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Simplify to Boost Your Learning for Your Next Online Conference

Boost Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Boost Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

“Simplify to Boost Your Learning for Your Next Online Conference” by Joan Y. Edwards

Here are ways to simplify things to boost your learning for your next online conference. I wrote this with writers and illustrators in mind. However, you can adapt these ideas to benefit you no matter what your profession is. It’s in 3 parts: before the conference, during the conference, and after the conference. At the end I’ve listed three online workshops for writers and a few for teachers.I’ll be presenting at the Muse Online Writers Conference in October. Details on registration and the titles and descriptions of the workshops I will teach in the Resources area at the bottom.

I hope that by attending an online conference, you’ll learn a new skill or marketing technique that inspires you to reach new levels in your career. I hope a few of my ideas simplify things so you learn more at your next online conference. I hope you’ll join me at the Muse Online Writers Conference.

Before the Conference

1. Register for the conference. (A few are listed in the resources area at the bottom.)

2. Fix a profile page and information to use when sending emails and in response to emails sent through the conference site with your email, website, blog, buy book link, etc. If you haven’t set up a signature for your personal email, do this now. Microsoft Outlook let’s you make different signatures with images or without images.

3. What skill do you most want to improve? Attend the workshop(s) that will help you improve that skill. The online conferences I’ve attended have many more workshops than you can possibly absorb during the allotted time period. Choose one to three workshops. The first time I participated in an online conference, I overdid it. I signed up for about 15 workshops. That was way too many to focus on. I was neither a master of one nor did I learn much from one workshop.

4. Visit the webpages of at least three of the presenters that interest you. Study the information about them. Check out their books at your local library or on an online book store.

5. If you have specific questions for presenters, write them down on 3×5 cards and ask them during the workshops. You can usually write presenters during the conference with the conference email. If it’s after the conference, check their website for contact information. Put the name of the conference in the subject.

6. Before the conference, check the website for handouts for the workshops. Usually they are in PDF format. You can download the ones from the workshop you’ve chosen. I suggest downloading as many as you’re interested in. The handouts are only listed for a month or so. You can read and save or discard later. The handouts are only listed for a month or so.

7. Giveaways – If you’re a presenter for an online conference, you can give gifts (free pdf files, image logos, cover images of your book) Sometimes a writer gives critique discounts for participants.

8. Buy a new spiral notebook with a bright colorful design or a composition book with a black and white cover. This way all of your notes are in one place. Or you can set up a file and type your notes from the class, handouts, or comments on the computer.

9. Buy two pens that are dependable and write just the way you like a pen to write. Put them by your computer along with sticky notes. Make note of brainstorms you receive during the workshop on the sticky notes.

10. Write a pitch for three of your manuscripts. Print out your pitches on 3×5 cards, 4×6 inch cards, or plain 8.5 x 11 printing paper. Put them by your computer. Practice giving your pitch in front of a mirror. Use eye contact. Memorize it.

11. If they have publishers or agents who are scheduling online chat pitches, sign up for one with the publisher or agent you believe would work well for your manuscript.

12. Wear comfortable clothing. You can even do the online conferences in your pajamas. Wear your favorite colors to keep your spirits high. It’s important for you to be comfortable and empowered.

13. Check your laptop, iPad, or iPhone that you plan to use during the conference. Charge its battery each day of the conference.

14. Get plenty of sleep. Be prepared to get hyped up. You may get into a writing spree.

At the Conference

1. List things for which you are thankful each morning of the conference.

2. Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Drink plenty of water. This will keep you alert and focused.

3. Enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can, but don’t overdo it. Choose one to three and focus on learning as much as you can from these.

4. Take notes using your new spiral notebook or composition book or take notes on your laptop or other device.

5. Many times people in the forum leave comments for the instructor and the participants. Feel free to comment or send a private email to them to ask a question related to their comment. Here are questions to get you started:

“What are you writing?”
“Are you in writing group? Is it online or face-to-face?”
“How do you find time to write (illustrate)?”
“Do you (draw) write best in the morning or at night?”

6.  If you have a scheduled pitch with an agent or publisher during the conference, follow the guidelines. Pitch sessions are usually held in a private chat room. You may only have 10 minutes to hook the publisher or agent. If the directions say share a 50-word pitch, do that. Don’t squeeze in a 200 word pitch into a five or ten minute pitch session. Your time might run out before you’ve finished. Be ready to tell how you plan to help market your book and why you’re the best person to write this story. In a chat room, usually you can put four lines of text at one time.  You can practice in the chat rooms ahead of time or use http://www.Chatsy.com. You can set up your own room there and practice with a friend or alone.

7.  Take a short walk for exercise after completing a lesson. Walk inside or outside – 5 minutes away from the computer and 5 minutes to walk back to the computer is invigorating.

