Three times. The same skirt. One time at Target. One time when I was running out to get in a friend’s car (remember Janessa) and another time at the mall.
Important information. Don’t mention it when you see me. I will act like I have no idea what you are talking about.
I love it and I did get my start there and I’ve taught there and I’ve eaten food there and I’ve had my agent come visit and I love it.
Here’s my advice:
1. Don’t stress (Amy). It’s fun. It’s not scary. Really and truly. I am as awkward as they come and I remember the first conference I went to I was terrified on so many different levels. My writing? My critiquing? My talking? My hair? Turned out everyone was insecure and sensitive (we’re writers!). Turns out everyone wants to be a writer and wants to be a part of the community and wants friends and wants to know what’s going on but mostly doesn’t know what’s going on so they act like they know what’s going on so then everyone thinks everyone else knows whats going on but really we’re all just writer and neurotic and we should be best friends and that’s why don’t be nervous! Or stress!
2. Be ready to think. A lot. Reading and critiquing is one of my favorite things. I love getting into new stories, meeting people’s characters, seeing how scenes unfold. It’s fun. but it’s also exhausting. Get lots of sleep and give yourself plenty of time to read the manuscripts of people in your class.
3. Eat tacos.
4. Come with questions. Lots and lots of questions. For the authors, for the editors, for the agent. There will be time to hang out and chat so it’s a good idea to have the things you want to know on the tip of your tongue.
5. Bring sunscreen.
6. Take advantage of any open time to write. I am staying up in Salt Lake this year. That means I am having a week without kids! Ahhh! Scary. Sad. Really? I am determined to use my time wisely. That means reading and thinking and having fun and eating and here it comes, writing. i am going to write. I hope. If I’m not too tired. I am going to write. This conference is a rare treat for many of us for different reasons. Think about why it’s so good for you and take advantage.
7. Bring water.
8. Make friends in your critique groups. You guys are going to be sharing your hearts out. Letting others read your unfinished manuscripts can be exciting and scary. After the first reading of your manuscript, the people in that group will know you better than anyone else at the conference. Rely on each other. Learn from each other. Listen carefully to each other.
9. Go swimming.
10. Talk to Carol. Tell her all your personal problems. That’s what she’s there for. Ha ha ha ha ha. Just kidding. Did you know that the first few years I was scared of Carol. Because she was this big time author and she was so cool and she had these rockin’ daughters who wore cool skinny jeans and she was smart and all that. And I never dared talk talk to her because she was so scary? Then I found out she’s not scary. Not that scary. And she and Cheri and Lisa are working so hard to make this an awesome conference. You can talk to them. And they will be nice. and they aren’t scary.
The end. Except the other thing is, A NEW BUILDING! It’s like a whole new conference. With windows. I can’t wait to meet all of you who are going to be there and for those of you who aren’t . . . there’s still time.