Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10 Things I Learned at the Surrey International Writers Conference

First,  5 Serious Things

5. There's a difference between taking a workshop you need and taking one you don't need, but you admire the presenter. I'm not saying the latter is a bad thing, just a different thing.

4. Take notes. You will get so overwhelmed with information that your brain stops processing.

3. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet other writers and to actually talk out loud to real people.

2. Take every bit of advice with a grain of salt. Remember, what works for one person, doesn't necessarily work for another.

1. Enjoy. Open yourself up to new ideas and new processes.

Now (because this is me writing and what else did you expect?) 5 Funny Things:

5. Know where the bathrooms are. Actually know where all the bathrooms are. They get crowded.

4. Diana Gaboldon is absolutely beautiful with a wonderful sense of fashion. And she's really tiny. And friendly!

3. Being a bestselling author seems to be like an exclusive club where they all know each other.

2. There are more genres and subgenres, Horatio, that are dreamt of in your philosophy. I swear, by the end of the conference if someone had told me they wrote "Urban Paranormal Historical Creative Non-Fiction Fantasy" I'd have nodded my head and said "How interesting."

1. I can now say "I know Margaret George."


  1. Elspeth - I am so glad you're back! Just realised you posted yesterday and I didn't comment. Bad Margot! Bad, bad Margot!

    At any rate, you've shared some important lessons. I'm glad you got so much out of the conference, too. And I couldn't agree with you more about knowing where the restrooms are. That goes right along with an important lesson I have learned from conferences. Locate all sources of coffee. It is a crucial ingredient.

  2. I totally agree with all of these - serious and funny - except for #1 and #4 on the funny side. I'm sure I'd side with you on those, too, but I've never met either of those authors.

  3. Margot; It's nice to be back - and don't worry about not commenting! Gracious, I don't know how you make the time to comment on the number of blogs you visit. I think I'm going to be a lurker on most for the next little while. I agree with you (of course) about the coffee - but since at this conference we were sitting at chairs with no tables, balancing a notebook on one's knee while holding a coffee in the other and trying to write would have proven somewhat problematic.

    Carol; Do you know what they've written? Diana Gaboldon wrote the Outlander series which has sold 10 gazillion copies. Margaret George writes historical autobiographies. I bought her first book, The Autobiography of Henry VIII back when it first came out and have a copy of everything she's written since.

  4. I was sooo excited to meet Margaret George too! It was a great conference I'm already counting down to next year.

  5. Good things to know! I need to keep your restroom tip in mind...that always seems to happen and I always forget to look for others ahead of time!

    Sounds like such a fantastic trip for you!

  6. Elizabeth; And it was only 1/2 hour's drive away!

  7. I'll echo the 'find the restrooms'. And find the out of the way ones...everyone will be at the ones nearest the conference rooms, but there are almost always more--they might be smaller, or you might have to go upstairs, or down the hall, but it's worth the extra trip. And it's really nice when the hotels turn a mens room into a ladies when the conferences are made up of mostly female attendees.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery


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