A wise man once told me that if you learn one thing, the day is not wasted. Another wise man said that if you come away with one new idea, the class was worthwhile. My grandfather and my father were right.
I had a choice to make at SIWC. I could go to classes where the topic or speaker interested me or I could go to classes that could teach me something I needed to learn. In the case where those options coincided, I didn’t have a problem. When there was a conflict, I leaned toward to the learning component.
Here are the workshops I attended:
Sleight of Hand (how to plant clues for a mystery or plot reveal)
Blogging, Social Media and Self-promotion
Notice any themes? Last year, if a workshop had “point of view” in the title, I was there. This year, I needed to work on characterization (I’m writing longer stories and need more complexity) and marketing. I learned at least one useful tip out of every class but some were more helpful than others.
In the past, I’ve attended romance writing conventions and got a lot out of them. SIWC was different because it covered all genres. The crossover was helpful because while romance has some specific elements, writing techniques are universal.
If you want to become a better writer, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Ask me how many presenters I saw attending other people’s workshops. Ask me how many authors who were sitting behind a table providing Blue Pencil editing advice were also on the other side of the table getting tips from somebody else. It never stops. As Mark Twain said, “To stand still is to fall behind.”
So keep learning and write on.