Friday, April 23, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's conference season again! I've been to many conferences and have learned so very much, I can see myself attending them for a lifetime. Bethany is a conference virgin...until today! We are attending LDStoryMakers Conference where our friend Elana Johnson will be presenting, along with Krista Marino of Delacorte Press, Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency, Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Agency, and many others. (So exciting!)

Here's a pic of the gals I'll be hanging with today -from L to R, me, Bethany, Angie, and Elana. =)
Angie Lofthouse posted something fantastic on her blog and has given me permission to share it with you:
Angie's Writing Conference Survival Guide

I've been to several writing conferences lately, so I feel qualified to post this handy, dandy survival guide. Please note, this is my personal survival guide. Your survival may require something different.

Before the Conference:

1. Arrange for childcare. Practice believing that even though there are about ten major family events going on this weekend, the family will not fall apart in your absence. Your hubby's an amazing, capable guy. Your kids are independent. You gave up co-dependency years ago. Really. Your recovering, remember? It'll be fine.
2. Decide what to wear. Shopping may be required at this point.

3. Get a good night's sleep, especially since you'll have to get up at an hour you normally consider indecent.

4. When you get up at that indecent hour, don't forget to pray. 'Nuff said.

At the Conference:

What to bring:

A backpack (it's easy to carry around)
A notebook for taking notes
The notebook with your novel in it (who knows, you may get to write)
Copies of the chapter for the Bootcamp critique group
Lots of pens

What to do:

1. Remember why you are there. You are there to have fun, to meet new people, to reconnect with writing friends, to get excited about writing.

2. Remember what you are not there to do. You are not there to compare yourself to others. You are not there to feel like a dork. You are not there to have people pay attention to you.

3. Listen to your body. Have a snack when you need it. Take a break when you need it. Try to stay relaxed. Use relaxation techniques if necessary. This will hopefully minimize the sheer exhaustion at the end of the day.

4. Forget about yourself and look for ways to make other people happy. It's not about you anyway.

5. Be happy. Remember you are awesome, 'cuz you are.

Thanks, Angie!

What conferences have you been to that you loved? Do you think they are worth the investment of time and money?



Janet Johnson said...

I love conferences, too! Wish I could be there with you. Definitely worth the time and investment.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm going to the NESCBWI conference in May, so these tips will be good to keep in mind. I'm always way too intimidated.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great advice, Angie! Thanks for sharing it, Suzette. I have not had the opportunity to attend a conference yet, but it's a dream of mine. Enjoy yours! :-)

Unknown said...

And here I thought you were going to say CHRISTMAS!!! Well I suppose for writers this is the Christmas season!!

I have never attended a conference but knowing how much everyone learns and enjoys themselves one of these days I'll join one!! Thanks for all the advice!

Have fun! Happy Friday!

Conda Douglas said...

Great suggestions, I wish I was headed out for a conference right now!

Liza said...


Anonymous said...

Can I ask something stupid here? I don't want to cramp the style of this blog..but I'm fairly new to writing..and I really don't understand what a conference is for. I mean I get the jist but just not the whole thing. I would really like to go to one. Can you fill me in a little on what their for and how I can get involved?

Little Ms J said...

So important to bring your self confidence? I'm getting ready for Backspace in NY in May and just reading over your list got me all excited!

Have a great time!

Jemi Fraser said...

Have fun! It should be awesome. Surprisingly no big conferences come to small city Canada. Hmmm...

Thanks for the great tips! :)

Stina said...

You forgot to mention bring extra space for all the books you end up buying there. My kids are getting used to me bring back signed books from the SCBWI conferences instead of souvenirs. Sometimes I think they'd prefer the junky souvenirs. ;)

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, dude, Office Girl, if you haven't been to one, you've got to go. I was at this one, and let me tell you, I feel like I've been run over -- and I'm very happy about it.

1. You feel inspired to keep writing.
2. You can make great contacts with agents and editors -- and other writers.
3. You get to attend classes and practice improving your craft, learn new techniques, how to blog, write, edit, pitch, etc. The list goes on and on.
4. You get to stand in the room full of 500 people and breathe in their energy, and realize that you are among WRITERS -- people who get you more than you get yourself.

Conferences are priceless.

Good to see you guys! I think that was the best two days of my life.

Elana Johnson said...

And oh my gosh!! Look how long my hair is!


Suzette Saxton said...

I couldn't say it better than Elana did! I just arrived home and am wiped out but very content.

I hope you all get to enjoy a conference someday!

Jackee said...

This is great advice--I'll have to run over to Angie's blog and thank her.

Thanks for posting a picture of you cute gals together. Maybe next year I'll get to join ya'll!

And I love what Elana said: "people who get you more than you get yourself"! Awesome thought!

Unknown said...

Great tips. I'm going to The Festival of Children's Writing next weekend at the Loft and I'm really looking forward to it. I will remember all these tips next weekend for sure.

Angie said...

Thanks for posting it, Suzy. And thanks for a great weekend at Storymakers!

Nichole Giles said...

It was a great weekend! Storymakers is my favorite conference of all time because it really is a great value for the money. Plus, it's such a blast.

Had a great time hanging out with you lovely ladies. See you at the next big thing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that great list and advice. I try to make Florida SCBWI conferences, but I'd like to venture out to other states.

Gail said...

I'm saving up my money and my excitement for SCBWI LA!!!

Yamile said...

Ditto Elana and Suzette! I'm so glad I attended this conference. It was so well planned and the content was priceless, though conference fees were so accessible.
The best was meeting you guys, attending Elana's workshop (Thank you genius query letter queen!) and my friend Julie winning first place in the first chapter contest. Can't wait till WIFYR. Is anyone else attending in June?

Melony said...

I attended the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference last summer and it was awesome. Our workshop leader was Janette Rallison and we have all kept in contact. Two of my friends from the workshop (and now my writers group) are now agented,(one is Ally Condie) Also, a third has a full request from Krista was an amazing experience and I'm trying to go again this summer!

Unknown said...

Very helpful post. I'm a list girl, so this is exactly the kind of thing that will come in handy for me. Thanks!

Annette Lyon said...

Gack! You were there and I didn't get to meet you?! DANG!

Christine Fonseca said...

Great post - both yours and Angie's! One day I would love to meet all of you a conference :D

Dana Elmendorf said...

What to bring...Self-confidence So glad you reminded me I would have left it at home. Phew. I'm going to the SCBWI Conference this summer and I am SOOOOOOO excited!

Anonymous said...

Angie's one smart gal! I hope you loved the conference, Bethany & Suzette! I know I loved seeing you both!