"And going WITH writing friends is a great way to get more than your money's worth from the conference."
This line from your Wed. July 16th blog post has been gnawing at me ever since.
There's this writing conference I'd like to go to in September and a few others from the online writing group I'm part of are also considering it.
We're all in agreement that it's meant to be a good conference and it would be great fun to finally meet some of the online crew face to face.
But, that there might be a further benefit of turning up in a group, en masse, hadn't remotely occurred to any of us.
Anyway, even though I've been thinking it over, probably too much, I'm still wondering what exactly you meant...
Going to conferences with friends means you have someone to eat lunch with just for starters. There's a lot to be said for that since we all know what it's like to be in a room full of people and know NO ONE at all.
There are other benefits as well. You can divide and conquer the workshops more easily. Each person in the the group attends a workshop, and you trade notes and tips and insights.
Everyone compares notes on the agents you meet. Was Agent Amazing really all that amazing? Was Agent Bilious really as sickening as she sounded?
If you have a bad experience and others do too, you know it's not you. That's HUGELY valuable at a writing conference because talking about writing is very subjective.
Even if you go with pals, I strongly encourage you to reach out to new people while you are there. Boldly introduce yourself to the writer sitting next to you at a workshop. S/he'll be just as shy as you are, and glad to meet you. Need a starting point for the conversation? Ask about her book!
One of the great things about being an agent at a conference is you can walk up to total strangers who are clearly alone and shy, introduce yourself and be fairly confident they want to talk to you. I've met some very nice people doing that. You will too.