Last weekend I attended DFW Writers’ Conference for the second year in a row. My main goal, other than pitching, was to conquer my shyness/social awkwardness. Last year I didn’t tweet, didn’t really mingle with any new writers, and barely talked to the agents. This year would be different.
The plan was complete.
If we were in a movie, this would’ve been our entrance music, in slow motion of course. Wonder what kind of chains a writer would wear? A giant gold pen?
Or so I thought. Once I walked through the doors of the Hurst Convention Center I turned into a scared little puppy. How do I approach a group of people without feeling like I have a giant green tail? What do I say? How do I keep a conversation going? Would I ever be able to break out of my shell and let my awesomeness shine? Were the rumors true; can agents pass the Voight-Kampff test?
Luckily, none of my nightmares came to fruition. It ended up being one of the best weekends of my life.
Here’s the top five ways my shyness was forced to accept defeat.
5) By taking a networking class
A networking class was offered first thing Saturday morning. It was taught by the energetic Brenna Smith
. She forced us to talk to each other, how to break into groups without being awkward, and ABC! Always be connecting. By the end of the weekend, I was introducing myself to complete strangers and going beyond small talk.
4) By providing alcohol
There was a mixer at the end of the first day. Last year, I was a nervous wreck. This year thanks to my amaretto sour, and my social ninja, I was cool, funny, and collected. I found myself talking to all sorts of people, including making Dexter
jokes with agents. It was amazeballs.
3) By offering an exhibitor contest
Last year, I didn’t allow myself time to stroll through the exhibitor area. I was super focused on classes and agents. This time around a contest to win an iPad was offered. You had to collect stamps from every exhibitor table. Perfect incentive for a super competitive person like me. I took the time to stop by every table and get all the stamps. I ended up having actual conversations with every exhibitor. I used the ABC’s rule from the day before and made connections. I even chatted with other attendees afterwards.
2) By offering genre specific classes
I write urban fantasy with a Greek mythology bent. Sometimes I feel alone in my genre because everyone and their monkey’s seems to write YA. It’s what’s hot right now. But I’m always wanting to meet other urban fantasy writers. I was super excited for Sunday’s paranormal/fantasy class. I ended up striking up a conversation with the wonderful lady next to me. We ended up exchanging business cards and she’s now one of my writing accountability buddies.
1) By promoting the use of Twitter
I’m a internet nerd. I’m much more comfortable being funny/weird/sarcastic online than in person. My social ninja pal came up with the amazing idea of putting our twitter handles on our name tags. I tweeted like mad. There were TV’s that displayed the @dfwcon tweets and #dfwcon activity. By the end of the day people were recognizing me by my tweets! It was so surreal. I made so many new twitter pals. All the tweeting added another new dimension to the conference, like the VIP section of a club.
My awesome ladies!
L-R Me, Addely
Front L-R: Kelsey and Annie
L-R: Kelsey and Christine
For those who attended, how did you do? Make new friends? Share conference stories!