Monday, August 08, 2011

What I’m bringing to the ACFW Conference

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.08.2011

I decided to update my list! So here it is.

The highlight of my year is always the ACFW conference in September. It’s my favorite conference for so many reasons, some of which are:

the friends I get to see there
the industry professionals I get to meet
the workshops
the hotel (I am SO not a “roughing it” girl.)

I’m terrible at forgetting what to bring every year, so once again I’m pulling out my list. And I also thought it might be a useful list for other people who might be going to conference, too (not just the ACFW conference, but any writer’s conference).

So here goes, in no particular order:

1) business cards and/or bookmarks. For me, bookmarks are usually easier since writers are readers, too, and can always use a bookmark.

2) A one-sheet of my latest proposal. Dineen Miller did a great blog series on One-Sheets: http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=137, http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=170, http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=203, http://www.acfw.com/blog/?p=248, and examples here: http://www.dineenmiller.com/DineenMiller/D.G.Graphics.html

3) My pitch for my latest proposal. The one-sheet has my pitch on it so I don’t have to stress about memorizing it, although I’ll usually just talk about my story rather than reading the pitch because most editors/agents don’t like it if you read it. However, they will prefer you read it rather than go on for ten minutes about it. Be ready to give the gist of it in 30 seconds.

4) My camera because I always try to take lots of pictures!!! This can also be helpful if I take a picture with an editor or an agent so I’ll better remember what they look like, because now that I’m in pre-menopause, my memory is just mush.

5) $1 bills to tip the maids (a dollar on your pillow every morning, not just your last morning, because you could have different maids every day), cab drivers, porters, etc. Not tipping is just rude, in my opinion.

6) Clothes. Everybody is different, so pick what you feel comfortable in. I dislike tight clothes, but I also dislike baggy things, so I’ll go for cute tops that are form-skimming but also made from fabrics that won’t crease as easily. I bring both jeans and nice slacks depending on what I’m doing—if I’m teaching or meeting an editor or agent, I wear the slacks. If I’m hanging out with friends, I wear jeans. I also pack layers (see below). Bottom line: DON’T LOOK LIKE A SLOB BUT BE COMFORTABLE. Mindy Obenhaus had a good blog post here on raiding your closet for conference.

7) Light jacket and/or sweater. Actually, in years past I’ve been packing a lace shawl instead since I can cram that sucker into a bag and not worry about it getting wrinkled, but when I’m cold in those air-conditioned rooms, I can whip it out and put it around my shoulders.

8) Comfortable shoes. I don’t always take my own advice here because I love cute shoes! But I always have at least one pair of comfortable but nice shoes that I could wear when walking from workshop to workshop, which matches my slacks. This year I splurged on some really nice Born sandals which are both comfortable and will also look pretty. I also bring several pairs of shoes/sandals, because as I’ve learned in years past, wearing the same shoe for several days in a row will make even the most comfortable Taryn Rose $500 half-boots begin to feel uncomfortable.

9) Workout clothes/shoes. The nice thing about ACFW conferences is that it’s always in a hotel with a good gym to work out in, and usually the hotels have pools, too. I tend to avoid the gym in the morning because that’s when it’s most busy, so sometimes I’ll go in the afternoon instead when there’s less people.

10) SCENT FREE LOTION. The Conference is SCENT FREE since a lot of people (including our CEO, Colleen Coble) are allergic to perfumes, so I always bring Nutrogena fragrance free hand lotion. Even scented antibiotic gel will set off someone’s allergies, so please be considerate.

11) An extra, empty duffel bag or suitcase because I always end up buying books and then trying to stuff them into my overstuffed suitcase to carry them home.

12) My knitting! If you’re a knitter or crocheter, bring your project along! I knit while listening to workshops or the keynote speaker.

13) Snacks. Do you really want to pay $7 for a granola bar at the hotel gift shop? Also, keep your blood sugar steady since you’ll be doing a lot, going places, interacting with people, and using more energy than you think you will. I pack almonds and dried fruit, and it has really saved me several times.

14) Computer. I usually bring my laptop simply because I typically need to do work while at the conference. Since I’m the Genesis coordinator, I almost always need my files or to get online to check my email address. Other people use their computer to take notes in classes. However, if you don’t think you’ll need to do any of that stuff, feel free to not bring your computer. Some people will bring their iPad or Alphasmart for notetaking. I use my Alphasmart Neo since it’s built like a tank, takes up less space in my conference tote bag, and doesn’t need to be plugged in.

