An Introvert’s Survival Guide to Writers Conferences
When it comes to being a professional writer, you will need more than writing skills. You will also need to have good interaction skills, because you will need to market your work as well.
One of the most important aspects of marketing your book, is going to writers conferences. A writers conference is a great place to meet fellow writers, and form good relationships with potential fans.
However, if you are an introvert, you will have a hard time being in the same room with so many people, let alone having to converse with them. If you are going to participate in a writers conference, you will need to know how to cope.
Here is an introvert’s survival guide to writers conferences.
- Go with someone you trust
If you are going to a writers conference, it always pays to go with someone you trust. Introverts are not really the most outgoing people, and going to an event where there are a lot of strangers could feel very daunting.
However, if you could get a friend to come along, you will be able to control your anxiety throughout the event. If it is possible, your friend should also be a fellow writer, so that they could also enjoy and participate in the event.
The best case scenario for you, is if you go to the writers conference as a group. By going as a group, you will feel safe and more assured.
- Practice your small talk
One of the biggest challenges of being an introvert is small talk. Most introverts feel that small talk is unnecessary, and that it does not really add anything to a conversation.
If an introvert takes part in a conversation, he or she would rather have deeper conversations. However, during most social interactions small talk is needed in order to get into deeper conversations.
You should also remember that you went into the process because you want to learn and network with fellow writers, editors, and publishing house. In order to do this, you will need to practice your small talk.
Think of small talk as a muscle that needs to be developed, and trained. The more you practice your small talk, the easier it will be to do during the writers conference.
- Don’t pressure yourself to talk to everyone
One of the most common mistakes that introverts make during a writers conference, is that they pressure themselves to talk to everyone that they meet. While it is okay to say hello and be polite, you are under no obligation to talk to anyone if you are not comfortable.
If someone comes up to you and tries to spark a conversation, remember that you are not obligated to talk to him or her. If you are feeling sociable, you could engage in a conversation, but if you feel a bit anxious you could excuse yourself from the conversation.
Don’t cut the conversation abruptly. Try to be as polite as possible, and excuse yourself from the conversation.
- Look for a place to hang out at the conference
During a writers conference, it is always a good idea to have a specific place to hang out at. When you arrive at the conference, it is a good idea to spend the first few minutes scouting out the area, and find a place to stay at.
When it comes to finding a place to hang out at a conference, it could be a bit tricky. If the conference takes place in a mall, the food court or a nearby café would be perfect.
By hanging out at a food court or café, you and your group could attend the event in spurts. You will be able to take part in the conference, and if you feel that there are too many people at the event, you will still be able to retreat to your hang out place.
- Make friends with as many people before you go to the event
If you want to feel more comfortable during the conference, you should make it a priority to befriend other writers who will go to the event. While you can’t really make friends with everyone who attends the event, you could still reach out to some of them, and form a bond with them.
Remember that one of the scariest things for an introvert is to go into an event and not know anyone there. The presence of a few familiar faces in the event could really help you enjoy the event even more.
- Get your questions ready
One of the main highlights of a conference is the question and answers round with established authors. Most conferences have a famous author make an appearance.
The author will usually answer questions about his or her book. This is a great opportunity for any writer to ask questions about the book, the author, and gain lessons on how to succeed as a writer.
This could be a bit challenging if you are an introvert though. You will be asking questions in front of a large crowd, and you might feel anxious and forget your questions.
As a rule, it is important that you list down your questions. This will allow you to ask your questions without tripping over your words or feeling embarrassed.
- Relax and try to enjoy the event
While all these tips are useful, the most important tip you could get is to relax. You might be an introvert, but you are also a writer.
You are invited to the event, and you will need to face your fears. Tell yourself that you belong here, and that you deserve to enjoy the event.
Make it a point to meditate a few hours before the event, and keep all your emotions and anxieties under control. If you haven’t meditated before, you will be surprised at how helpful it could be.
If you are going to become a professional writer, you will need to know how to take part in writers conferences. However, if you are an introvert, you will need to know how to deal with meeting new people and interacting with a crowd.
With this introvert’s survival guide, you will be able to handle conferences more effectively.