The Pennwriters Conference is less than a month away! Where did the time go? When I excitedly registered to attend this conference, back in January (on the first day of registration, I might add), I also signed up to meet with an agent to pitch my manuscript. In January, May seemed like the very distant future, and of course my first manuscript would be finished, and I would be ready to start my search for an agent. How naïve I was. My first draft isn’t done, and the conference is now less than a month away.
As I was organizing my desk a couple weeks ago, I came across a copy of my Pennwriters Conference registration form, and I noticed for the first time a statement that read, “You should have a completed manuscript before making an appointment,” Ah, I had overlooked or glossed over the crucial word, “before,” when I eagerly scheduled my agent appointment. Apparently the conference organizers already knew what I’m just now learning, and that is the best intentions to complete a manuscript by a certain date aren’t always met. Of course, as soon as I realized this, I cancelled my scheduled appointment.
Which leads me to my question: as a writer and a first-time writing conference attendee, what can I do, both in advance of the conference and while I’m there, to help make the conference, a great learning experience and a worthwhile endeavor for me? Especially as a writer who hasn’t yet completed her first draft? I’ve posed a similar question to my local Sisters in Crime chapter, and have been given the following advice: to not be shy or insecure, be prepared to answer the question, “What do you write?”, bring business cards, and ask questions during workshops (thanks, Ramona!).
Any additional thoughts or suggestions for me? Also, what have been some of your memorable or favorite conferences? What made them stand out?