As readers know, I spent last weekend at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Association’s annual Colorado Gold Writing Conference. This evening I joined the association, and I definitely plan to attend the conference again next year.
That said, permit me to share a few lessons learned from this year’s RMFW conference:
1. One door to the host hotel’s business center reads “PULL” and the other reads “PUSH.” Failure to read carefully will result in your being in temporarily trapped in the business center.
2. It is embarrassing to be caught in the (glass walled) business center with a “Writer’s Conference” name tag around your neck. (“Apparently, the fact that you write does not make you intelligent…”)
3. Staying up until midnight in the hospitality suite is not the best way to ensure attendance at the 7am continental breakfast table (but after enough margaritas, you won’t care about breakfast anyway).
4. The leg of the banquet table is always located at your seat, no matter which side of the table you sit on. (And the odds of you banging into it increase in direct proportion to the fullness of adjacent diners’ water and wine glasses.)
5. If you run out of business cards, just start handing out other people’s. (If the recipient seems suspicious, follow up with “I use a lot of pen names, so ‘They’ can’t find me.”)
6. When in doubt, look for the person with the “Ask me” ribbon. (Or stand in the hallways and yell “CURSE YOU RED BARON!” – which will also bring help, but possibly not the type you were hoping for.)
7. Find varied ways to introduce yourself. Start with “Hi, I’m [your name here], what do you write?” (If you get odd looks, you may want to consider using your actual name.) Less recommended (depending on your goals): “Hi, my name is [Name] and I’ll be your stalker today.”*
In all seriousness: the RMFW is possibly the most supportive writing group I have found thus far, and their conferences are not only worth attending for the classes but also for the amazing camaraderie and support. If you write, and you’re not familiar with them already, I can’t recommend them highly enough.
*As an aside: I actually did use this line once during the conference, gambling that the recipient would understand my slightly off-kilter sense of humor. She did, and it was probably the final nail in the proverbial coffin of my decision to join the group. That said, it’s probably not always the wisest choice, and probably figures among the Seven Habits of Highly Incarcerated People, so use at your own risk.