Research Live Events: Day 19 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

A question came in yesterday about how some names of people who comment are links to their websites/blogs and some are not. That is a profile setting. When you log in to the site, there should be a link next to the “Log Out” link that reads “My Profile.” If you click on that, you can do things like add a URL (in the Contact Info section where it says “Website”).

Research Live Events

For today’s platform-building task, research live events. I know we’ve been focusing a lot on online connections and platform, but live events are a great way to make very strong connections too. And I’ve found that some of my very best connections are those people I know both online and in person (even if we’ve only met once).

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WDvert_color_400x400The Best Conference for Writers Who Want to Find Success

Speaking of live events, Writer’s Digest hosts an annual conference (and usually one on each coast) that is super-focused on the business of writing. The 2016 information is not posted on the site yet, but there is sure to be a summer/autumn conference in New York City and likely a spring conference in California.

Check here every so often for more details.

These conferences offer talented panels and power-packed workshops, but the real draw is the ever-popular pitch slams in which writers get to pitch their book ideas to agents and editors and receive on the spot feedback. And while it shouldn’t be expected, there have been more than a few success stories born directly out of these pitch slams.

Click to continue.

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Benefits of Live Events

I know many writers are like me and are terrified of talking to strangers. I actually love being around people, but I have a great fear of making small talk. But live events have benefits for all writers (even the socially awkward).

Here are a few:

  • Live events energize writers. Even as live events wear me down psychologically, they do tend to get my creative juices flowing. I end up writing more, submitting more, and ultimately propel myself to new levels of success as a result.
  • Live events connect writers. You know those strangers I’m afraid of having small talk with? They’re usually pretty nice people (and sometimes in the same boat as me). Once we get over the initial awkwardness, we usually find a lot to talk about–both at the live event and later on via social media and e-mail.
  • Live events educate writers. I’ve attended many helpful workshops and panels over the years. That’s an obvious education experience, but I’m learning even at open mics and book readings, because I’m studying what works and doesn’t work for other writers when they present their poems and fiction.

So as you do research, look for national events, sure, but also look for things in your town or region (if you live in a rural area). Sometimes the best connections are made right in your own back yard. And if there aren’t any, this could be your opportunity to start one.

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roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He regularly blogs at the Poetic Asides blog and writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He also leads online education, speaks on writing and publishing at events around the country, and does other fun writing-related stuff.

A published poet, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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162 thoughts on “Research Live Events: Day 19 of the 2015 October Platform Challenge

  1. ConnieCockrell

    I love this tip. I started attending events this year. So far I’ve been to a Book Festival (www.PaysonBookFestival.org), a conference (https://www.facebook.com/InDScribe-Author-Reader-Con-702276673188304/?fref=ts The info for the 2016 event.), a book signing in my old hometown, and I’m scheduled to attend the VETFest in Avondale, AZ (http://www.historicavondale.org/vet-fest.html)

    Like Robert, I love the energy of these events but I’m drained by the end of the event. Even so, I have found, even in this short time, that the contacts generated and the things I learn are well worth the trip.

  2. Cindy

    A few days ago I found a web site that connects people to groups and events in my area. It is Meetup.com
    but this is the first time in a couple days I have been able to post.

  3. debn

    I attended the Garden Bloggers Conference in Atlanta in February and definitely found it to be energizing and educating. I also made some great connections. I hope to do it again next year.

  4. azlatic

    I am a member of the St. Louis Writers Guild, and we have workshops and presentations every month, plus an open mic session. i attend those, and this weekend there’s a big NaNoWriMo kick-off that I’m looking forward to. I love being with other writers…I’ve found my tribe!

  5. tracycorral

    For this exercise, it occurred to me that because I’m on Meetup, there might be some writers critique groups in San Jose in my area. I found that there are and a couple of them meet regularly (as in once a week). Google is also my friend: I found several writers groups; one of which, the California Writers Club, doesn’t require that I join to come to their monthly dinners. This month they had Joshua Mohr to their monthly dinner, talking about plot & character. They even do writer prompts! I’m so glad you included this as an exercise, Robert. I never would have thought to do this!

  6. L.C. Rooney

    Attended my first writers’ conference this past April — Maine Crime Wave in Portland. Heading to New England Crime Bake outside of Boston in a couple of weeks. I love these events! My dream is to attend Writers’ Police Academy, hopefully in 2016.

  7. Lauren Walker

    #platchal – Day 19 This was a great exercise for not only pushing my introverted self into finding outlets to mix, mingle, learn and exchange, but it was great for planning for next year, as well. I found a pretty thorough listing for 2015 and up to 8/2016 by writer, Jodie Renner http://jodierennerediting.blogspot.com/2014/08/writers-conferences-book-festivals-sept.html

    The exercise reminded me of my long ago intention to join the SCW organization for monthly meetings; a writing group I visited two months ago and need to get serious about; an upcoming writer’s conference in Ventura County that I wish I had the disposable income for, http://www.805writersconference.com and a memoir writers conference in Van Nuys, CA http://www.wcwriters.com/genrela/.

    Last, but not least, I learned of the SDSU Writer’s Conference 1/22-24/2016 that I am VERY interested in attending and will start planning now for that. http://www.ces.sdsu.edu/wc

    So done!!

