You are with COLLEAGUES. Repeat this.
I hope these tips help you build confidence and have a great time when you are conferencing. I can be daunting when we build things up so much in our heads. We aren’t worthy thoughts (Wayne’s World reference) creep in and take over. Don’t let them. You are here because you are a writer! YOU ARE A WRITER. You got this!!
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Happy Writing! xo