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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Theresa's Conference Tips

HAVE A SCHEDULE: I have been to seven conferences now and I always try to schedule my conference time. One of the first things I do when I arrive is schedule my time around the workshops I don’t want to miss. I almost always learn a new helpful tidbit, or at the very least, I feel motivated to go home and write. And for me, that’s what it’s all about. I want to leave conference feeling motivated, inspired, and ready to write.

SLEEP: One big mistake I’ve made is not getting enough sleep. On those occasions, I would end up meeting editors and agents with one eye open and a foggy brain. Make sure you get at least seven hours sleep. Skip a workshop in the morning or take a nap. Do whatever it takes so that you feel rested when you’re out there socializing.

CLOTHES: You want to look nice, but you also want to be comfortable. I have made the mistake of bringing NEW shoes. If you’re like me and you plan to make the most of conference, you never know when you might be asked to run to a social gathering a few blocks away. I now wear only comfortable shoes at conference, not brand new ones that are going to give me blisters.

DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY: If you miss a workshop or you end up with little time to get ready for your agent appointment or dinner with your editor, just take a deep breath and do the best you can. That’s all you can do. Getting upset won’t help matters. Also, if you’re like me and you have yet to be DISCOVERED, don’t sweat it. You’ll get there someday if you don’t give up. Instead of whining or complaining or feeling sorry for yourself (and bringing other people down), get out there and meet people, make a good impression and one of these days it will be YOU walking around with a pink FIRST SALE ribbon at conference!

HAVE FUN: I always make sure to get together with my favorite people, including the Wet Noodle Posse. Bring your camera so that the memories will last forever.

Any questions about conference? Go ahead and ask!

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9 Comments:

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

This might have been addressed in the comments on another post, but I also advise: sit with strangers. Don't spend your entire conference time with your best buddy from home; you can see her all the time. Meet new people. Everyone has been friendly no matter what. Don't worry if you can't find everyone in your circle for meals--the banquet rooms are a mob scene. Smile, say, "Mind if I join you?" and make some new contacts (with those bookmarks or business cards available for later).

I wholeheartedly agree with saving time to decompress.

 
At 8:44 AM, Blogger MaryF said...

GREAT advice, Theresa! I never can get the sleep, though!

I do hang out with friends, though, because most of my writing friends are far-flung and I only get to see them at conference!

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Next Monday,I'll be talking more about how to handle the conference if you are shy and I'll bet there are bunches of us who are!

I think all your advice is so wise, Theresa, especially the comfortable shoes part. Each year I try to get the perfect combination of clothes and I ALWAYS leave something at home that I would love to have brought with me. This year I'll try again!

If you can budget for the conference cds, the recordings of the workshops, get them. I have not bought them since they were sold as tapes and I don't know how they are sold now exactly, but I never stressed about missing a workshop when I knew I could buy the tape.

The advice to have fun is so important. The conference should energize you and make you feel like you can't wait to start writing.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Yes, I always buy the tapes or CDs. They are great to listen to in the car while driving kids to sporting events, etc.

I'm like Mary where I don't see too many people, even my best buddies, until conference. How sad is that!? It is a balancing act.

Any yet I have had great times sitting down and meeting new people, too!

Feel free to add your own tips, everyone! Most embarrassing moments or best time ever at conference. I ended up wearing heels on a hike in Tahoe! That was funny/embarrassing. :)

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Great advice, Theresa. I'm blogging about shoes and foot care on July 17 and will share my tried and true techniques. I also agree with your advice on finding time to decompress--it can be overwhelming.

Absolutely, Terry--sit with strangers! It's my mantra.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

Theresa,
Great advice as always! Sleep is often a problem for me. I'm guilty of staying up late talking with friends or going over my pitch in my head when I should be sleeping. However, I have a solution which I used last year at M&M--Advil PM. I was able to sleep and feel refreshed in the morning!

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Great tips, Theresa. I definitely need to remember the part about getting enough sleep. I don't do well without it. Years of singing until midnight, going out to eat, hopping on a train or in a hotel bed and sleeping til noon will do that to you! I am NOT a morning person!

I am definitely taking your advice on the camera thing. I want 100s of pictures of me with all of the people I have only met online or on the phone. This is going to be my first conference and I want to remember it all!

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never been to one before, and it is a huge stretch for me to go, financially, etc. So this may be it for a decade or so. I guess my big worry is how do I find out what the best things going on are? I would hate to find out something great just happened, and hear, "well, check it out next year!" How do I even find out what is happening? All I know is I'm going, I'm driving, I'm sharing a room. I have no idea what's happening other than that. Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated!

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Hey anonymous! Go to the Romance Writers of America website and go to conference schedule/events. Also, as soon as you arrive, check out bulletin boards people set up with various places to go and things to see and do. There are bizzares set up where writers sell fun stuff. Make sure you swing through the bars and just sit down and talk to people.

Like Terry said, when you sit down for lunch at the banquet room feel free to ask people what's going on and if they have any suggestions on what not to miss!

Good luck and have fun!!!

 

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