Things I learned at the conference…part two

I am on my way to the beach today, but here are some more things I learned from my last trip as promised…again, they are in no particular order.

 

– Be prepared to stand in lines…but you can meet some interesting people in lines.
There are lines everywhere you go it seems at these conferences, but during my week there I met some interesting people while waiting for things.  I met fellow readers some of who I had only seen online.  I also met quite a few unpublished writers who I hope to see published someday.  I stood in line with editors and agents.  I also stood with authors whose books I loved and we chatted as we waited to get in to places.   So while you might have to wait a while to get into some places (sometimes it helps to arrive early to some events), you never know just who you might be standing next to.

 

– If you try to do too much or everything, it can get tiring.
This is an exhausting conference.  Rushing around to get to everything you want to get to can be very tiring so manage your time well.  There is so much going on and so much you don’t want to miss, but if you try to do too much, you might be too tired by the end of the week and resemble a zombie (with sore feet…see the reference to the shoes in yesterday’s post).  Some nights I was too excited to sleep and other nights I was out as soon as my head touched the pillow (a rarity for me anytime).  When I returned from my trip, I felt as if I had not slept in a year despite having slept while I was on my trip.  I guess I just wasn’t used to doing so much in so little time.  So be prepared to be active and make sure to manage your time well.  You don’t have to do everything and if you try you might make yourself sick.

 

– It is easy to get lost in unfamiliar places.

I’ll admit it…I got lost coming out of my hotel room…a couple of times.  I could never seem to remember which way to turn and the hallways were like mazes.  Of course, it didn’t help that I had to change elevators to go up.  I was in the mid-rise section and the high-rise section had a separate elevator.  By the end of the week, I knew my way around pretty well…but of course, by then it was a bit too late.  🙂

 

  Be careful what you say or do…you never know who is around or who is in the elevator with you…or who might have a camera.

As a fan of romance, I was in awe of most of the people I met or saw during my week in San Francisco.  I sat in the lobby and people-watched as authors and others walked around and I noticed a lot of other people-watchers (I wonder if it is an author-thing or a human nature-thing).  I rode in elevators with authors, agents, editors, readers, non-readers, and more.  And I couldn’t help but think, “What if I said something or did something really bad or inappropriate and the wrong person overheard or saw it?”  This didn’t happen (at least not that I know of) but that could be dangerous for anyone.  So be careful what you say or do in elevators, in lobbies, or even in lines because you never know who might be listening or watching.  I know I tried to be careful…I didn’t want to give people the wrong impression of me.

 

– Authors are people, too.
Okay, so this one probably sounds a little weird, but as a lifelong reader who never thought she’d ever e-mail an author yet alone hang around hundreds, this was a big deal for me.  Meeting and hanging out with authors during this conference made me see just how approachable and human they are…they are just like me (but with better imaginations, talent, clothes, and shoes) and you.  They became more than a name on a page, website, or e-mail and became “real” to me.  That probably doesn’t make sense.  But it was nice to be able to meet people who brought some of my favorite characters to life for me and gave me some of my favorite adventures through their books.  I still think they all rock and they will always be my “rock stars” (you know, the people you’d wait in line for hours just to see…hmm…come to think of it, I did do that with some of these authors), but it was nice to just chat and be myself with them…no pressure.  I am a born loner so it was nice to chat with others in person.  It was also great to meet authors I have read or that I talk with online and see that they are real…LOL.

 

– Chocolate from Australia is delicious.

Okay, so I had to add this one and I must say that I fell in love with chocolate from Australia (thanks, Christine Wells) and Tim Tams are absolutely delicious (thanks, Denise Rosetti).  I had never tried them before and they were great.

 

– The RITA is very shiny and pretty in person.

After Terri Garey won the RITA for Best First Book (YAY!), I went to congratulate her and got a lovely up-close view of the award and I must say that it is shinier and much lovelier in person.  The pictures don’t do it justice.

 

– If you are sitting alone in the lobby, you might not be alone for long.

A couple of times during the week I was sitting by myself in the lobby when some authors pulled me into their little group or sat beside me to chat.  Of course, some of it had to do with the fact that they knew me from online and knew how nervous I was about the conference.  They really helped make me feel at ease.  But a couple of times it was authors or people I didn’t know and it was very nice.   Maybe they noticed the deer-in-the-headlights look and decided to take pity on me.  LOL

 

– You never know who might be sitting or standing next to you.
This kind of goes with the one above about being careful what you say or do, but it is a bit different…more fun and about the unexpected than a warning about behavior.  During the conference I stood and sat next to many people.  At luncheons I was amazed to find myself at tables with some of my favorite authors.  In lines, I stood with authors whose books I adored and people who had heard of my blog.  It was the unexpected encounters that really left an impression on me.  Here are a couple of examples…

            – I went outside with an online friend to take some pictures our last night there and noticed a group of people standing around.  They introduced me to one woman and my mind went blank.  It was Maureen Child…a fave author of mine.  I said, “I’ve read your books!”  She replied something like, “Thank you, I think, if you liked them, that is.” Embarrassed, I replied, “Oh, I loved them.  I keep forgetting to add that part.”  (And it was true…at that moment I realized that I had forgotten to add that I enjoyed the books several times when I met an author.  I am sure there are many wondering if I liked what I read…LOL).

I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home when someone sat down next to me.  She noticed my stuffed bunny (the one I had mentioned in previous posts who was to be my stand-in) had a shirt on that said “RWA 2008” (a gift from a friend) and asked me about the conference.  We chatted for a bit about the conference and flights and stuff I can’t remember before I even thought to introduce myself (bad me).  When she introduced herself, I was in shock…Sabrina Jeffries.  One of my fave authors…and I had been sitting there chatting with her and looking like a slob in my “travel home” clothes of sweats and a t-shirt.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little blogs about the conference.  Sorry I didn’t blog while I was gone or share more.  I don’t know if I’ll go next year or not, but we will see.

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8 Responses to Things I learned at the conference…part two

  1. azteclady says:

    Nice long response lost to a failing connection, so here’s the second (shorter) version: thank you for givings us a glimpse of an occasion few of us would experience first hand.

    And I really want to see your bunny with its cute t-shirt!

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Helen says:

    I am really enjoying all your tips Jennifer and so glad you enjoyed Australian chocolate and Tim Tams they are yummy

    Have Fun
    Helen

  3. Fedora says:

    How fabulous, Jennifer! I’m loving your observations, and I’m vicariously thrilled at how many authors you’ve had a chance to brush shoulders with 😉 Squee!!

  4. Liza says:

    Thanks for all the tips about the conference! I hope to make it to next year’s RWA in DC, and I know all your tips will help me out so much. Sounds like a great trip. What fun it must have been to be with all those authors, editors, and other readers.

  5. Jaci Burton says:

    Conference is exhausting. But always so much fun. Glad you had a great time!

  6. limecello says:

    That’s so nice – great post Jen. And… haha – TIM TAMS. Oh my goodness I love them! You can get them in the US – but it’s harder, and the place I found ships from TX so… 😦 – but hey, that’s closer to you!

  7. Jennifer, you’re so welcome! I loved hanging out with you in the lobby. Glad you like Australian chocolate. I’ll know what to bring to next year’s National conference!

  8. Oh, and have a FAB time at the beach!!

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