Monday, May 2, 2011

Note to self--things to bring to conferences

I'm back from the Washington Romance Writers retreat. I'm beat, but I had a great time.

I love the WRW retreat. Yes, we have typical conference stuff like inspiring speakers and great workshops, but to me the retreat is different from any other conference. In some ways it reminds me of a big sleepover party. I love seeing all my WRW pals--I don't tend to go to meetings, so this is my once a year meet-up with many of them. And I always meet new friends.

The retreat is conference-y enough, though, that I need to bring a few items to make my experience more pleasant. Here's my partial packing list:

1. A watch. This time I left my watch at home, and it was a big mistake. I don't tend to wear one normally. I used to, but it annoys me while I'm typing, and shedding it was sort of a symbolic way to disengage from day-to-day reality and enter my story world. But at a conference--even a retreat--I need to stay on reality's schedule if I want to get to things on time. Relying only on my cell phone wasn't a great choice.

2. A water bottle. I find the air in hotels incredibly drying. I tend to drink gallons of decaf tea during the day anyway, so even if the air wasn't so dry my body would probably complain if I suddenly cut the fluids. And if I use the workout room, it's good to have water at hand.

3. A good tote bag. I'm still working on this. I hauled around a purse part of the time at the retreat when I wanted to have my smart phone with me. When I didn't care, I ditched the purse and just used one of those neck wallets. The best kind of bag, though, has a handy place for the cell, note pad, schedule, and water bottle.

4. A jacket of some kind. I thought the weather was going to be warm this weekend, but fortunately I grabbed a shawl at the last minute. (One of the beauties of being able to drive to a conference--your car can become an extended suitcase.) Even if the weather had been warm, hotels can be chilly or, in this case, chilly in some parts. I hate being cold.

5. Drugs. No, nothing crazy. A pain reliever just in case all the excitement of being out of my writerly cave amongst real, live people brings on a headache. And I always pack Benadryl for my seasonal allergies, but also because I seem to have a bad reaction to hotel bedding.

So that's my partial must-have list. Anyone want to add anything? RWA National is less than two months away!

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