Conferences, Conventions, and What They Can Do for You
By Daniel Yocom
The 2023 edition of the Life, the Universe and Everything Writers Symposium (LTUE) has ended. If you were in attendance, you had the opportunity of seeing some great panels and presentations from creators. LTUE and the other events going on all over the state of Utah, and beyond, are great opportunities for learning more about our craft and industry, teaching what we know, meeting new friends, and helping as a volunteer.
It is true that LTUE is similar to other writing events. However, no two events are the same, and that even applies to the same event from one year to the next. Every event is going to have different panels and presentations. The events are organized by what they can offer and what has been expressed by past attendees on what is desired. Each of us also brings our unique viewpoint to the events we attend.
Every time I have gone to an event, I learn something new. Of course, I look for those panels and presentations I want to see, but there are times when I will sit in the audience on something I feel good about and still hear something I can apply to my writing craft. I’ve always found panels and presenters I can learn from to take me to a new level my skill or how to advance my career, as a writer.
Along with learning how to be a better writer there are always courses on querying, finding an agent, submission help and broader information about the writing industry for both traditional and self-published arenas. The business side of being a writer is as important to know as the writing side for anyone who desires to have their short story, book, essay, or article published.
If you want to learn more, I recommend becoming a presenter or panelist.
If you want to learn something at the next level, one of the best ways is to teach it to others. Being on a panel or giving a presentation gives you the motivation to learn the topic at a deeper level. Along with the deeper knowledge of the subject we also learn how to share that information in different ways so we can be effective with the different learning styles of other people. For those who have never been a panelist before conferences and conventions are always looking for people who are willing to be a part.
The more you present the easier it becomes, and it helps in other ways. This past LTUE the League of Utah Writers (LUW) very own Talysa Sainz was honored as a special guest. I bring this up to give her our recognition along as an example of what it can mean for each of us. Simply put, there were a couple of thousand people in attendance at LTUE. How would you like your name to be known by a couple of thousand new readers?
Attending conferences is a wonderful way of meeting new people. Jared Quan did a presentation about networking. He has done this presentation at LUW events. At LTUE he also had a book launch for his latest work on how to network. With all of the people at a conference we have the chance of practicing and putting those skills to work for us.
The first time out there you might have a harder time talking with someone you just met. As time goes on it gets easier, especially if you have seen each other at conferences before.
Networking allows you to help others and yourself in your writing career. Conferences allow you the chance to talk with readers, writers, editors, publishers, and other new friends. I say friends because those first time acquaintances that you share contact information with can create friendships that will last the rest of your career and life. Those types of relationships are what makes it easier to navigate the ins and outs of any profession.
There is a way to practice talking with people.
Every conference, not just writing conferences, work with the efforts of volunteers. The biggest benefit of volunteering is most conferences allow the volunteers time to attend presentations at a reduced or no cost. Being a panelist/presenter is one way of volunteering along with other specific and non-specific roles. There were people who could answer attendee questions and others who were helping presenters and panelists. Within the LUW there is an additional benefit you can earn.
Members who help by volunteering to be at the LUW table at the many events not hosted by the LUW earn credits for the League’s conferences, Pre-Quills and Quills.
I hope you recognize the importance of the conferences and conventions you have the opportunity of attending. I know it was through attending earlier conferences I found work writing, the LUW, places my work has been published, and more—much more.
You have the same opportunities to achieve your goals.
Along with the LUW chapter meetings and conferences there are others scheduled for throughout the year all over the state and surrounding areas. Take advantage of what they have to offer. Learning one new aspect of your chosen career that moves it forward to a new level is worth the investment of going to them. (They are also fun times to spend with friends.)
I’ll look forward to seeing you at the conferences, conventions, and symposiums. Many LUW members have pins and ribbons identifying them. If you ever feel out of place, reach out to each other and make new friends.
About the Author
Daniel Yocom writes about geeky things because people say to write what you know. Their love of the geeky, nerdy community dates to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. They’re an award-winning writer and editor of short stories, books, and hundreds of articles published by blogs, magazines, and gaming companies.
They enjoy attending conferences, conventions, festivals, sharing on panels, and presentations. Current serving as the president of the Infinite Monkeys Genre Writers, they want to help others become the writer/author they desire to be.