Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Write On Wednesday: What to Pack for the RWA National Conference

New York, New York! What to Pack for the RWA National Conference

As a fifteen-year veteran of National Conference and a sometime visitor to NYC, here's my advice.

Pack as lightly as you can. Airlines charge for extra baggage. Consider packing a zippered duffel or a flat rate priority mail box in the bottom of your suitcase for the extra books you may bring home.


How you define "comfortable shoes" depends on your tolerance for pain and for fashion. But I suggest packing
Athletic shoes (if you plan to walk in Central Park or spend an afternoon shopping or at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or even to hit the treadmill) It's faster, cheaper and more fun to walk around NYC than to sit in traffic.
Dress shoes – These are your go-to shoes, the ones that look good and go with most of your wardrobe and won't give you blisters when your feet swell
Flats or sturdy sandals – In case you're wrong about the blisters
Killer heels – For awards night or morale

"Business casual"

Black slacks. Come on, this is New York.
2-4 blouses with a pop of color to go with the slacks and the jeans. Not T-shirts, not sweatshirts, for God's sake nothing with a saying on it. Silk is good.
A dress. Maybe two. Black is good. Not too short, not too tight. Think comfort and cool.
Layering pieces. In case you feel too cool. A jacket/blazer to dress up the slacks (especially for those editor/agent appointments) and a lightweight cardigan.

Play clothes
To sleep, lounge, exercise in
T-shirts, dark jeans and/or a summer skirt are good for sightseeing.

Dress up clothes

1-2 outfits that make you feel fabulous.
One for publishers' parties and one for awards night. Even if you're skipping on the parties, we're in NYC (Okay, maybe this is only a thrill for me because I'm from North Carolina). Treat yourself to a nice dinner out and celebrate everything you've accomplished!

Other stuff

Costume jewelry – arty earrings, a chunky necklace, a cuff, something with personality
Socks, underwear
Scarves to change things up
Before you pack the pantyhose, check out the latest buzz in the pantyhose wars
Camera (If you don't know how to use the one on your phone, this is a great time to learn.)
Ear plugs and/or breathe right strips if your roommate snores. Or if you do.
A really small umbrella (only if you have room).

A fanny pack screams "tourist." If you want to get around with your hands free (and you don't mind digging under your clothes) consider a money belt.
If your phone doesn't map, print off your likely walking and subway routes so you feel comfortable exploring.
Ibuprofen, tummy meds, personal products. Yes, you can buy them there. Do you really want to go looking at 2:00 in the morning?

Something—bookmark, trading card, postcard, business card--with your name, email address, website and/or book cover to give to total strangers and pass around the conference lunch table.
A business card with your real name, email address, telephone number and snail mail address to give to editors, agents, and close personal friends. You can write the name of your manuscript on the back.

If you are a past or present RITA or Golden Heart finalist , don't forget to pack your award pins! This is your chance to look like the military leader of a small third world country.

Fellow veterans and native New Yorkers, what would you add to the list? What would you leave off? If this is your first conference, what do you want to know?


Sonja Foust said...

Great advice! I'm filing this away for next year. ;)

Danielle Meitiv said...

Great list. I'm a native New Yorker, but in June/July even I would leave the black slacks at home. (Then again I'm more of a cute dress type anyway...) Love the artsy jewelry and shoe recommendations!

And don't worry about the 'rude' New Yorkers. Most are happy to give directions or recommendations - as long as you're not standing in the middle of the sidewalk, gawking at the skyscrapers during rush hour!

See you in the Big Apple!

Gina/Katherine said...

A notebook for the workshops and small bills for tipping! Make sure you have a sweater or jacket. Sometimes the a/c is set at arctic and other times at saharan. Be prepared for either temp.

Valerie Bowman said...

Your cell phone charger.

Virginia Kantra said...

Sonja, thanks! (You're not doing conference? :( )

Absolutely, Danielle! I've always found New Yorkers very long as I don't come to a dead stop in the middle of Penn Station to admire the ceiling!

Gina, yes on the small bills!

How could I have left cell phone charger off the list?! Valerie, thank you!