I returned Sunday from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Dallas, Texas. A most memorable event. Imagine rubbing elbows with some of your favorite authors (like Francine Rivers and Becky Wade), picking the brains of editors and agents, attending workshops to hone your craft, and meeting up with people you’ve only known on Facebook until now. Incredible.
I attended classes and workshops. I had appointments with editors and agents. The schedule was full from start to finish. I came home feeling as though I could sleep for three days. But….
Networking: Don’t tear a hole in your net.
The conference has given me an opportunity to extend my sphere of contacts. Writing conferences are as much about networking as they are about honing your craft. My first task for the week is to email a thank you to each professional whose class I attended and each person with whom I had an appointment.
And those business cards I collected? Now is the time to connect with my fellow writers…while we still remember who is who. I’ll go to their author Facebook page and “like” them and I’m sure they’ll do the same for me. I’ll create a spreadsheet with their email address and other contact information. We’re in this together. We’ve shared experiences. Now we can support one another.
Networking: You can’t catch anything if you use a net with a hole in it.
Mind the Gap: Reflecting on holes in your business plan.
The conference has broadened my perspectives about writing. Though I recently updated my business plan, I will revisit it this week to include some of what I learned. For example, my current plan includes a section on using social media, but I learned a few tips on leveraging what I already do to use social media to be, well, more social… as well as expand my “brand.”
You heard it here. The most powerful strategy I can use to further my writing career is to write. Write more. Write often. Write another book. The conference offered me strategies and tools to use as a writer, it is up to me to come home and use what I’ve learned.
If you want to do it “write,” stop talking about it and do it.
The next couple of weeks I want to share some of what I learned at the conference. Get ready to take notes. Until then, answer this question:
What do you do after the conference?…and don’t tell me you get a massage! I’ll be green with envy…