  8. Carli Fierce

    Great Idea someone had. I participated in NaNoWriMo last year. They had a Write-In at the local library after hours. It was actually quite fun. It was free and very motivational. I’ll find out when it is this year.

  9. DRZ

    I’ll have to research live events in the area. Maybe a fun town chestnut festival is going on this weekend! I live in Italy so there are always plenty of town festivals, and because my blog is also about my experience as an expat, that opens up a large area of related live events.

  10. marlacarlton

    I am a member of a writer’s collective. We meet once a week and we read at a live event every 12 weeks. I love it. I will research more but I know there is one I would love to go to in New Mexico. Thanks.

  11. amberlynne

    I am thinking of volunteering for a local literary festival that I discovered last year. They are looking for people to organize. The other thing I want to do is find writer’s groups, which is something I need. I want to find people to talk with and get some feedback, but am unsure of how to do so.

  12. Sharon

    I’ve been to live events and have contemplated starting one. Of course the online free and paid events proliferate across the digital spectrum and I’ve taken part in many of those. But you have me thinking, always a dangerous thing, just ask my husband.

  13. slcoffey

    On the 20th, I am registered for a live webinar with an editor via the Houston chapter of SCBWI. Hope that counts. Signed up to meet with a writer’s group in my hometown but no new meetings have been scheduled as of yet.

  14. Ency Peterson

    You’d think it would be easier to find writing groups or live events in a college-based town, but the closest that I’ve been able to find is a minimum hour drive, and for someone without a license, that makes it even harder.

  15. jane_vee

    Thanks to an online search, I found a writing group that meets twice a month at a cafe near my house. They have been meeting since 2006. Because I am a beginner writer, I think this is an ok “event” to start with. It looks like a lot of the members have blogs.

  16. wordmage

    I didn’t have to look very far for this challenge. I’ll be going to a live event next month in my own back yard. I even bit the bullet and signed up for 2 agent pitches (eek!) This will be my first in person writing conference ever and I signed up for 2 agent pitches – I must be crazy! I figure, I’m not getting any younger 🙂

    It’s November 14th – smack dab in the middle of NaNoWriMo! I think I’ll make it a weekend writing retreat.

    According to their website, they still have seats available: https://thebostonwritingworkshop.wordpress.com/

    They will also have a workshop in Hartford, CT, on November 13th, for anyone in that neck of the woods: http://connecticutwritingworkshop.com/

    ::heading over to Expedia::

  17. clarkatniles

    Task completed and continuing. My small local writers group gives me encouragement and inspiration at every monthly meeting. Each of us has skills to share with the rest. And I am already looking forward to the next Christian Writers Conference at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. It happens only every two years, and April 2016 is the next one. Can’t wait!

  18. penandpapermama

    I love live events! Even though we’re a small town (about 35 000) in our area there are so many opportunities… I belong to the local writers club (and publish their newsletter)… involved in Raise A Reader… and the local Literacy Now group… attend pre-Christmas craft and arts (including writers) fairs … belong to the local Arts society … and the local historical society (and write for them) … local branch of Cdn Editors … presenter at our provincial Youth Writers Camp… attend local writers conferences and workshops … joined our local CoWork group… and so on! Face to face networking provides amazing opportunities; I don’t have to advertise my business, because of networking and word-of-mouth. Sure, online can be useful, but for local area opportunities, there is nothing like getting out and meeting people at live events.

    1. wordmage

      Ohmygosh! When do you sleep lol!

      I, too, love live events. It’s energizing to be around like-minded people. It’s amazing! I’ve attended events for professional associations (non-writing/art-related), but I’ve never been to a live writers conference. I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t attended a live event in quite some time. I’m looking forward to my first live writer’s workshop next month in Boston.

  19. Trena

    I head up a small writers group that meets once a month, It is not something I would normally volunteer for however one always has the potential to be a leader even for 5-6 people then go for it. It’s just another adventure to be written about. Research done on other larger scale events. MN people oriented. Thank you.

  20. Northside Girl

    Task completed–on a regular basis. But I did google “writers events south florida” and “writers events in Lee County.” Both were productive searches I’ll follow up one. Currently I am a member of a local writers group and a critique group that provide great friendships, learning experiences, and networking. I encourage everyone that tells me they want to write, to start by finding a local writers group to join.

  21. lmurban20

    I will definitely look for events here in WI.
    Though I think there will be more next month during Nanowrimo. The Waukesha Co. Wrimos group will have quite a few write-ins to attend at that time…perhaps even a prep event the last week of Oct.

  22. Pam

    I’ve searched for write-ins in my area before, and most of them are about 45 minutes away. However, there is an annual writer’s conference just 10 minutes away that I discovered last Spring. I wanted to attend this year, but my schedule didn’t allow it. I hope to go next year.

  23. SheepCarrot

    There’s an annual writing conference that’s not too far from me that I’m planning on attending next year (I didn’t find out about it this year until it was too late), and I’m also working to find a local writing group to join. I think I’ve found one that’s about 45min away, so that’s a possibility to consider.

  24. Leah Henderson

    I’m already signed up for the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic regional conference next weekend, but I’ve found some other great smaller events as well. And thanks Katherine for mentioning the Baltimore Writer’s Conference, I will definitely have to check that out. Day 19 complete.

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