Conference After Dark



So you’ve memorized the Dos and Don’ts list from McGovy, weeded through the workshop descriptions and made a plan of action like Jeanette, shopped along side the E. Michels style guide, made-up your Syd inspired packing list, and prepared with Lori for the pitch room insanity.  What’s next?


I believe there is just as much benefit from conference afterhours as there is the actual conference.  It’s a golden opportunity to meet other writers, mingle with agents and editors, rediscover what you love about writing, and market your books and your blog.  There are even some folks who can’t afford the $500 conference fee or simply don’t think it’s worth the cash, but still book a room or tag along with a friend to experience the benefits of afterhours.

Here are some ideas on how to spend your time after the name badge comes off, or if you don’t have one at all…

Head to the Bar 

The bar is a great place to meet folks in a laid back setting with the gift of alcohol to calm the nerves, so order a Cosmo, or a Coors, or a Coke – whatever floats your boat – and mingle!  Even if you’re not a drinker there are many people in this industry who are, but remember – this is their downtime too, so don’t come on too strong.  Unless they ask you to pitch, keep it for the pitch room.

Unwind at the Spa

Conferences can be draining – both physically and mentally.  By the end of the day, your feet will ache like the world’s worst root canal, you might sound like a forty year smoker, and your head could feel like it’s going to explode.  If you need a little peace and quiet, head to the spa for a massage and pamper yourself.  You’re worth it!


Maybe sitting in a workshop gets the juices flowing, so much so that you have to get it down RIGHT THEN.  There’s nothing wrong with heading to the coffee shop in the lobby and jotting down some notes.  After all, that’s what these conferences are supposed to do – inspire us!

If you haven’t registered, use the time your buddies are in workshops to hang back at the hotel room and catch up on some writing.  It’s a perfect time free of the distractions of home while you’re immersed in the magic vibe that only the presence of other writers can offer!

Meet up with your Cyber Buddies

Most of us are in at least one online chapter or loop.  Before you head to the conference, send out a post inviting folks to a happy hour, lunch, or even a morning coffee so you can finally put a face with a name.  Many chapters organize their own events, so take advantage of it!

I, for one, plan to take advantage of more than one of these next week at Nationals!  So look for me and the other bad girlz around the hotel, living it up in after hours!

Jenna P.

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