Can you believe July is almost halfway over? That means summer is halfway over, too. Ack – where did the time go? Not only does this mean deadlines are looming closer, that my basking in the swimming pool time is dwindling but, dum-da-dum... it’s almost conference time!
I love RWA’s National Conference. Seriously love it. I love the vast amount of talent and information all jammed into one hotel. I love the giddy thrill of seeing my favorite authors and the heart touching joy of seeing my dear friends (and have to admit, in many cases they are both one and the same). I love the all night brainstorming and the inspiration that just seems to float like a misty cloud overhead, waiting to be tapped. I love the motivation conference offers, that one comment that sparks a whole new direction or story idea. I love the workshops and the speakers and even the agent & editor appointments. Obviously I’m a total conference fiend.
So with that in mind and just two weeks left... Here’s my Top Ten Countdown of things to do before conference. And even though I’m gearing this toward conference, the idea could work for any vacation... so even if you’re not attending, still play – okay?!
1) Plan the itinerary. In this case, which workshops you want to attend & what events you’re committed to. Put together the perfect schedule that you'll happily ignore. My schedule is on a color-coded spreadsheet, with the have-to’s in red so I know they are non-negotiable (like dinner with the Bandits or with my editor – I can skip out on workshops but skipping out on dinner will get me in trouble).
2) Lose 20 lbs. I can’t help it –this is on my to-do list before every event. Vacation, conference, holidays... swimsuit season. *sigh* I never quite hit this goal, but it’s always looming there, whispering in the back of my head when I attend yet another dessert reception, keeping me from diving face-first into the chocolate fountain.
3) Write like a fiend so you don’t feel guilty about hanging out in the bar in the evenings instead of diligently writing away up in your hotel room. I have a couple good friends who actually do hole up in their hotel room and write during conference. Me? I love the idea but have never managed to pull it off. So – I write ahead so I won’t feel guilty.
4) Choose the perfect shoes. Okay, if I had a choice, I’d pick from Vrai Anna’s closet, but I don’t. So I go through mine and decide what shoes I’ll need and want. Some people might choose clothes first, but I always dress from the shoes up *g*. Conference is always tricky for shoes, because so much time is spent running from workshop to workshop or trying to get to this event or that. But still... cute shoes are a necessity.
5) Shop. I mean, there might still be need for more perfect shoes, right? Or something new because I haven’t lost that 20 lbs. Maybe a perky new top to add to the standard conference wardrobe. Or if you’re like me and hate seeing pictures of yourself in the same evening dress year to year, its fancy dress shopping (don’t forget the perfect evening shoes).
6) Prepare those pitches. I don’t have an agent or editor appointment this year, but I’m still preparing my little story blurbs. You never know when someone will ask “so what do you write” and being able to succinctly share that makes for much easier conversation than “um... well, you know, romance stuff.” (Yes, I’ve said that. Pitiful, huh?)
7) Pamper yourself. Mani-pedi’s, a facial, a nice massage. Heck, even a bubble bath. There’s nothing that pumps up my self-confidence more than a little pampering. And knowing my tootsies are soft and pretty makes kicking off the shoes at that nasty airport security check easier.
8) Pack. Then check what you packed. Then add more or take stuff out and repack. I’ll admit it, I make a list. And I make it a couple weeks ahead, so I can use it for #5 – shopping. You know, just in case. I also pack about a week before I leave, just in case something I’d planned to bring needs mending or replacing.
9) Clean House. What? Doesn’t everyone scrub the house down before they leave? I do, I admit it! It’s always cleaner when I go on vacation than any other time. I love coming home to a clean, tidy house. Well, that and it’s like the clean underwear admonishment (didn’t your mom give you that “wear clean underwear in case you’re ever in an accident speech?) If there’s ever an accident, I don’t want any one seeing my house a mess LOL.
And 10) Computer Shutdown. I cruise my favorite blogs one last time, empty my email inbox and put all my yahoo groups on no-mail. I back up EVERYTHING – you never know what might happen while you’re gone and nothing sucks more than coming home to find your computer fried, then I cross my fingers and shutdown. And usually boot up once or twice just to make sure its all still okay *g* but then I unplug my external, set it out with the keys for whoever is animal sitting to take to their house before I head out for wild times.
How about you? What’s on your top ten countdown to conference (or vacation)? Do you have rituals you follow? Anything you can add to my neurotic preparation list? C’mon, sharsies... I'd hate to forget something.