We’re having our SCBWI-MI fall conference this weekend. I’ve been to over a dozen live writing conferences in different states. I’ve also been co-chair of four of them. I’ve attended on-line writers conferences as well. After all this time and experience, I rather know what to expect. I should rather say, I ought to know by now what to expect. Here’s what I expect for this weekend.
* That I will greet old friends, and make bunches of new ones – all of us gathered by a shared interest and hope.
* That one of these writer friends will tell me: 1) if I put my sweater on tag-side out; or 2) if my shoes don’t match, from getting dressed in the dark; or 3) that before I slip away for a critique, to be sure I remove the spinach dangling from between my teeth or pumpkin smear on my cheek.
* That I remember to bring extra pens in case my favorite one runs out of ink. I also take a water bottle, a watch, and business cards, and sometimes even remember to hand out the cards.
* That I will have one manuscript (possibly more) polished enough to pitch.
* That when I practice my elevator pitches, I mentally delete each “um” and “well, then…” and “ya know?” and remember to keep such phrases deleted when my mouth lays a patch at the intersection of Conversation Street and Nervous Lane.
* That I take cash-only for book purchases v.s. my credit card, which doesn’t light up when I’ve exceeded our monthly food budget.
* That I don’t pass out when I come face-to-face with an editor or agent. First impressions count.
* That I will take away gobs of information for my personal writing craft improvement.
* That after an attending editor or agent asks for a partial or a full, I’ll be business-like-delighted, but not so elated-ecstatic-happy that I’ve forgotten where I parked my car.