Monday, March 9, 2015

A Conference To-Don't List

Post by Jenny

If you’re planning on joining us for the 10th Annual Northern Colorado Writers Conference, you might be working on a conference to-do list. (If you haven’t yet registered for the conference, there is still time, and we’d love to have you!) Maybe you want to get your hair cut, polish your pitch page, dry clean your lucky alpaca wool socks… Because to-do lists often take on a life of their own and just keep growing, I’d like to take some pressure off with a list of conference to-don’ts—things you definitely won’t have to worry about. 

A Power Suit
Attire is business casual, so you’ll want to look put-together but not necessarily “testify-before-Congress” dressy. If you’re most comfortable in a pencil skirt and stilettos, however, by all means wear them. Ladies, this goes for you, too.

Pitching to an agent or editor is sometimes treated as part and parcel of a writer’s conference. But if you aren’t ready to pitch, don’t sweat it! You will learn so much from attending, and maybe it will inspire you to pitch next time.

Well, if you sneeze in someone’s face, please do apologize. But I often hear writers apologize for any number of things: not being published, being independently published, not loving YA, writing “boring technical stuff,” “only” writing poetry… (I think Rich Keller is right, and we occasionally need to channel our inner Kanye.) You are who you are, and you write what you write. Own it!

Remembering Everyone’s Names
Yay, name tags! And business cards! (If you have some, bring them.) 

Agents and editors come to conferences to meet writers, so don’t be afraid to chat them up. Unless you’re in the restroom.

Of course, you're committed to your writing. But if you sit in on a conference session that’s not a good fit, feel free to move on to another. (Please refrain from throwing up your arms and yelling “I’m out!” as you exit.)

Obligatory Sharing
Some sessions do include time for writing, but no one is going to force you to stand up and read what you wrote in front of the class.

Yes, there’s a cocktail hour, but if your favorite drink is water with lemon—sparkling water if you’re feeling wild and crazy—you won’t be the only one.

Wearing a Tin-Foil Hat
That was last year. And it was pretty awesome.

What would you conference veterans add to the To-Don't list?


RichardK said...

I'm right? A woman says I'm right? Well, I better alert my wife to this. However, she'll probably tell me I'm wrong.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Don't, don't, don't be afraid to talk to anyone and everyone you can. Writers (and agents and editors too) are really nice people and love to share good stories about the writing life.

Abbie Taylor said...

Thanks for the tips. I think they would apply to any conference.

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