Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Main Entry: exhausted
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: tired Synonyms: beat, bleary, bone-weary, bushed, crippled, crispy, dead, dead tired, debilitated, disabled, dog-tired, done for, done in, drained, effete, enervated, frazzled, had it, limp, outta gas, played out, prostrated, run-down, sapped, shot, spent, tired out, wasted, weak, weakened, wearied, worn, worn out
Example: Playground Monitor after a day of frantic shopping
Just when I thought I had it all together for the RWA conference in Dallas, I found out I needed another dressy outfit. You'll remember that I found a dress last week for the Saturday night awards ceremony. Even being the fashion goober that I am, I know I can't wear the same dress to both functions.
So off I went yesterday morning on the quest for another dress. Luckily Tuesday's are "Old Lady Discount Day" at Ross and apparently they'd gotten a shipment in since last week because I hit the jackpot. I came home with three dresses and today I'm getting together with PC and Angel to play American's Top Runway Model and see which dress is best.
I go through this every year at this time and with three national conferences under my belt you'd think I'd have my act together. Well, I do to a certain degree. But add in the "fancy factor" and I'm out of my league. Which brings me to my "Lessons Learned from Conference," which I hope will be of some help to anyone else going.
1. Never underestimate comfort. When selecting your clothing, be professional but keep comfort in mind as well. You're going to be in an outfit all day and perhaps half the night. If it pinches or binds, you're going to be mighty miserable.
2. But does it fit? Try your clothes on before you pack them. It sounds obvious but nothing is worse than reaching your destination and discovering your black pants don't fit anymore or they have a rip in the seat. Check them all out carefully before packing.
3. Shoes. The best advice Linda Howard ever gave me was to invest in a good pair of comfortable black shoes. My feet might not be the most stylish, but my black flats with the cushioned soles are a must. I can't think if my feet hurt. If you're one of these women who can wear pointy-toed high heels all day, I'm in awe. I can hardly wear running shoes all day without my footsies complaining.
4. Share more than your room. Before you leave home, get together with your roommates and figure out what items you can share. There's no need to take 4 bottles of PC's favorite Wrinkle Spray. One person can take it and another can take another necessary item. This saves room for everyone, especially when you're flying to your destination. And check the hotel's website to see what the room ammenities are. No need to pack a hair dryer if the room has one.
5. Be mindful of others' noses. While you want to be fresh every day, please leave your perfume at home. You'll be in close quarters in your room and in the meeting rooms. A hundred people in a workshop multiplied by a hundred different fragrances can get mighty stifling. So just wear the fresh-showered smell for the duration of the conference.
6. Prepare for contingencies. I always pack an over-the-counter pain reliever, antacids and pills for diarrhea. And I carry the pain reliever with me wherever I go. You'll make a friend for life if you offer a fellow workshop attendee a pill for her headache. And if it's the presenter, or an editor or agent, well... :-) If you take prescription medication for any reason, make sure you have enough for the duration of the conference.
7. Use your vibrator. Most of us carry cell phones and they're a great way to stay in touch with your family back home and your friends at the conference. But please remember to put it on vibrate during a workshop. Nothing is more embarrassing than having your cell phone ring out "Achy Breaky Heart" in the middle of a senior editor's presentation.
8. Drink a lot. Water that is. ;-) If you get dehydrated, you're more likely to get a headache and feel achy and lousy in general. The hotel usually provides water in the meeting rooms so take advantage and stay hydrated.
9. Network, network, network. This is your chance to be around thousands of other writers as well as agents and editors. Introduce yourself. Ask them about what they do or write. You never know when that chance meeting might come back and work in your favor. I have a little networking challenge for the Playfriends (ssshhhh, don't tell cause I haven't mentioned it to them yet, but they'll thank me for it) that will be fun. Honest.
10. Stop and smell the roses. At my first conference I believed I had to attend a workshop during every session. By Friday night I had literally hit the wall. I was in an evening workshop, sitting in a chair against the back wall. I leaned my head back and next thing I knew I'd dozed off. Apparently I didn't snore because I didn't get any ugly looks. The next year I was more selective and made time to sit down and rest, and also scheduled lunches and afternoon drinks with friends. I already have several things lined up for Dallas.
Based on your experience, what other good tips do you have for conference-goers? You may not have been to RWA, but I'll bet you've been to a business seminar, a church-related weekend or some other such affair.
P.S. Lady Vampire needs to email me because I want to send her a prize for suggesting the title of my current story.