With RWA Nationals only weeks away, I have the privilege of kicking off a two week series for the Bad Girlz Blog:
We hope you all enjoy!!!
Writer Conferences are an amalgam of awesome positivity, information, writer mojo absorption, and enjoyment of all the fun times floating around the hotel/conference center. Far be it from me to shine a negative light on anything so fabutastik. Still, there are a few Don’ts to keep in mind when attending your next writer conference.
1. DON’T be a wallflower.
A lot of writers are introverts, some are shy (yes, there is a difference), and it kind of fits with the nature of the craft. While I’m one of the extrovert tribe, I love my quiet and introverted peeps dearly. But wise writers know, you gotta get out there. Whether you like it or not, you cannot hole up in your hotel room all con or slink from room to room with barely a whisper to anyone. Sure, I guess you could do this, but if you want to network and learn anything at all outside of the workshops, you must interact with other writer humans. If witty words fail you, compliment a woman’s shoes, hair, make-up, clothing. If you can’t do that, smile. Chances are you’re smiling at an extrovert like me and we’ll break the ice for ya!
But on that same note…
2. DON’T monopolize a conversation.
Don’t stand there saying nothing, but don’t stand there and say it all for everyone. I’ve experienced this first hand and it was aaaaaaawkward. I wanted to politely take the lady aside and help her. I could tell she was nervous. Nerves made her prattle on and on and oooooooon about her book, her writing, her life, her hobbies, her everything. She cornered a few of us and there was no escape. It was painful.
Pause. Take a Breath. Ask a few questions of your new writer acquaintances and listen as they answer.
3. DON’T wear your “comfy pants” and cat sweatshirt with puffy paint flowers.
You don’t have to be a fab fashionista if that’s not your thing. Not everyone loves to shop and create looks. I do! But I also love women who keep it simple and classy. We writers work in a world of sweats and yoga pants, pony tails, and house slippers or bare feet. This is the one time we get “out in the world” so don’t look like you’re still sitting at home with your laptop and box of chocolates. When in doubt, go black slacks and a top in a color that flatters you (think plum cardigan, turquoise blouse, pink knit sweater. Simple and pretty). I do this a lot for work. It’s comfy and classic.
About anyone, anywhere, any time. If there’s someone you run into that you abso cannot stand, save it for when you and your best, closest, tip lipped, sworn to secrecy buddy are back in your room. Then you can vent. Otherwise, any negativity you speak will spread and distort like a middle school version of gossip. I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it. One person says, “I love her writing, but that workshop was kind of dull,” to a loose grouping of people they sort of know. Next you hear of it, the speaker hates this writer and swears she’s a self centered b*tch. Y’all know it happens! We’re women. We gossip. That’s just life. So in life, don’t be a hater. If you must, save it for the midnight rundown of events in the air tight vaccuum of your hotel room.
5. DON’T forget to say Please & Thank You.
Not to be a Molly Manners, but a little gracious behavior never hurt anyone. If a volunteer helps you find your way, if a workshop presenter changes your writing/world/life, if a conference organizer is working her patootie off, if the hotel bartender makes THE best Cosmos you’ve ever tasted, or whatever the circumstance…Thank those around you for their efforts. Trust me, those who plan cons (or any writer event for that matter), work hard for no money. A little appreciation goes a long way.
6. DON’T forget to have FUN!!!
It’s like sleep over camp for writers! *Cue McGovy seal clap* Woo Hoo! We’re going to the Writer Conference!!!!