Saturday, February 20, 2016

8 Essential Items to Pack When Attending a Writer's Conference

Happy weekend, Wordlings!

This Tuesday I'll be boarding a plane to Florida to pitch my novel :D I'm both nervous and excited; this will be a huge step in my writing journey.

Last year, I wrote a post title, "Why You Should Attend a Writer's Conference". This year, as I'm packing, I decided to write a post of the absolute essential items that you MUST pack when attending a writer's conference—cause last year I forgot a few of these things. Oops.

Onwards to the list!

1: Notebooks and Pens (plural) 

Obviously, you'll need them for taking notes from all the wonderful speakers that you're gonna learn SO much from, but they have more purpose than just that! 

Since you're surrounded by other writers and are engaged in writing atmosphere, you're gonna be bombarded with plot bunnies: notebooks are the best way to trap those little suckers. 

Lastly, when pitching to agents or editors, taking notes is uber important. Since you're already doing SO much at the conference, even with a steel-trap memory you're probably gonna forget most of what they say. Writing things down in a notebook is a great way to prevent that. 

2: USB Stick

Sometimes there's little groups of people that will do critiquing sessions or maybe someone that you meet just wants to take a look at your work. I don't trust the internet at conference centres. It's hit and miss and you're definitely not going to be the only one trying to use it (if it's available). 

*like a TV infomercial announcer* But with a USB stick, you'll never not have a way to share your masterpieces!

3: Books! 

Simply because you can't leave the house for a week without at least two books ^ ^. If you have a longer commute like I do and have to board a plane, books will keep you company ;) 

4:  Business Cards, Sample Pages, One Sheets and Author Bios (The Whole Package)

Especially if you're pitching any sort of your work, printing business cards is a great investment. Hand them out to author's you meet or the editors/agents you have appointments with. Another great use for them is that you can give them to your new friends so they can contact you and/or follow your blog when they get home.

The one sheets and such is more for if you actually plan on pitching a novel. I didn't need them last year but this year I'm creating little folders to give to all the people I pitch to. It gives them something to take home with them and remember your work by. It also says something about you as a writer.

5: A Traveler's Coffee Mug and/or A Water Bottle

Late nights and early mornings: two things you can be sre to encounter when attending a writer's conference. Besides all the writing buddies you're bound to make, caffeine becomes your bestest friend. Usually the cafeteria/hotel has tea and coffee that you can fill your mug with so you can carry it with you all day. 

Water is your second bestest friend. I don't know if it's because it's hot and humid in Florida and I'm not used to it or something but I got really dehydrated when I was at the conference last year! I didn't bring a water bottle which I sincerely regretted and am definitely not forgetting this year.

6: Authorly Attire 

Even if the conference says they have casual attire, putting a few extra minutes into your appearance is a good idea—especially if you're trying to get picked up. My view of a conference is that it's essentially an extended time period where you're pitching yourself as well as your book. 

Since there's editors and agents walking around the place, you never know when you'll randomly have a conversation with someone who may be interesting in helping you along your writing journey. I want to look the part if that happens ^ ^ 

7: Money for the Bookstore

Often times there's a bookstore with books from the authors that are there and sometimes also writerly merch :3 The bonus points for buying books here is that A) they're usually cheaper and B) YOU CAN GET THEM SIGNED! :D I did this last year with Bryan Davis' "Reapers" ^ ^

8: Extension Cord

You're gonna be using your laptop a lot but there's no guarantee that you'll get to sit near an outlet all the time to charge it. Carrying an extension cord will fix this problem and ensure that you don't run into that panicked feeling you get when your computer notifies you that you only have 2% battery left during the middle of class.

Have you been to a writing conference? Did I miss anything form the list?

Write on, Wordlings!


  1. Great tips, Cassia! I agree with all of these, especially the extension cord. ;) Thanks for sharing. ^ ^

    1. Thank you! Yes the extension cord is especially helpful ;)

      Thanks for commenting :D