You know that irrational fear you might hurl yourself off a balcony or scream curse words in church?
I see a few of you nodding and the rest wondering if you should keep a closer eye on your friends in multi-story buildings and places of worship.
I feel this way as I prepare to attend my first writers’ conference this week. Not that I’m afraid I’ll leap from the 17th floor of the Seattle East Hilton Bellevue, though the cursing is always likely.
It’s more that I don’t know what to expect, and I realize there’s a strong possibility I’ll spit gristle in someone’s purse or spontaneously lift my dress over my head.
It’s the little things that worry me, really. I’ve studied the list of workshops available at the Emerald City Writers Conference, but I’m not savvy enough to know how many I get to attend or how I’ll find my way from point A to point B. I specified my preference for the smoked salmon ravioli, but worry I should stuff my purse with crackers and a 15-pound turkey to satisfy my constant need for snacking.
And what to wear? “Business casual” in Central Oregon means something very different than it does in Seattle, and I also fret that the current heat wave in the Pacific Northwest will prompt conference organizers to air condition the rooms to the approximate temperature of a meat locker.
At least I don’t have to roam the city looking for a good cardboard box to sleep in. A couple members of my RWA chapter in Portland very kindly offered me a spot in their room, but I’m not certain whether I’ll be sleeping in a bed or on the bathroom floor. I also have to confess that I’m not 100% sure I’ve met these kind souls in person. What can I say? I’m terrible with names and faces, and despite our friendly email banter about room rates and breakfasts, it still hasn’t completely clicked for me who these women are. If it turns out they’re zombies or serial killers, I hope the maid doesn’t have too much trouble scrubbing my blood from the carpet.
I know these are trivial things in the grand scheme of my writing career, and I’ll figure it all out once I get there. I’m attending this conference to learn and to make new friends, and I intend to do that even if I have to use my plastic pirate sword to take hostages in the lobby.
Have you been to a writers’ conference before? Do you have any tips for newbies like me? If you’ve never attended one, what’s holding you back?
Admit it – it’s the cursing thing, right?