So many writers are introverts. You’d think that a roomful of writers at conferences would devolve into mass silence, a staring contest several hundred people strong. But that’s not what happens. I spent this past weekend at the Muse and the Marketplace conference, and at breakfast tables, cocktail hours, and in the hallways between sessions, there was a positively overwhelming sound of chattering voices.
Many of us (myself included) are everyday introverts who manage to become extroverts just at writing conferences. And that’s a good thing. Conferences are a great way to learn things and meet other writers, and if you leave without speaking to anyone, you’ve definitely missed out. So if you’re an introvert who wants to attend writing conferences but fears you won’t be able to break through your shyness, you probably will. Here’s how:
- Opening lines. When I’m in a roomful of people I don’t know, I find it very hard to approach people. I’m afraid that I’ll be intruding, even if the person isn’t talking to anyone, just standing alone with his or her thoughts. But the beautiful thing about a conference is that you always have something to talk about. Chances are very, very good that the stranger sitting next to you at that breakfast table is a writer. If it’s mid-morning, they’ve been to at least one panel. You have something to ask them about, and they’ll probably have an answer. What panel are you headed to next? What do you write? Are you local, or did you travel to get here? Are you going to that open mic thing later? The questions are logical and easy, and they can be the jumping-off point to a whole great conversation.
- Nametags. [Read more…]