I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Conference Highlights 2: Workshops!

There's something for everybody!

If you're anything like me you spend a lot of time mulling over the swag of workshops on offer at whatever conference you're going to.
Plenary workshops
If it's RWAmerica, then YIKES! Holy workshops-in-abundance! If you can't find something to attend there then you're not trying hard enough. RWA conveniently categorises their workshops under labels like CAREER, CRAFT, INDUSTRY, PANEL etc. They also tape many of the sessions and sell the CD of all recordings so you can pick up on whatever you miss that way.

GMC with Debra Dixson
RWAustralia/RWNZ divide theirs into morning and afternoon sessions, interspersing them with whole group plenary sessions. I often base my choices of workshops around where I'm at in my writing journey.

Initially, I took a lot of 'beginner' workshops - craft and skills needed to write a manuscript ie. anything to do with dialogue, pacing, plotting, creating characters etc. A few years later I looked for workshops on pitching, query letters, writing synopses, industry panels with agents/editors. Now I'm looking for more career orientated workshops or 'advanced' writer workshops.

RWAmerica - an editor & agent panel
Panels are also valuable workshops to attend. They could be genre based so you get lots of specific information, usually presented by authors or by industry professionals who've been in the game quite a few years.

Weapons & fighting - fun!
Try not to load up on all "work orientated" workshops. Intersperse your choices with something purely for enjoyment. Last year I went to an historical reenactment group who showed a variety of weapons, armor and fighting techniques. It was informative as well as a hoot to watch!

Sometimes there might be a clash of workshops on at the same time. See if a friend is going to one of the others you like and swap notes over coffee.

If there turns out to be nothing of value to you in one session, don't feel obligated to go to something just for the heck of it. Take time out and rest or chat to others who are skipping that session too. Sometimes this can be just as important or valuable as attending a workshop.
Networking is part of workshopping.

Oh, and most importantly, don't be afraid to ask questions. These workshops are all about learning, and there's no such thing as a silly question.


  1. Hi Kylie. Great stuff. I'm so happy to be heading your way for the Melbourne Conference. I've not been to an Aussie one, so am looking forward to emersing myself in writerly love....!

  2. Rowena, looking forward to welcoming you to our conference! Let's see if we can meet up somewhere/somewhen, even if it's only over morning tea. Glad you can make it! :-)