8. Many times workshops have chat sessions at the end – during the weekend. It’s usually a highlight review of the workshop. It’s a good time to ask a presenter to clarify a few points. Sometimes they offer a copy of the chat sessions. You can also copy and paste a chat session yourself.

9. Thank the presenters and the organizers for what you liked about the conference. Make suggestions for improvements.

10. If you a book inspires you at the workshop, buy it or order it from your public library.

After the Conference

1. Sleep, if you’re tired. Accept yourself and others as you are. Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful for where you are. Put the fun back into your writing.

2. After you’ve rested, read and organize your notes from the workshops in which you participated. Edit your notes and add information from your handouts.   Write at least three major things you learned from each workshop. You can write down more details if you want.

3. After this information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three writing goals using the skills and information you learned.


Here are three online conferences for writers

  1. Write On Con. August 13-14, 2013: It is a FREE Online Children’s Writers Conference
  2. International Freelancers Day Online Conference. It was held in late September last year. To be Announced. You can sign-up for email notification.  They do video presentations. No fee for registering. If you miss presentations and want to see the videos you can pay a fee (It was $49.00 last year).
  3. Muse Online Writers Conference October 7-13, 2013:For writers of all genres. Pitch Sessions with Publishers and Agents. Oodles of workshops. Last year there were over 50 to choose from. I’ll present 3 workshops this year. Each has a chat session to accompany it. Each one is in the forum 6 days of the conference and has one chat session. Registration details are below the descriptions of the workshops. Please let me know if you registered so I can look forward to seeing you there.
  • 33 Ways to Correct, Trim and Enhance Your Manuscript with Joan Y. Edwards

This workshop explains the 7 items below plus 26 other ideas to make your manuscript shine.

  1. Replace telling words with vivid words that show emotions and the action responses.
  2. Cut words that do not carry the plot, character, and/or emotional theme forward.
  3. Make certain that every word in your backstory is crucial information.
  4. Delete or replace over-used words.
  5. Get rid of passive voice.
  6. Cut the adverbs.
  7. Use the word “said” in dialogue tags.
  •  Be a Pub Subber – Submit Your Manuscript with Joan Y. Edwards

Step-by-Step plan to submit your manuscript(s) on a regular basis.

Week 1 Find 3 possible publishers, agents, or contests for your manuscript.

Week 2 Write pitch, query letter, cover letter, proposal, resume, and or biography

Week 3 Revise, print, proof and submit per guidelines

Week 4 Live, study, read, write, celebrate, improve your writing “mojo”

  • How to Write a Pitch That Sells with Joan Y. Edwards

Share your present pitch. What is a pitch? How many words should a pitch be? Why does a writer need a pitch for his book? Study pitches of the pros. Write a pitch for a favorite book. There are exercises to get you going. Create an effective pitch for your story that no editor, agent, or reader will be able to turn down.

I’d love to have you join me and the other presenters and participants at the

Muse Online Writers Conference, October 7-13: Registration details follow:

  1. First, you register for the forum: Register as a member of MUSE Conferences. Make note of the user name and password you choose.
  2. Now log in on this same page. Answer the poll with Register me for the 2013 Muse Online Writers Conference:   Then you’ll be registered for the 2013 Conference. If you have any trouble, email me at the email address in the left hand column and I’ll help you or forward your letter to someone who can help.

Online Conferences for Teachers

1. Teachers of K-12 Online Conference http://k12onlineconference.org/

  • Week 1 Presentations (strand 1 and strand 2): Oct. 21-25, 2013
  • Week 2 Presentations (strand 3 and strand 4): Oct. 28-Nov. 1, 2013

2. Connecting & Using the Internet for Instruction & Learning(Teaching Online Conference) http://connecting-online.ning.com/

  • Feb. 7-9, 2014

3. How to Use Moodle for Teaching Courses Online http://www.wiziq.com/course/6983-moodlemoot-2013-mmvc13

  • August 23-25, 2013

Thanks for reading my blog and sharing your comments with me.

To receive a free Never Give Up image logo, sign up for an email subscription from the left hand column.

If you’re attending a writer/illustrator conference in person, see my blog post: Keys for Success: Prepare for a Conference.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards


6 Responses

  1. Thank you for this helpful information, Joan!


    • Dear Mary,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you found it helpful. Have fun at your next online conference.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  2. Joan,
    I definitely plan to come back to this post prior to signing up for Muse or any other one. Thanks for so many helpful tips and registration details. Sometimes registering needs to be simplified, like your blog title says.


    • Dear Linda,
      Thank you for writing. I am glad you plan to come back to this post before signing up for Muse or other online conferences. You are welcome for the post. I hope it helps makes things simpler for you. I agree that some registrations seem more complicated than we would like.

      Celebrate you and your clear thinking
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  3. As usual, another outstanding and informative post. Thanks, Joan!


    • Dear Juliana,
      Thank you for writing and for the compliment. Ian glad you believe my blog is outstanding and informative. What a nice compliment. Thank you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


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