Important Notes for the Next Giant Conference I Attend

bouchercon-2016I’m wending my way home from Bouchercon 2016, held in amazing New Orleans. I’ve spent five days at a 2,000 person event talking myself hoarse, chugging coffee and other liquids, and attending some terrific panels and talks. Overall I had a crazy good time, but my experience might have been made a little smoother if I’d done some things differently. So, I’m writing a list to myself (and for you!) about how to ensure the next giant conference goes well for introverted me.

Important Notes for the Next Giant Conference I Attend

  1. When offered the opportunity to take part in a rare, awesome opportunity, such as participating in a second line parade, take it!
  2. Plan for breaks. You cannot do it all, nor most of it.
  3. Remember that mystery writers drink (a lot) and stay up late. Don’t feel bad for never lasting to the end. You’re only human.
  4. Practice summarizing your novel for people, because you’ll repeat it many, many times.
  5. Be kind to everyone, especially those who look lost/overwhelmed. That was you, at the last conference.
  6. Write the blog post due at the end of the conference before you go the conference, you idiot. What were you thinking?!
  7. Retreat to a quiet spot when you need to. That’s self care, not cowardice.
  8. Beer then liquor, never sicker. Liquor then beer, never fear.
  9. Bring lots of business cards. Don’t leave them at home (again).
  10. Hotels often run cold, but not always. Best to have options.
  11. Comfortable shoes are never a bad idea.
  12. If you stay at the conference hotel, you don’t have to wait in public bathroom lines, and you can always nip away for a wee rest.
  13. No shame in eating takeaway from Popeye’s in your hotel room while watching Charlie’s Angels.
  14. Promote others at least as much (or more) than you promote yourself.
  15. Find out where the room with the free snacks is on the first
  16. Do some conference city reconnaissance before the conference so you have meal/activity options.
  17. Have a system so that you can remember the people you want to connect with post-conference. (Perhaps highlight names in your program or bend the corners on those business cards.)
  18. Take the day after the conference ends off work, so you can unpack and sleep because you didn’t sleep enough. Not nearly enough. God I’m tired.

 

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3 comments

  1. It really is wonderful to see people I only see once or twice a year, but whom I owe a lot to or just really adore. Writing is mostly solitary, until you’re at a bar surrounded by a hundred others like you.

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