author, book reviews, creative writing, writers, writing

Writing Events – Online vs In Person – Which is Better?

Over the past year, almost everything has moved online. School, job interviews, concerts, even doctor’s appointments. It’s certainly been inspiring to see the way people and companies have adapted to these times, and there’s been so much creativity involved.

As someone who used to try and attend writing events regularly, I was eager to sign up for the online alternatives. Last summer, I enjoyed the very first virtual Summer of Writing by Jericho Writers, in exchange for the Festival of Writing they usually host for a weekend in September. It was great in so many ways. And yet I miss the face to face events too. I’m going to lay out some of the differences, and I’d love to know which you prefer and what your thoughts are.

Connecting with agents/publishers/editors
One of the main reasons to attend a writing event is to connect with industry professionals. At face to face events, this means you can ask questions, listen to advice, and even introduce yourself if the opportunity presents. Online events make the personal aspect a little harder, and yet they still offer chances to ask questions and sometimes give pitches. For a lot of people, especially introverted writers, it can actually be easier to connect online, as you may not feel as shy as you would in person.

Meeting other writers
Connecting with writers is such a satisfying result of events. You get to chat with likeminded people, hear their amazing ideas and experiences, and make great friends. This is certainly harder at online events. In person you sit together, have lunch and breaks together. But online you’re often communicating entirely through a comment section. That’s not to say you can meet writers this way; share your website and social links and see who connects. You may find with online events, there are a more diverse array of people from all over the world!

Taking notes
Undoubtedly easier online. You don’t have as much surrounding noise, and you have your own space to spread out with notebooks. If it’s being recorded you can watch it through once, and then go back and take notes another time. You can pause it if it’s moving too fast, and if there are slides they may even be available to download afterwards. Saying that, you might prefer the way you write down the things that truly stand out to you in person, and when you look back through your notes it’ll remind you of what really inspired and spoke to you at the time.

Travel and time
This one depends on your personal preferences. With online events, you can enjoy them from the comfort of home. This means no need to travel or take as much time out of your day. Personally, I really love to write while I travel, as well as booking a hotel and using the alone time to write without distractions. However, this does take up time and money, and I was able to attend more events as a result of them being online.

I’d love to know what you think so please take the poll above, and drop your thoughts in the comments below!

Until then,
Keep writing,

Come chat on Intagram or Twitter

13 thoughts on “Writing Events – Online vs In Person – Which is Better?”

  1. Michelle, as technology rapidly improved over the years and hastens the rate of change , there has been this yin and yang between high touch and high tech. How do we use both effectively? The pandemic has thrown a huge monkey wrench in the equation. So, the pendulum has swung necessarily to the high tech side. So, it is incumbent on the user to introduce the personal touch to those interactions whenever possible.

    A very good salesman told me once, “you can never have enough cups of coffee with people.” With the pandemic, many of those will need to be virtual, but could have the same focus. To catch up, understand mutual needs, but do so in a personable manner. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always try to turn events into a trip. If I’m running a race, I pick one in a city I’d like to visit. I even view business trips as an opportunity to see someplace new. Since I’m in the middle of an MFA, I haven’t had the time or money to take any writers’ workshops., but I’ve always dreamed of doing one in the south of France, so one day . . . God willing, that is where I’ll be doing my first writers’ workshop. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny you write about this topic. I am in the middle of trying to figure out how to do a book launch party during the plague times. Best I came up with is a live Facebook stream event. Never actually did one before. Like you say, it’s fun to meet new people at in-person events, especially other writers. It’ll be nice once we can all get together again. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just renewed my membership to the Indiana Writer’s center after some thought. Like many writers I am introverted and often find public events and people draining. I was spoiled by the IWC however. It is ten minutes from my house and the classes usually small. I feel like I don’t get much out of online classes even if the introvert in me sees the appeal. So, I hopefully the IWC re-opens in a couples months and my decision will pay for itself. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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