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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Packing Your Bags: Writer's Conference

Packing is always a daunting task, at least for me. Which shirt should I bring? Will I need my blow dryer? Should I bring my own shampoo?

Of course I always forget something. Grr! Which makes it doubly important when packing for something, like, say, a writer's conference, to have in mind everything you'll need.

Did you sign up for any specific classes? If so, is there anything special you need for those? For example, do you need six copies of the first ten pages of your manuscript? Double-spaced? Do you need your laptop? A hard copy of your query letter? Make sure you've got everything you need for you classes.

Are there any special events? Like, a formal dinner? Don't forget your nice clothing. And your perfume, your gum, your shoes, whatever floats your boat!

Did you pack your business cards? Don't forget them! You ordered them for a reason! Make sure you have them on hand when you meet people. They're like the grown up version of friendship bracelets!

Did you bring writing samples? This goes along with always being prepared. You don't know who you might meet. Of course you can always get an email address and send a sample later, but if you've got it on hand, it's better, right?

Do you have a pitch session? If you do, you need more than just a writing sample and a business card. Bring along an updated resume, also.

Did you remember your Sunday bag--I mean, big bag? If you're flying, chances are this is your carry on, so you've got it. This is bigger than a purse (for most of us, anyway). It's got everything. Your laptop, your cards, your writing samples--and your purse. This is also where you'll put everything you pick up--brochures, cards, books!

Do you have cash? You're going to meet authors selling books. Some might take check, most won't take credit card. If you plan on buying, don't forget to bring your cash!

Do you have a notebook? You're going to take notes, of course. Whether it's your laptop or something like that, make sure you've got a way to take notes on what everyone says!

Are you going to get hungry in between meals? AKA, are you pregnant? Then make sure you bring some goodies to munch on! Nothing worse than being unable to focus on the speaker because you're so hungry!

Is your pitch ready? This isn't something you pack, of course, but practice! For your camera, your spouse, your dog. Make it smooth.

Do you have specific questions? Think about when you're going to ask them. Write them down if you're afraid you'll forget at the last moment.

Are you prone to headaches? Don't forget the tylenol!

Are you bringing your cell phone? Then don't forget the charger! You'd hate to have a huge list of phone calls to make and then have to use the hotel phone!

Am I forgetting anything important??? I'm so stoked! This is going to be awesome. Flight leaves tomorrow, folks, so you probably won't see me for a few days! Unless you see me in person at the conference! :)


(ideas gathered from: resources for writers, the adventurous writer, and myself.)

17 comments:

Jordan said...

While it's always a good idea to be prepared, I think the big caveat is not to be offended if an agent or editor doesn't want a writing sample or would prefer a soft copy. If they accepted sample pages from every writer in every pitch session (not to mention people they meet at meals and social events), they wouldn't be able to get their clothes home!

David J. West said...

I have you covered in case you get hungry beyond the alloted lunch/dinner Tamara-my wife is opening a deli right around the corner from the conference.

Icy @ IndividualChic IsaByrne said...

Have some serious fun ^_^. I'm going to the Sydney Writer's festival mid May, though as it's my home town and two blocks from where I work, I don't have the same issues ^_^.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Hee! You sound totally ready. I'm so jealous. :) Have a great time and make sure you share all the details when you get back.

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like you are so well prepared! Have a great time and enjoy every single moment :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Good points, Jordan! I've heard of some over-anxious conference goers before just bombarding agents/editors!

Really, David?? That's fantastic! I'll be sure to check that out!

True, Icy. I'm going to a local conference in October, and it'll be really different.

Oh, you bet, Sarahjayne! I'll probably have a month's worth of blogs!

Thanks, Jemi!

M. Gray said...

Okay, girl, now you're making me paranoid! Because both you and I know I don't freak out about ANYTHING.

Jen said...

Wow good luck with packing, I've never gone to a conference before but at least I know I wouldn't be the only freaking out on what to bring and what not to bring!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Mary, you absolutely crack me up!

jen, this list is to help me remember everything!

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Great post! I'm going to go through it before I go! LOL Just to make sure I haven't forgotten anything!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

whoo hoo Melissa! See you soon!

Elisa said...

have fun!

Talli Roland said...

Thanks for the check list! Have a great time. Can't wait to hear all about it when you're back.

Christy said...

Wow-I thought I had everything and then you had such good suggestions! Thanks! Can't wait for the conference!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Hi Christy! Are you going too?

Stephanie Faris said...

How EXCITING!!! I love writer's conferences. Nothing motivates you more. Hope you have a great time. I need to get out of RWA and get with a more suitable organization so I can start attending again...I think I'm finally ready to make the decision that romance writing isn't for me.

Annie McMahon said...

Haha! Business cards are like the grown up version of friendship bracelets. :D Good one.

Hope you're having fun at the conference. Take a lot of notes and pictures for us unfortunate ones who can't attend.

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