Continuing the celebration of National Volunteer Week, I found this terrific post from Cathy C. Hall, a children’s book author and contributor to the WOW! Women On Writing Blog, The Muffin. In providing tips for attending writer’s conferences, Cathy’s number one was volunteering. This is definitely something writers should seriously consider.

Hall writes, “Volunteer because you will meet lots of people, and for a newbie at a conference, that’s the best and easiest way to make new connections.

“If you’re working with food service, you can bond with the crew as you figure out where the cups and/or napkins are hidden. Maybe you’ll end up timing critiques; you can comfort the people waiting to get their critiques and commiserate with the ones who’ve just received their critiques. If you volunteer to drive a faculty member to the airport, you’ll make a great impression with your helpfulness. Plus, you can get all kinds of insider information from agents or editors as long as you don’t drive off the road while chatting. (You will be remembered if you drive off the road, but maybe not in the way you’d imagined.) And if you’re helping with registration, you’ll get to meet every person that attends the conference, and I’ll bet you’ll meet someone who coincidentally lives right down the road from you and become life-long writing partners!

Or maybe not.  But volunteering gets you inside the conference instead of sitting on the sidelines of the conference. If there’s a box to check off with “Volunteer” on it, sign up! I promise you’ll be glad you accepted the opportunity.”

This is great advice, especially on networking and making connections. Read Cathy’s other tips for attending writing conferences and making the most of them! Visit her web site, Writing and Fishing, Not Necessarily In That Order for some of Cathy’s advice and humorous musings.

Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions!

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