Finding Something Friday: Off to a Conference!

I’m in a bit of hurry this Friday, what with a SCBWI conference on my schedule! But I had to drop in and check on the October Things Baseball Giveaway. I sorta, kinda forgot when the giveaway closed and the winner was supposed to be drawn.

So I took a few minutes to read all those swell writing tips. How serendipitous! A tip or two was just what I needed to pack for the conference.

From Donna over at Donna’s Book Pub: “Sometimes you have to “play ball” with editors and agents to get published.

From Barb Hodges at God Whispers in My Ear: When we network, someone else may go to bat for us.

From Jodi (who’s doing a conference, too!): Baseball is like writing because we’re both wacky superstitious!

Which reminded me that I need my lucky boots on the trip with me. Along with Cathy-on-a-Stick, my business cards, and my courage.

Perhaps courage is what I need to find the most this Friday. When I attend big conferences, that little, shy girl who never opened her mouth all through first grade seems to grab a hold of my hand once again. But since I go to conferences to network and make new friends, speaking is required.

So, I’ll be packing my smile, my Southern charm, and a few prayers, too. And then I’ll start introducing myself.
(P.S. Since I’ll be conferencing, I’m extending comments on the Baseball Giveaway till Sunday. Drop in here this weekend for a chance to win -or maybe read the swell writing tips yourself!)

Tuesday Tip: A Promise is a Promise is Springmingle

I know that I said I’d share what I learned from the conference I just attended. So, if you zip over to Finders & Keepers here, you’ll get the skinny on Springmingle ’10.

But here’s what I read in this week’s Horoscope section of TV Guide, just this morning:

Libra (It just so happens that I’m a Libra)
Jenna Elfman, 9/30/71 (So is Jenna Elfman! I liked Jenna Elfman in Dharma and Greg. Or I liked thinking that’s the kind of kooky, carefree spirit I could be, if in fact I were the kooky and carefree type. I’m not.)

“Not everyone shares your sense of humor, so be careful what you say over the next seven days-because some people, maybe important ones, won’t take kindly to your jokes and quips, especially if they’re the target. Choose your words carefully and you’ll have a great week.”

Sheesh. Now I’m a nervous wreck. Because I’ve written about all kinds of important conference folks over at Finders and Keepers, and Cathy-on-a-Stick was at the conference, too.

But a promise is a promise. So enjoy. (All in all, I think I’d rather be a Taurus this week.)

What Not To Do Wednesday – If I Were The Queen of the Conference

So, I just returned from a weekend writer’s conference. And for once, I’m not going to share my gaffes and foibles. That doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of my what-not-to-do’s running around. But today, I’m taking a look at the gaffes and foibles of the conference planners. If I were Queen of the Conference (and wearing a Doric column crown)…

A.) What’s with all the food that’s served at these conferences? I mean, I like food as much as the next writer, but I don’t need to eat every hour. Of course, if there’s food around, even if I’m stuffed, I’ll belly up to the trough with everyone else. I guess the theory is that if I don’t fill up on words of wisdom, I can at least fill up on Danish and cookies and fruit. Oh, and nuts. And juice, water, and cokes. And that trail mix stuff. Mmmmmm.

Queen Cathy would cut out half the food and take 20 bucks off the conference price.

B.) Ever notice how repetitive these conference sessions can be? The names of the sessions may change, but the content stays the same. For example, let’s say you’re a children’s writer and you attend the sessions having to do with children’s writing. Do you really need 4 people to tell you 1. join SCBWI? Or 2. read lots and lots of books in your genre? Or 3. no, Cathy, I will not read your manuscript? Okay, maybe some of us do need four people to reiterate a point.

Queen Cathy would work with similar-subject presenters to ensure that conference attendees get a variety of information. (Gosh, that sounded impressive, didn’t it?)

C.) Raise your hand if you’ve sat in a session and wondered how that presenter managed to get booked. You know the folks I’m talking about…they wander around all kinds of topics, except the topic on the name of the session. You listen carefully at first, thinking any minute, you’ll glean some earth-shattering gem. But then your eyes glaze over when he or she dives into the next long-winded story about, well, you have no idea ’cause you’ve stopped listening.

Queen Cathy would ask for an outline, a proposal, heck, even a sticky note, with the information that a presenter intends to present. And send volunteers to each session to keep an eye on things. And report back. With a detailed account of the presentation. (Um, like a spy. But not a spy, ’cause that’s kinda tacky.)

D.) Every time I attend a conference, some poor presenter can’t get the computer hook-up to work- and the complete presentation is on power point. Audio-visuals usually keep me awake. Waiting for the AV presentation to start? Not so much.

Queen Cathy would have the baddest techno geek in the world at the conference. Just in case.

Yes, indeed, if I were Queen of the Conference, things would be a lot different. Starting with my identity. I wouldn’t want crazy writers coming after Cathy C. Hall with a list of what-not-to-do’s.