~ By Casey Clipper
Books ordered. Check. Swag. Check. Flight booked. Check.
Wait, where’s the conference and hotel reservation confirmation emails? I didn’t print those out, did I? Crap. I hope I can locate them. Kind of important.
Ten cardigans, because you know, I might change them out twice a day. Check. Twenty pairs of shoes, you know, for the pop-up club party that’ll occur. I need to bring these stilettos and five pairs of running shoes, ‘cause I do plan to hit the gym. At some point. Maybe. Probably not. But just in case. Check.
Three outfits for each day. One for morning, before dinner, and before hitting an open house or party. Certainly can’t wear the same outfit all day. And what if I spill something down one of my six white shirts I’ve packed? That is inevitable. I mean, it’s me, mouth klutz. Check. Sunglasses for when I leave the hotel. Check.
Ten notepads because each year I misplace the thing after a couple of hours. Don’t ask. If it’s not attached…. Check.
Volunteer for the literacy signing so I can be put in the glamorous job of hanging with Nora and/or Sylvia, who will fall in love with my stellar personality and we’ll become BFFs and travel the world together, all the while plotting. Check.
Download the RWA2015 app and choose five workshops each hour of each day to be added to my overbooked phone calendar. Check. Maybe I should order the recordings. Probably. Still waiting on the lab about my clone. Can’t be two places at once, no matter what type of mind-telepathy I try to call upon. Hey, plot idea?
Separate suitcase for the goodie room raid…wait, where will I put my supply of three different style business cards? I have a two bag airline limit. What can I leave behind? Do I need my laptop?
Seriously, the RWA2015 National Conference is upon us. Social media is a buzz amongst authors. Meet-ups are being arranged. Newbies are excited and nervous. Seasoned attendees are trying to figure out how not to over pack. Again. (Still haven’t figured that one out. Maybe I only need two different business cards.)
Here are a few First Timer helpful packing tips:
1. Cardigans. Each workshop room is well air conditioned. Trust me. Even if you claim you’re always hot, at least take one.
2. Comfortable shoes and/or flats. Heels are for the awards ceremony (think cocktail hour, unless you’re nominated, then it’s formal dress).
3. Dress attire would be considered business casual. Why? Because you never know who may strike up a convo with you. Think four day business interview.
4. Do not over pack. You will leave the conference with loads of books and swag. Unless you’re willing to pay FedEx to ship your items home, you’ll need room in your suitcase.
5. Make sure to attend the First Timers welcome workshop. You’ll get fantastic conference advice.
8. Say hello to Casey. I hear she’s kind of cool. She loves penguins and chocolate. Just sayin’.
With this my third year attending, there are a few new activities I plan to do for the first time. Volunteer, attend the general meeting, “accidentally” bump into Barbara and hope to have some of her success rub off. (Okay, okay, I won’t touch Barbara. Boundaries, I get it…maybe Bella?)
My biggest piece of advice? Go in recognizing that the conference can be geared toward you. First Timer or Seasoned Author, what is your conference goal? Make that decision now. Knowing what you want out of the conference will enhance your experience and help choose workshops best to suit your needs. Do you want help with craft, marketing, research or all of the above? Even for those who’ve attended more than once, it can feel overwhelming, wanting to take in as much information as possible.
But no matter how you choose to work your individualized conference, appreciate the fact we’ve been granted a fantastic opportunity to learn from the best of the best in the romance industry. A community where we get to spend days surrounded by and rub elbows with like-minded industry professionals, who embrace our passion for penning romance novels and some who are gracious to share their successful insight. Not everyone understands our world of romance, but here our writer world quirks are accepted and celebrated by all. Come Monday when you’re back home, and the reality of what happened over the course of four days hits, you can smile and say you were there, and you walked away with a better appreciation and knowledge of everything romance. Personally I know there’s no other place I’d rather be mid July.
Have fun and did you know rock hopper penguins can jump 4-5 feet?
Contemporary Romance Author Casey Clipper is from Pittsburgh, PA. She’s a noted sports fanatic, chocolate lover (all right, maybe that could be classified more as an addiction), and is slightly obsessed with penguins (seriously, they’re forever dressed in tuxes!). Like you, she’s an avid romance reader and loves to lose herself in a good book. Casey is an active member of the Romance Writers of America, Contemporary Romance Writers, the Three Rivers Romance Writers, Passionate Ink, ASMSG, and IAN. Casey is preparing to release her fourth and final novel in The Love Series, Taken Love on July 21, 2015.