Camy here, and very JEALOUS OF ALL OF YOU WHO GET TO GO TO RWA NATIONALS!!!!
Okay, rant over. I get to go to the ACFW Conference in September, which is also one of my favorite conferences. :)
Sandra did a great blog post about preparing for RWA Nationals, but I’m terrible at forgetting what to bring when I’m packing for a conference, so this year I figured I’d make a list. And I also thought it might be a useful list for other people who might be going to conference, too (not just the ACFW conference, but any writer’s conference).
So here goes, in no particular order:
1) business cards and/or bookmarks. For me, bookmarks are usually easier since people want to know about my latest book as well as my contact info. These need some advance planning for you to order them or print them out yourself. Don’t leave this to the last minute! I had a graphic designer do my business card design and my bookmark designs, and I had business cards printed at VistaPrint and bookmarks printed at PrintRunner.com. Dineen (my graphic designer) gives PrintRunner a thumbs up for good quality printing of bookmarks.
2) A one-sheet of my latest proposal. Dineen Miller did a great blog series on One-Sheets: http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=137, http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=170, http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=203, http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=248, and examples here: http://www.dineenmiller.com/DineenMiller/D.G.Graphics.html
3) My pitch for my latest proposal. The one-sheet has my pitch on it so I don’t have to stress about memorizing it, although I’ll usually just talk about my story rather than reading the pitch because most editors/agents don’t like it if you read it. However, they will prefer you read it over go on for ten minutes about it. Be ready to give the gist of it in 30 seconds.
4) My camera because I always try to take lots of pictures!!! This can also be helpful if I take a picture with an editor or an agent so I’ll better remember what they look like, because now that I’m in pre-menopause, my memory is just mush.
5) $1 bills to tip the maids (a dollar on your pillow every morning, not just your last morning, because you could have different maids every day), cab drivers, porters, etc. Not tipping is just rude, in my opinion.
6) Clothes. Everybody is different, so pick what you feel comfortable in. I dislike tight clothes, but I also dislike baggy things, so I’ll go for cute tops that are form-skimming but also made from fabrics that won’t crease as easily. I bring both jeans and nice slacks depending on what I’m doing—if I’m teaching or meeting an editor or agent, I wear the slacks. If I’m hanging out with friends, I wear jeans. I also pack layers (see below). Bottom line: DON’T LOOK LIKE A SLOB BUT BE COMFORTABLE. Mindy Obenhaus had a good blog post here on raiding your closet for conference.
7) Light jacket and/or sweater. Actually, in years past I’ve been packing a lace shawl instead since I can cram that sucker into a bag and not worry about it getting wrinkled, but when I’m cold in those air-conditioned rooms, I can whip it out and put it around my shoulders. The nice thing about conference is that it’s always in a hotel so you don’t have to worry about weather except when going outside.
8) Comfortable shoes. I don’t always take my own advice here because I love cute shoes! But I always have at least one pair of comfortable but nice shoes that I could wear when walking from workshop to workshop, which matches my slacks.
9) Workout clothes/shoes. This year, especially, I’ll be in the gym since I’m training to run the Honolulu marathon in December! (I’ll blog more about that later, I promise.) The nice thing about ACFW conferences is that it’s always in a hotel with a good gym to work out in, and usually the hotels have pools, too.
10) SCENT FREE LOTION. The ACFW Conference is SCENT FREE since a lot of people (including our CEO, Colleen Coble) are allergic to perfumes, so I always bring Nutrogena fragrance free hand lotion. Besides, do you really want to send an agent or editor into a hysterical sneezing fit because they happen to be allergic to the tuberoses scent in your lotion? Not a good first impression!
11) An extra, empty duffel bag or suitcase because I always end up buying books and then trying to stuff them into my overstuffed suitcase to carry them home.
12) My knitting! If you’re a knitter or crocheter, bring your project along! I knit while listening to workshops or the keynote speaker.
13) Snacks. Do you really want to pay $7 for a granola bar at the hotel gift shop? Also, keep your blood sugar steady since you’ll be doing a lot, going places, interacting with people, and using more energy than you think you will.
14) Computer. I usually bring my laptop simply because I typically need to do work while at the conference. Since I’m a List Hostess and the Genesis coordinator, I almost always need my files or to get online to check my email address. Other people use their computer to take notes in classes. However, if you don’t think you’ll need to do any of that stuff, feel free to not bring your computer. Some people will bring their iPad or Alphasmart for notetaking. I use my Alphasmart Neo since it’s built like a tank, takes up less space in my conference tote bag, and doesn’t need to be plugged in.
If you’re bringing your computer for notetaking in workshops, remember that the rooms don’t always have enough outlets, so consider bringing a multi-outlet surge protector if you can fit it in your computer bag.
You don’t need to bring a notebook for notetaking because ACFW will give you a nice notebook with your conference totebag.
15) Cell phone. This is invaluable for me when I’m meeting someone (a friend, not an editor appointment) because who wants to waste precious minutes searching throughout a huge first floor lobby/meeting room area for someone?
16) Pajamas. I actually need to list this because I have forgotten my PJs on more than one occasion.
17) Charge cords for your cell phone, computer, etc. I also bring charge cords for my Nook ebook reader, my iPod, and my Bluetooth headset.
18) Books to read. Yes, I fully confess I get jittery and psychotic if I don’t have a book to read when I’m on the plane or waiting or whatever. I always bring my Nook ebook reader with me so I have hundreds of books at my fingertips.
19) Bible. I have one on my Nook so I never forget my Bible when I’m going places, since I always bring my Nook, plus it doesn’t take up as much space in my luggage as my regular Bible. If you have a pocket Bible, you may want to consider bringing that so it’ll take up less space.
20) Miscellaneous stuff:
contact lens solution
hair stuff (the hotel has a blow drier)
nail care kit (if you have nails that can chip or break at the worst possible times)
So did I miss anything? Anything you’d add to the list?
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. You can now preorder her September romantic suspense, Formula for Danger! She runs the Story Sensei critique service, is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for giveaways!