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The Shy Writer’s Cocktail Party Survival Guide

Shy-Girl-300x400 [1]Confession: For me, the scariest part of a writer’s conference is the cocktail party. There’s no structure. No speaker. No handouts. Instead, hundreds of people who are used to spending long hours at a keyboard in coffee-stained jammies are let loose into a hotel ball room and left to fend for themselves. There are a few, you can spot them right away, who relish these things. But for many of us, it’s a struggle. Here are some practical tips for tackling those introverted road blocks.

Step 1: Prepare in Advance

 Step 2: Practice Your Small Talk

As Mr. Darcy laments: “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess, of conversing easily with those I have never seen before.” To which Elizabeth Bennet replies, that it is because you have never taken the trouble of practicing.

 Step 3: Arrive Early

Step 4: Take Your Name Tag Seriously

 Step 5: Establish a SafeHarbor

 Step 6: Ask Questions/ Listen Attentively

Step 7: Business Cards

Step 8: Next Day Follow Up

Finally… A Caveat: Avoid walking around the party with a copy of this post, marking off each step as it is accomplished. There’s shy, then there’s just plain awkward. Have fun at your next writers conference!

Credits: Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice, chapter 31; Diane Darling, The Networking Survival Guide: Practical Advice to Help You Gain Confidence, Approach People, and Get the Success You Want (McGraw-Hill 2nd ed. 2010); Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (Simon & Schuster reissue ed. 2009); Jane Jackson, The Shy Person’s Guide to Conference Networking (2013), http://www.rubyconnection.com.au/articles/2013/april/the-shy-persons-guide-to-conference-networking.aspx [2]; A Shy Person’s Guide to Networking (2013), http://www.interlinkdirectory.com/article/shy-persons-guide-networking/ [3]

Photo Credit: tainara [4]





About Anne Greenwood Brown [5]

Anne Greenwood Brown (@AnneGBrown [6]) writes Young Adult ("YA") fiction. She is represented by Jacqueline Flynn of Joelle Delbourgo Associates. She is the author of the LIES BENEATH trilogy (Random House/Delacorte Press), GIRL LAST SEEN (co-author/ Albert Whitman & Co.), and COLD HARD TRUTH (Albert Whitman, April 2018). Anne was a proud contributor to Writer Unboxed's AUTHOR IN PROGRESS as well as a presenter at the 2016 UnConference. She also writes adult romance under the pen name "A. S. Green."