Preparing for and attending a writers’ conference require time and energy. These tips for before, during and after the Ridgefield Writers Conference should help you make the most of the event and create a foundation for what comes after.
Faculty: Research your faculty workshop leader, and
prepare a list of questions about your work and the craft of writing in advance.
Also research other faculty, in case you want to talk with them or work with
them in the future.
Panels and Keynote:
Research the panelists and keynote speaker, and bring your questions to the
Q&A sessions. If time runs out, you may be able ask questions afterward.
Website: Study the conference website,
especially the Writers Resources section, for helpful information. Keep checking
the site for updates.
review all the information from your workshop leader, to learn as much as
possible about the art and craft of your chosen genre.
Registration: Arrive early to get a feel for the event and to meet
your fellow writers, the faculty and the coordinators. Also carefully review
the information in your registration packet.
During the Conference:
Get to know your fellow writers, the workshop faculty and conference coordinators.
Exchange business cards and contact information with others so that you can
keep in touch. Compare notes with other writers about what you’re learning.
Book and Resource Tables: Visit the
faculty book table to take home fine examples of work by these experienced
writers. Also visit the resource table to collect as much information as you
Readings: Sign up and read your
work at the attendee reading time on Saturday afternoon; it will give you practice
reading your work before a friendly audience.
Panels and Keynote: Meet the panelists and keynote speaker, and
don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Keep any reading lists your workshop leader provides, and read and retain all the
workshop handouts. Where you need clarity about feedback or other workshop
information, be sure to ask questions. Before you leave the conference, aim to have
some idea of the next steps to take in your writing life. If you’re not sure,
come to the What’s Next in the Writing Life breakout session on Saturday
Collaboration: Consider collaborating with a fellow
writer. Also consider working with a faculty workshop leader (yours or someone
else) after the conference.
Keep in touch with your fellow writers and others you meet during the
Feedback: Give the
workshop feedback you receive from your faculty leader and fellow writers time
to gel after the conference. Your workshop leader provides a worthwhile
overview and details on how to improve your work, as do your compatriots,
especially if a particular critique arises more than once. Your fellow writers also
bring another key perspective to the table — that of the audience.
Next Steps: Consider making a list of
next steps for after the conference, and ask your faculty workshop leader for guidance
on this. Ask the conference coordinators about the best resources to meet your
writing needs. Considering creating your own writing community, and seek opportunities
to stay involved and active in your writing life. Check the conference website
for final information.
If attending a writers’
conference sounds as if it involves more than just inspiration, it does. But
consider this: “Creativity has much to do with experience, observation and
imagination, and if any one of those key elements is missing, it doesn’t work.”
Bob Dylan, Chronicles Volume One
For more on the conference, visit Ridgefield Writers Conference.