This coming Saturday, I’m very excited to say, I will be attending the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. I am both incredibly pumped and incredibly nervous for this. I’ve never gone to a writing conference before, and I’m not always the best at mingling with people, but this is going to be a great opportunity for me to learn and gain some really valuable experience in terms of my writing path.
The conference takes place from Friday to Sunday, but I’ll only be attending the Saturday session. Hopefully, in future years I’ll be able to attend the whole thing. But Saturday sounded really good and I think I’ll get a lot out of it.
Throughout the day there are going to be workshops. There’s four time slots, each with a bunch of different workshops happening at once. I think I’ve pretty much got my day figured out, regarding which workshops I want to attend during each session. There’s a couple that I’m still in debate about, so I’ll probably just wait and see what I’m feeling in the moment.
The Saturday conference pass comes with what they call a mystery presenter lunch. Each person is assigned randomly to a table with a surprise presenter from the conference. It might be an agent, it might be an editor, it might be an author. You won’t know until you get to your table. This is one of the parts I’m nervous about, because it means me, sitting at a table with a bunch of strangers, one of whom is a big deal in the industry, and I’m expected to be able to make normal conversation. Oy. Like I said, I am not good at mingling with people I don’t know. Small talk is not my forte, and I grow quiet and awkward when I’m nervous. So here’s hoping I can get through that without choking – literally or figuratively.
The aim is, of course, to network yourself, to make connections. This is not something I have experience with or imagine myself to be very good at. I’ll simply have to put on my brave face, and hope I can think of something interesting to say, and be endearing enough that I do make connections.
The other nerve-wracking, but incredible opportunity that comes with signing up for the conference is the chance to pitch your work to an editor or agent. I will be the first to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to this. The pitch is a ten-minute session – how much of that am I supposed to be pitching for? Needless to say, I’m incredibly nervous for this, but also very excited because it will (hopefully) help me with figuring out what I’m doing wrong in my queries and how to better attract enough attention for someone to want to publish my book. They can tell me what’s wrong and how to fix it, and even though that’s terrifying, it’s also incredibly valuable, so I don’t want to mess it up.
I can’t wait for Saturday, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it when it’s over.