If you’re bringing your computer for notetaking in workshops, remember that the rooms don’t always have enough outlets, so consider bringing a multi-outlet surge protector if you can fit it in your computer bag.

You don’t need to bring a notebook for notetaking because ACFW will give you a nice notebook with your conference totebag.

15) Cell phone. This is invaluable for me when I’m meeting someone (a friend, not an editor appointment) because who wants to waste precious minutes searching throughout a huge first floor lobby/meeting room area for someone?

16) Pajamas. I actually need to list this because I have forgotten my PJs on more than one occasion.

17) Charge cords for your cell phone, computer, etc. I also bring charge cords for my Nook ebook reader, my iPod, and my Bluetooth headset. I also add a multi-plug power adapter to use in the room, because many times there aren’t enough plugs for all my charge cords.

18) Books to read. Yes, I fully confess I get jittery and psychotic if I don’t have a book to read when I’m on the plane or waiting or whatever. I always bring my Nook ebook reader with me so I have hundreds of books at my fingertips.

19) Bible. I use Olive Tree on my iPad (which is FANTASTIC!!!). I also have an NIV Bible on my Nook, so I never forget my Bible when I’m going places, since I always bring my Nook, plus it doesn’t take up as much space in my luggage as my regular Bible. If you have a pocket Bible, you may want to consider bringing that so it’ll take up less space.

20) Miscellaneous stuff:
Underwear/hose
makeup
contact lens solution
hair stuff (the hotel has a blow drier)
jewelry
vitamins/medications
safety pins
nail care kit (if you have nails that can chip or break at the worst possible times)
Bandaids/first aid kit
Handi-wipes (there are small travel size packets of them that I get at Target)
flashlight or flashlight app on your phone, or a booklight to navigate a dark hotel room while roommate is sleeping
breath mints/gum
comfortable, easy to slip on/off belt and shoes for airport security and on the plane
ear buds/ear phones for the noise on the plane


So did I miss anything? Anything you’d add to the list?

11 comments :

  1. Great list, Camy! thanks for the scent-free tip -- I'd never have known. If all goes as planned, I will be there -- with my knitting!

    I like to bring my journal whenever I travel. I'm not good about journaling every day, but if I get the urge, I want to have it with me. Otherwise I'm sticking loose pages into it when I get home, and that just seems kind of sloppy.

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  2. Awesome, Kristen! I always take my knitting with me to work on in workshops.

    A journal's a good idea!

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  3. Wow that's a lotta stuff! Am so glad you get to do something you love so much! You know I just love the expression "I can't wait to hear all about it"...it's really a crazy phrase because obviously I HAVE to wait!
    Anyway, just noticed something curious. It says that both you and Kristen signed in on Friday, June 24th...interesting!

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  4. Oh, that's because I edited this older post that went up on 6/24, so it kept the older comments. Sorry for the confusion!

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  5. Flashlight! If you're sharing a room it's nice to be able to move about freely if you come in late. And sometimes power does go off and you'll be the smart one with a flashlight.
    Diana
    www.dianabrandmeyer.com

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  6. I can't wait to see you there! I'm so glad we're driving, so I can pack lots of stuff!

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  7. Diana--EXCELLENT idea! I'll add that to the list.

    Erica--I can't wait to see you too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Excellent list. Especially the scent-free reminder! You saved me a ton of work. :)

    I often turn on my cell phone to move around rooms by its backlight. There is also a flashlight app you can get for it. :)

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  9. I didn't even think of the flashlight app!! Great idea!

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  10. A book light is even better, especially if you get sucked into one of those new purchases.

    How about gum/mints? There's nothing like being in a meeting with coffee breath. A water bottle is a good idea too. I pretty much bring one with me everywhere. I'm a big fan of hydration.

    If you're flying: shoes that are easy to slip off (but ones that allow for socks - I mean, who wants to walk through security in bare feet?), a belt that's easy to put on/take off (and pants that fit, so you won't have to hold them up as you waddle through the metal detector/scanner), and earbuds or earplugs for the plane (otherwise your ears will be buzzing from all the noise). And if you have a layover somewhere, check out that airport's website. They often have coupons for food and gifts.

    Just a few thoughts! =)

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  11. Great ideas, Halee! I'll add them to the list.

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