I recently posted on another blog that I attended a writer's conference last weekend. Although I write for kids, the conference was aimed at mostly an adult readership. I wanted especially to attend the conference because Jane Friedman, a senior editor for Writer's Digest, was going to speak. I'd heard her before, and she was dynamic. I learned a lot.
Unfortunately, there were problems with the airlines, and Jane was unable to attend the conference. I was a bit put-out about the whole thing, and in my glorious pride, immediately thought I should have just stayed home, that there was nothing else I could learn from other presenters.
But I didn't go home (until the end of the day), and attended other classes instead. The presenters were much more glorious than my pride, thankfully, and I ended up learning a lot. I even went to one class that I thought was going to be about poetry, but ended up being about how to connect to your right brain thinking. It was one of the least attended classes, but the one that helped me the most!
Swallow that pride, and expect to learn from everyone who presents, AND from the other writers you meet and network with. Pride and arrogance have no place in writing or publishing and can put you down the wrong path.
What should you do to get the most of out of a writer's conference? Be humble and receptive and willing to learn and listen, even from those who you think you can't learn from. Therein lies the difference between the real writer and the one who simply blows hot air.