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So sad today

All my writer friends are in Pittsburgh enjoying the Pennwriters conference. I have been unable to attend a conference for a few years now and I truly miss it.

Pennwriters conference was where I could mingle with other writers, attend workshops, and have a wonderful time being with my writing family.

Hell, I even miss the early morning wake up calls complements of Dave, who always took such joy in my “Idon’tdomorningshandmethatcoffee” misery.

I miss the late night conversations in the bar until it closed then in the lobby until we were chased to our rooms.

I miss handing out chocolate to everyone.

BASKETS! I miss donating them and winning them. LOL! They were my fun thing.

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What to pack for a writers’ conference

 

     It’s a good idea to have a supply of business cards on hand.  I usually print up several business card stock pages worth and pack them in my suitcase.  Pens, a writer can never have too many pens.  I always carry several notebooks of varying sizes.  You never know when you’ll need one.

     If you have a finished book, bring along a synopsis and the first two chapters.  You might get a chance to pitch it.  Speaking of pitching your book, make sure you have your ‘elevator pitch’ perfected.  You use that one when someone asks what your book is about, if you can crunch your synopsis down to one sentence, you have it.

    Comfortable shoes to wear because you’ll do a lot of walking between sessions.  Good clothes, you do want to make a good impression on people.

     My roommate and I make sure we have snacks and bottled water because bringing our own saves us big bucks.  I print out envelopes marked ‘housekeeping’ to put the housekeeping tips in each day.  Do remember to tip, skimp somewhere else, but don’t skimp on tips.  Remember these people work for minimum wage and they work hard.  Don’t forget the wait staff, bartenders, and bellhops too.  They remember those who tip them well.

Before the conference…

 

     Before I leave for what I call ‘my annual four-day working vacation’ I have to prepare the home front.  DH is no longer capable of cooking meals other than heating things in the microwave.  Therefore, I’ll be making and putting up frozen dinners for him.

     The dogs are sometimes too much for DH to handle alone.  I’ve arranged for friends to stop in and take them for walks so they are good and tired.  That way they won’t be their normal handfuls.  I’ll make certain that their food is in good supply and they have plenty of cookies.

     Then I need to print out my works in progress so that, if I find time, I can work on them at the conference.  I will do the writing on my Alphasmart and can transfer everything to my computer when I get home.  However, I need to have the printouts to work from since the Alphasmart doesn’t hold the book files.  Yes, this is where a laptop would be a very handy thing and would save my aching back from schlepping a lot of paper.  I dream of having a nice one, one of these days…

What to do at the conference

 

     I was looking at the PW conference schedule in the last newsletter.  It seems I won’t have a problem with conflicting sessions.  I’ll have trouble finding a challenging session for each hour.  I’m not complaining mind you.  The sessions look great and I highly recommend them.  

     However, I’ve been to many similar ones.  Therefore, I see six sessions that I will attend and several others that are debatable.  The newsletter states that the schedule is subject to change.  I am hoping for a few surprises (No, Dave not that kind.)

     Then again, if I’m not in a session, I am free to socialize with others.  This is how I met my agent long before she became my agent.  Actually, I met her husband first and then he introduced me to her.  We were friends for a few years before I had a ‘writers’ conference’ interview with her.  Whereupon in the allotted ten minutes, I pitched my book to her.  She told me to send her my manuscript t, cover letter, and synopsis.  I did and she called me and asked if I wanted to sign with her.  I signed.

     Take advantage of free time at a conference to meet people.  You never know what will come of it.

It’s almost time for the Pennwriters conference

 

     The May 14th-16th date is fast approaching.  Now I’m beginning to think about what clothes I will wear.  I go through this every year.  I spend most of my time in jeans, t-shirts and flip-flops.  This isn’t what you wear when you’re trying to make a good impression on an editor or when you’re networking with other writers.

     I’ve been digging around in my closets hoping I can find appropriate clothing.  We’ll be at a resort hotel with fancy restaurants.  My dog tattered t-shirts and raggedy jeans won’t work.  I’ll have to wear shoes too and dang it I hate shoes.

     I also need to brush up on my French for Marie and Pierre.  We met at the conference two years ago and became fast friends.  I can understand more than I can speak it and I think it would be nice if I practiced a bit.

     Unfortunately, I’ve had to bag a few activities to keep my costs down this year.  Even sharing a room, as I do each year, the hotel is more expensive.  I had to cut expenses somewhere and it came down to the banquet, luncheon, and the costume party, which, all together, was the cost of one night at the hotel.