Rules for the Anxious at Writing Conferences

As many of us get ready for the New England Romance Writers Conference, I thought I would share a few pearls of wisdom that I’ve picked up at writing conferences up and down the east coast.  I’ve always found writing conferences both invigorating and relaxing. Until the first year I decided to pitch my novel. But that’s okay.  Because now I have rules.

1. Bring at least one back-up outfit. Because while the chances of your favorite outfit being attacked by stealthy moths the month before the conference are remote, it could happen to you. Don’t ask me how I know. And then bring a scarf. For the back up outfit. Because while the chances of you dumping some of your morning coffee on your pale pink sweater just before you pitch your novel to an editor are again reasonably slim…It could happen to you. And I think you know how I know.

2. When you go bombing down to breakfast by yourself the first morning, it’s prudent to write down the number of your room and keep it somewhere on your person. Because while the hotel staff would be more than happy to help you figure out where your room is, they do generally like to take a gander at your identification, which just might still be in your room. You know, the one with the unknown number.

3. Be nice to the hotel cleaning staff. A) They have tough jobs, and don’t get a lot of accolades. B) They could prove very helpful when you leave your card key in your room. And would like to avoid another chat with the front desk.

4. If you are lucky enough to get a coveted business card from an editor or agent, take a picture of it or make a copy in some other way before you store it in your incredibly safe place. Because sometimes that place isn’t quite as safe as you might hope. Maybe I’ll save the story of the flying wallet for one of my books.

5. Ease up on the worrying. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Because while something small could surely go wrong, good things could also happen. Great things could even happen. Whether it’s a successful pitch or an awesome seminar or just a really nice connection over lunch, writing conferences are full of great moments.

So go ahead, pack your bags, pocket your business cards, and prepare for the best kind of adventure. And I’m serious about the scarf.



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