Writer, are you excited about attending an upcoming conference? You should be! A writing conference offers you a great opportunity to meet other writers and editors, hone your craft, and maybe even pitch your book to literary agents. But as you rush to pack your suitcase, Writer’s Relief knows it’s easy to forget some essentials when you’re trying to pack light and still leave room for all the books you’ll score. Here’s a list of things writers often forget to pack when rushing out the door for writing conferences.
Heading To A Writing Conference? Don’t Forget To Pack These Things
Cash. While debit and credit cards are accepted in most places today, carrying cash can often be more convenient. So when packing for a conference, be sure to include some money. The last thing you want to do is waste time looking for an ATM when you could be introducing yourself to fellow writers and literary agents. Or buying books.
Chargers for your laptop and cell phone. Many hotels and conference centers are now equipped with charging stations, but these areas can quickly get overcrowded. You don’t want to be standing around waiting to recharge your laptop or cell phone when you could be listening to your favorite author talk about how to get published.
Notebook. Jotting down thoughts or reminders will help you stay engaged and attentive. And sometimes it’s easier to just whip out your notepad and scribble a quick note than it is to balance your laptop on the run or juggle your phone. Plus, many writers like to start their projects with paper and pen—you never know when inspiration will strike! Which brings us to…
Pens. That’s plural. Not only will you need them to write down notes or contact info, but what if Stephen King is there and asks to borrow a pen? (Hey, it could happen!) What are you going to say? “Sorry, Steve, I forgot to pack them.” Or, “Hey, they’re up in my room on the 50th floor. Can you hang on?” Here’s a little advice from Writer’s Relief: You can never have too many pens.
Highlighters. Using a color-coded system helps to keep information organized and easy to find, because you’ll be able to pick out key phrases quickly. Also, highlighters make doodling much more fun while you’re waiting for the next session to start.
Business cards. You will meet lots of new people at a conference, and no matter how outgoing and memorable your personality is, not everyone will remember you. Sure, they might recall your face or your first name or that you didn’t have a pen to offer Stephen King, but without a business card, the odds of them reaching out to you after the conference are very slim. And if an agent asks for a card and you scratch your name and number on a napkin, it will likely end up in the trash, covered in mustard and ketchup smears. A professional-looking business card featuring your contact info and author website URL is an invaluable tool for networking and marketing. Don’t leave the house—or the hotel room—without a stash of them.
Reusable water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day so that you can remain alert and awake! Many water fountains now have specific areas dedicated to filling water bottles, so quenching your thirst has never been easier. Also, it’s a great way to stay on a budget so that you have more cash for important stuff like books, books, and oh yes, books.
Jacket or sweater. No matter what time of year it is, meeting rooms are often kept cold in preparation for large crowds. So it’s always a good idea to bring along a jacket or sweater. Having layers allows you to warm up or cool off easily, and the last thing you want to do is interrupt the speaker with the sound of your teeth chattering.
An elevator pitch. This is something you want to pack in your mind rather than your suitcase, because it needs to be readily available at all times during the conference. (Find out what an elevator pitch is and how to create one here.) Often you will have less than a minute to impress your listener, so your pitch needs to be concise and well delivered—be sure to practice at home before you attend the writing conference!
Question: What do you think is the most important thing to bring to a writing conference?