Monday, July 15, 2019

What to Take to a Writing Conference

RWA is just around the corner (freaking out here!). 

In just over a week, I'll be flying to New York City for the annual conference. I can't wait! I'm also nervous, of course. 
Image result for rwa nyc
Whether you're going to RWA, ACFW, or another writing conference, here are some tips I've gleaned from others as well as my own, albeit limited, experience.

What to take in your tote bag/big purse?

  • Order business cards and any other printed promotional items early. Remember your business cards advertise your industry, which is YOU. Your card should include your name, tagline, and website information. Mine also includes a photo of me, my twitter handle, and my agent's contact info. If you do not have an agent, be sure to include your email address.
  • If you're pitching to an editor or agent, you'll need one-sheets. I am not pitching anything this conference, but when I do, I use Vistaprint to print my one-sheets of my proposals. 
  • Another tip? Memorize your elevator pitch. You never know when you'll have a chance to share it! I am not pitching anything, but I'm still memorizing something short and sweet to say about my newest proposal, just in case.
  • Promotions for the goody room, if desired. I have bookmarks to share with others in the Goody Room.
  • Something to keep business cards in--yours and the ones you receive. I put the ones I receive in a zipper pocket of my portfolio. You can also take photos of them with your phone.
  • Charge your phone battery/camera. You'll want to take pictures of friends and your favorite authors!
  • Snacks. Otherwise you'll stand in a huge line at the hotel Starbucks.
  • Sanitizer, lotion, etc.
  • $1 bills to tip with. There are a lot of people to tip: maids, airport shuttle drivers, cabbies, etc.
  • Something to take notes with--your laptop or a notepad. If you forget a pen, don't worry. There will be one or two (thousand) in the goody room. ;)

What to wear? 

 This varies by person, but here are my thoughts:
  • Business casual clothes. To some, this means denim; to others, it means skirt. You want to be comfortable and neat.
  • I turn into a Garanimal. I pick clothes in the same color family so if something happens to one pair of pants, the world doesn't end (my usual is black, red, beige, white). Hopefully, I also pack less clothes this way. This year, however, I need to take more clothes than usual because of the RITA gala (I'm a finalist so you bet I'm wearing something fancier than I normally would!) and the Harlequin party, which has a "vintage" theme due to Harlequin's 75th birthday. However, everything I'm wearing goes with black--so I can limit my shoes, purse, etc. No beige pants this year, baby!
  • Flat shoes, unless you're the type of person who is fine wearing heels all day long. I'm not.
  • A shawl. I learned the hard way at my first RWA that conference rooms can get cold. My sweaters weren't enough and I ended up buying a black shawl in the gift shop when I already had one at home. A shawl is nice because you can shove it into your bag, and if you need it, you can wrap it around you like a blanket.
  •  Also, remember your Bible, medications, water bottle, makeup, something to help you sleep, if necessary, and anything else you need to be cozy. Try to get some rest, too. At conference, there's always something going on. You have to say no to something. That's ok. Enjoy what you experience!


  1. YAY for something fancy for the RITA AWARDS!!! You will also get a special tag for your name badge so be sure to take a photo of that! WE ARE ALL in the cheering section for your Rita final!
    A trip to NYC can be so much fun, and this is certainly going to be a memorable conference for you! It will be fun to see what people wear to celebrate the 75th! how fun is that?

    1. YAY and Many Many Thanks to you, Deb, for reading through that book about a hundred times. You are an amazing crit partner and friend. :) Wish you could come with me! This will be a really fun time for me and I'm so excited to go!

  2. Have a great time! Congratulations and good luck!


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