You’re off to an important conference or valuable writer’s festival.
How do you optimise your time? How do you make the most of the opportunity?
Before you jump on that plane…
I’ve shared my experience in preparing to attend and present at the 2014 Asian Festival of Children’s Content, and I hope it was useful. Now let’s talk about how to make the most of your time at a literature festival.
Optimising your time at a conference requires you to have done most of the preparation early [see Tip #1]. Then, you need to work out why it is that you’re attending.
Tip #2: Write a list of what you want to achieve in your career and in your life
Before I parachuted into the sometimes overwhelming stimulation of the conference environment, I wrote a list of the things I wanted to achieve in my writing career and in my life.
Don’t wait till you’re at the conference to do this. Conference environments can be like having 50 coffees: they’re massively stimulating but they can also be distracting. Make sure you don’t go off down a rabbit-hole because it seems like a good idea at the time. Write your list, and decide what is important.
Tip #3: Write a list of what you want to achieve at the conference
Now, having assessed the bigger picture in Tip #2, I wrote a list of what I wanted from the festival. What little-picture steps could I take at the conference to further my big-picture goals?
Example: conversation with me and my list
What is my big-picture goal? I want to strengthen my position as a writer of children’s science and non-fiction.
Little-picture conference steps: Focus on my science writing rather than my fiction writing; include my science background in biographies and on my business card; give priority to attending sessions relevant to my science writing career.
Result: My passion for children’s science shone through. I met some terrific writers also interested in creating non-fiction for children, I was approached by conference organisers about speaking on children’s non-fiction at other events. I viewed sessions through my non-fiction lens, and so I learned a lot that is directly applicable to my non-fiction writing. Also, I feel true to myself. I know where I’m going and I’m confident that attending the conference really helped me achieve that.
And so voila! I know where I want to be and how a literature festival can help me get there.
But, knowing where you want to be isn’t the be-all and end-all. Sometimes, when a rabbit-hole beckons, you just really need to jump down it.
Which is why you need part 3 of the game plan…COMING SOON.
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