I have so many "C's," so we'll just have to see what happens.
Sure, let's start with this one. How about a couple tips for the upcoming Pikes Peak Writer's Conference? Some are mine from my sole experience last year, and some I gathered from others.
First, it was in reference to the conference that I discovered you should have business cards as a writer. They're on their way; I was notified they'd shipped. Woo-hoo! I was actually asked for my card today, and I felt like a putz for not having one yet. "Uh, uh, uh, no, but I've ordered some." Ah, well.
What to bring to the conference: your own pen or pencil, snacks, business cards (I will pound this in until you all have cards, as well--not really, but they keep coming up), whatever page requirements there are for a class/pitch/critique you are participating in, your synopsis or pitch, any advertising materials you may have (bookmarks, postcards). If there's anything you don't need in there, don't bring it! You will be lugging it around for hours upon hours. That's no good. I'm sure a lot of people don't bring snacks with them, but I like that one, and I'm sticking to it!
Last year, I showed up that first day with my handy dandy leather briefcase (a big, soft zippable one) with a writing pad, pen, pencil, lead, the first couple pages of my manuscript (which is completely different this year, as I was horribly stuck at that point), a water bottle and a book to read. They provide water (at the Pikes Peak one), because of the high altitude, so don't worry about bringing drinking water of your own. I did find quite a use for granola bars to snack on, though, and apple slices. The food there was fabulous, but it's a long day and a snack doesn't hurt in between those yummy meals.
I was feeling pretty smart and snazzy until, when I walked in with my own bag, they handed me a new bag, complete with a composition book, pen/pencil, chapstick and various other items I no longer remember. I had planned on taking my handy dandy bag again this year in case that was a fluke, but I've been assured that they give that out each year. Cool! I'll probably hide the bag in my car just in case, though, and I'll likely still bring my own pen and pencil for comfort's sake. I will likely not bring a book to read, though, as I think I'd get some writing done if I didn't have a book to read. It's so inspirational there that you just have the mad urge to write, but I was also exhausted partway through and just wanted to sit and half read, half nap with my eyes open.
Another tip is to wear comfortable shoes. The first day, I showed up all gussied up, high heels included. While lovely, I'm sure, it was completely unnecessary. My feet were in agony by the end of the day. I was exhausted, my back hurt. It was no good. The second day, I wore some comfy shoes and my day went so much better. My clothes were also comfortable, though not jeans (there were plenty of other people there in jeans, though, so go for it if you please). Oh yes, much better.
If there is an author or agent you specifically want to sit with, try to work your way in there ASAP and at least establish your seat with a bag or something. This next tidbit comes from a fellow writer: Get in early, get settled in your seat, save the one next to you and when the author/agent shows up, offer them the seat next to you.
That's all I can remember at the moment. I may address this again before the conference at the end of this month, especially if I've gathered some great new intelligence.
C is also for...
I'm still trying to get my head in the right place to write a synopsis of my novel for the Colorado Gold contest. I've gone back and forth on entering it, but what does it hurt? Well, my feelings if I suck, I suppose, but other than that, nothing. I should do it. Now to just suck it up and write that darned synopsis!
As far as I can tell, there's not a drawback to entering a contest, especially if you win it. It's a lovely tidbit to include on your bio in a query letter. "Won the Colorado Gold, because I rock." I've found a search online can bring news of contests to me, as well as the news loops and email loops of the writer's groups I belong to. I was inundated with contests last month! Did I enter any? ~Hangs head in shame and shakes it slightly left to right~ No. I went through the motions of printing them up and keeping them in a notebook, and I even started a short story for one (which is at 6 handwritten pages now), but I've been so intent on my novel that I just couldn't let it go enough to work on anything else. The only reason the one short story got worked on was because I was lugging the pad around with me everywhere to work on it when I couldn't do anything else (except read, which I also did sometimes).
How about one more short "C" and I'll just ditch the rest of them?
C is for...
Comments. I'm loving the comments on here! I'm also enjoying commenting on others' blogs. Keep them coming!
Do you know of a good resource online for finding contests? How about tips for attending conferences (I can only attest to my limited knowledge of the one I've attended)? What are the best conferences out there that you've attended or been a part of? Do you have any conference questions you'd like me to address?