The Ultimate Creative Ink Survival Guide

So, you’ve heard everyone talking about how amazing, fun, and inspiring the Creative Ink Festival is and you’ve worked up your courage to attend in 2019 because, darn it, this is the year you finally tell the world that you love writing and want to be a writer! 

Wait. 

What’s that? You haven’t worked up your courage yet? What are you waiting for?! Let me tell you, there’s a whole gang of creative, kind, welcoming people who will be waiting for your arrival at the Delta Hotel in Burnaby, March 29-31, 2019. In fact, I came here just for you, to tell you how you can get the most out of a weekend packed with writing, reading, learning, and friend-making. 

But the festival’s not until March and that’s a long time from now, you say? Trust me, the next eight months will fly by like a pterodactyl who drank too many espressos. 

Now, without further ado, here is a list of tips, suggestions, and random musings from myself and other Creative Inkers who’ve been there, done that, and want you to be there and do that too.

  1. Buy your pass early. This isn’t a sales pitch. First, you save money if you get your pass before the online deadline. Second, once you buy your pass, the commitment to attend becomes “real” and you have made a solid promise to yourself and your writing. Yay you!
  2. Relax. You’ll figure out quickly that Creative Ink’s reputation for being friendly and welcoming is well-deserved. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written one word or one million, everyone at the festival is there to support each other and learn.
  3. Stay at the hotel (if you can). This is one I learned from attending other writing events. If you can stay at the hotel, it’s a nice treat to be able to stick around late and to have a place close by where you can rest through the day if you need to. You’ll still have a good time no matter what but staying on site just makes the weekend just a little extra fun!
  4. Bring snacks. There is a LOT of programming packed into three days and you’re going to find that you don’t want to miss any of it, even to eat. You can visit the hotel website to check out the restaurant selection, but you may not always want to take the time to sit down for a meal. We don’t want you to go hungry, so we highly recommend you bring some quick snacks (granola bars, nuts, fruit, sandwich, etc.) with you to nibble on during the day.
  5. Drink water! Your brain is going to be absorbing a ton of information and it’s important to stay hydrated. You don’t need to carry water with you though. Each room has pitchers of drinking water and glasses—no need to lug around extra weight, save that for all the books you want to buy, wink wink.
  6. Rest. With so much going on all day, it’s easy to wear yourself out. If you’re feeling tired, find a quiet corner to sit, have a snack, and give your brain a break.
  7. Try new things. Whether it’s a master class, a kaffeeklatch, or a blue/red pencil session, don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet. You won’t be the only first-timer in the room, guaranteed.
  8. Say Hi! Everyone comes to the Creative Ink Festival to learn new things and meet new people…just like you! Don’t be shy. Go ahead and introduce yourself to new folks. This is a great bunch of creatives and they would love to talk to you. Asking someone what they write or what they’re working on is a great way to break the ice.
  9. Prepare to take photos. Make sure your phone or camera battery is charged and you have lots of room for photos. Whether it’s a selfie with some of your new friends or a photo of a live sword fighting demo (yes, we have those!), you won’t want to miss the memories.
  10. Bring something to write with. I don’t really have to tell you that, do I?
  11. Bring business cards (if you have them). The festival is a terrific place to network. Exchanging business cards is a quick and easy way to share contact information. And, if you receive a business card, write a note on the back of it to remind yourself the where/when/what so when you get home later with a stack of business cards, you'll remember the specifics of each one!
  12. Bring cash. There are ATM’s in the hotel but plan to carry some cash with you for the Dealers Room (books, books, books!) and the cash bar. Some of the vendors will take debit or credit cards but not all and the festival bar is cash only.
  13. Volunteer! All writing events need volunteers and it’s a great way to get to know people and support a fantastic event at the same time. If you have a hard time meeting new people, having something to do makes that a whole lot easier.
  14. Ask questions. Most panels and presentations include time for audience members to ask questions. Don’t be shy! Panelists and presenters want to help you. If there isn’t time during the panel or presentation to get to your question, you’re welcome to approach panelists afterward—just be polite and make sure they aren’t in a hurry to get to their next event.
  15. Don’t be afraid to share. You may be thinking that no one in the world is ever going to see your writing but I promise you’ll change your mind after one weekend. Sign up for a red or blue pencil session to get kind and knowledgeable feedback on your writing. You’ll be surprised how helpful an extra set of eyes can be! The festival is also a wonderful way to find out about writing groups in your area.
  16. Prepare a pitch. If you have a book or a completed (or mostly completed) manuscript, practice a 2-3 line, short description in case people are interested in your work. Having a quick pitch prepared will make you look like a pro!

I could write pages of helpful hints but the best tip I can give is to just take that leap! Believe in yourself. Every writer has doubts and every writer questions if they’re a “real” writer (you are, trust me). It doesn’t matter if you dream of becoming a New York Times Bestseller or you simply want to finish that short story you started waaaaaaaay back when, connecting with other people who love the written word is the best way to get started. 

We’ll see you in March, until then, happy writing!