Monday 22 October 2018

Five Tips to Getting the Most out of Conference

By Iola Goulton @iolagoulton

Last week I offered some tips for those of you who aren't able to make it to the Omega Writer's Conference, which is being held this coming weekend. We have over 80 people registered, including over 30 first-time attendees, which is fantastic.

This week I have some tips for those of you who are attending the conference, especially first-timers. We want you to enjoy the experience, learn a lot, and come back next year!

1. Believe in Yourself

Many of the people at the conference are Real Actual Published Authors. You know, with books you can buy from the bookstall*. It can be intimidating. That voice inside you might say you're not meant to be at the conference with all these real actual published authors because you're not a published author. The voice will tell you you're not a proper writer (it took me three conferences and hundreds of blog posts to admit I was a writer).

Don't listen to that voice.

That voice is lying to you.

You need to believe in yourself and believe in God, who has put you here and made it possible for you to attend conference.

True story: I wasn't going to attend conference this year. My son turns 16 on Thursday, and I wanted to be home for his birthday. I checked the flights to Adelaide, and I was going to have to leave on Thursday afternoon in order to get to Adelaide in time for the conference bus. I didn't want to do that.

Then Raewyn asked if I'd speak. I said no, and told her about the flights. She said she'd pray something would change that would make it possible for me to attend.

I checked the flights again ... and found Air New Zealand had added new flights to their schedule which mean I can leave home on Friday morning and arrive in Adelaide in time. I can only conclude God wants me at conference this year.

Yes, this is a Christian conference. Most attendees will be Christians. Including you. If you're a Christian and you've signed up to attend a Christian writing conference and you have the time and the money to attend, then I'm going to take a leap of faith and say you asked God about whether you should sign up for conference.

You did sign up and the world hasn't yet ended. I'm going to take that as a sign God wants you there. You should as well.

And if God wants you there, you need to ignore whatever that other voice is telling you and focus on God's voice. He wants you there. Why? Who does He mean for you to connect with? Who does He intend for you to encourage? What does He intend for you to learn ... and apply?

*Yes, there is a bookstall. Bring money :)

Now let's move onto some of the more mundane things ...

2. Pack Right

If you're wondering about what to pack, then I'd suggest reviewing the post I wrote last year: Omega Writer's Conference Packing Tips. The only thing I'd add is that I'm not sure what the weather will be like in Adelaide, so it might be a good idea to plan to dress in thin layers so you can regulate your temperature.

3. Meet Your Host Group

We will again be having host groups, with an introductory session on Friday, and host group sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The purpose of the host groups is to enable you to connect with other writers in your genre for fun, fellowship, and support. I'll be leading a host group, and my list seems like a mix of first-time and previous attendees.

Do attend your host group meetings. It's a great opportunity to meet and connect with others in a smaller group.

4. Embrace Your Introvert

You might be an introvert. Many writers are. I am ... although you might not believe that when you meet me. I can't speak for everyone, but this weekend is my one chance each year to meet face-to-face with people I normally only see in a Facebook thumbnail. I spend the weekend laughing and talking and extroverting, then come home and hide in my cave until Christmas (when family commitments require I extrovert again).

Don't let the faux extroversion put you off. Many writers are introverts. We have more than our introversion in common—we're all writers, we're all Christians, and (I hope) we're all readers. So if you're stuck for something to talk about, talk books.

(And if you want to talk to me, please do. Interrupt me if necessary. I don't bite.)

And if you are an extrovert? Great. Get out there and talk books with the introverts.

5. Ask Questions

If you have any questions, ask. Ask the presenter. Ask your host group leader. Ask one of the people in the attractive Omega t-shirts. We're here to help!

Or leave a comment below and I'll find the answer!

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, works as a freelance editor, and has recently introduced an Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter


  1. I was at a book event in June and told a few authors who I shared a table with during a reader/author event that I'm an introvert, and I saw one of them give another a strange look as if she didn't believe. I had to insist that I am. lol And I am. Blogging is easy for me. And I can fact it on social media, but I really have to push myself to not appear as introverted as I am at events. I found that I have to do that to be seen and hear, such as I was struggling to do at that moment at that table.

    1. I'm with you! Blogging is easy. It's writing, not talking to complete strangers.

      One of the advantages of attending the same conference year after year is that complete strangers often become friends :)

  2. Been wanting to come to conference for several years. I'm finally going to make it this year. Looking forward to it. See you in a few days.

    1. I'm looking forward to finally meeting you!

  3. What great tips. It can be very nerve-wracking, even when we've been to others, which goes along with the introvert territory. I'm very much looking forward to attending this one.

    1. It will be great to see you again, Paula. It's been a while!

  4. Hi. I attended the Omega conference and it was a great time of learning and sharing. As I use a wheelchair it was great to have so many people asking if I need help and I thank everyone. I am a writer. I can say that now. God will help guide me as I write


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