Surviving conferences and conventions….

Reading time: About 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post on surviving conferences by Jenn Walton….

I am an introvert. A socially-skilled introvert, but an introvert nonetheless.

For this reason, I don’t generally enjoy going to conferences where I don’t know anyone. I can force myself to speak with total strangers, but it’s work, not easy. I’d much rather be alone in my room, reading a book.

My attitude perhaps explains why I appreciated a recent blog post by Jenn Walton on the DIY MFA website. Under the headline, “Three Ways to Find Inspiration at a Writing Conference,” Walton gives expert advice for surviving conferences.

She has three main suggestions:

  • Pay close attention to how someone talks about their story
  • Try telling your story differently each time you meet someone new
  • Take a writing break during the event

I like the way her suggestions give you something concrete and practical to do. I can follow orders like that, and her suggestion to focus on telling your own story differently each time struck me as particularly interesting and fruitful.

As Walton puts it, “Work events are generally flush with all types of people that you can draw inspiration from. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to observe how people come together and interact with one another to give you better and more concrete fodder for the characters in your stories and the situations they find themselves in.

“They’re also a wonderful way to practice how you write and construct scenes and dialogue, making returning to your current projects a little easier. So, the next time you’re away on business, try working the work events and see what inspires you.”

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Nov. 4/19.

Scroll to Top