International Conference Survival Tips - by The Conference Junkie

Time for another confession from the Conference Junkie.

It’s hard to type because I’m still shaky from the lingering caffeine/wine concoction in my blood stream that has replaced the normal plasma. My mind is dried out play-doh. I am a husk of a person. All this can only mean one thing for a Conference Junkie: The big crash after a big hit.

Well, 'HI' to you too, Donna
And not just any hit, but the hit-of-hits. As you know, the LA conference wrapped up at the beginning of this week. On Monday, approximately 1,300 kid-lit authors stumbled, blinking madly, out of the Hyatt and into the smog-colored SoCal sun (a.k.a The Real World). We were still experiencing the aftermath of the full conference high where day and night streamed into a constant haze. Exhaustion and mind-overload were balanced by coffee, booze, or a combination of the two. The whole world condensed into California level, Olympic I meeting room, waiting for the escalator, and the *Bux line.

Quick summary: Good times. Good times.

And how did this one Conference Junkie do? Fantastic. This year, I managed to remain ~7% human by the end and it makes me proud. See, while most conferences are two days max, LA is a four-day marathon. And last year, it almost wiped me out.
Buffoon or Baboon? Wait, don't answer that.
How did I manage such a crown achievement? By applying a number of techniques I learned as a result from 2010’s near-death-experience. Without further chatter – Here are my INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE SURVIVAL TIPS:

  • Don’t try to do everything. This year, I missed keynotes, breakouts, and parties (yikes). I didn’t get to talk with all my favorite people enough. I even took a nap one afternoon. Part of me feels guilty, however, it helped me be more aware and enjoy the moments I did attend.
  • Make sure to eat. Many gave me this advice on my wedding day and it holds true for conferences too. It’s easy to get distracted and miss meals…but your brain (and soul) needs nibbles, if only to counteract the caffeine and booze.
  • Find alone time. There are people everywhere. All the time. And they’re all of the same wavelength, so it’s easy to chat and chat and chat. The problem is: you are likely introverted (not to judge, I am too). Sure, we’re fun – check out the dancing pics – but introverts *need* quiet time to recharge the batteries. Don’t deny yourself.
  • Dance at the party. Even if you look like a baboon or buffoon or some hybrid of the two (or super suave - like me, you'll have fun).
  • Bring tissue. The carpets in the main ballroom need to be cleaned badly and they constantly made me all misty-eyed. Mind you: the almost-tears had NOTHING to do with the fact that…
    • Judy Blume was so amazing that I couldn’t write the quotes down fast enough (like how she wants her tombstone to read: Are you there God? It's me, Judy.)
    • Or that Libba Bray might be the funniest person on the planet (Quiet down, tongue).  
    • Or I could listen to Gary Paulsen all day. (While he was describing running the Iditarod, he slipped in lines like ‘When I write, the hair on the back of my neck stands’).
    • Or Laurie Halse Anderson being so inspirational that I had to restrain from clapping most of the time (paraphrased: the seed of creativity whirs within you; it must take root for the writer to truly be healthy and happy).
Katy feelin' the groove
Simple stuff, right? But powerful.

In conclusion…another hit – another LA - another year gone. Yes, I’m pooped (I think all The Muses are), but lived to tell the tale. So take this advice to heart, dear Readers, and you too shall live through LA in 2012! See ya there!

Speaking of heart – and because I am DYING to find out – if you picked up a HEART ME! I WRITE FOR KIDS button/bookmark at the conference, comment on this blog post. And remember, any comment on YA Muses will get you a chance to win an ARC of UNDER THE NEVER SKY


I wasn't present at the LA conference, though I attended the Maui Screenwriting Retreat which sounded similar. I think you gave some sound advice, especially the nap! I had to take a nap at Niagara, and that was a two day event, three if you count arrival and departure time which should be included, in my humble opinion, there is plenty of networking on those planes, trains and automobiles. By the way, love the baboon/buffoon pic!

Judy Blum and Laurie Halse Anderson!? OMG! Wow!

I needed your 'remember to eat' advice last Friday. It's so easy to forget about food when there are so many more important things to see and do!
I *do* have a <3 button. It's pinned to my corkboard, right in front of my computer. :)

Good times, indeed. And I'm going to count myself as one of those favorite people, damn it. ;) I, too, have the bookmark and the button of awesomeness. They help keep the seed whirring.

Janis, naps are essential. For sure. Thanks for the kind words on looking like a Buffoon.

Melly, it. was. awesome.

Amy, thanks for displaying the button proudly.

Julie, you too. And it's sad we didn't get to hang out more. :(

Wow - thanks for the vicarious experience! *jealous* Love all this info.

Good times indeed! The Muses will forever be a part of some wonderful memories!

I wish I could have gone to the conference and meet Judy Blume. Living outside the US kinda sucks..

You guys are so lucky! I would DIE to meet those authors, but Aussie-land is pretty far away...
Anyways, sounds like you had an awesome time, and maybe i'll get ther one day :D

A friend who attended the conference brought me the pin and the bookmark. I love them. They work for picture book writers too.
Appreciate your remarks on the conference. Wish I could have gone.

Post a Comment

Grid_spot theme adapted by Lia Keyes. Powered by Blogger.


discover what the Muses get up to when they're not Musing

an ever-growing resource for writers

Popular Musings

Your Responses

Fellow Musers