Some things I've learned by Maree Anderson (for Writers Gone Wild)
Sorry about the lateness of this post! I was busy polishing a manuscript and in the drive to get it finished (so I didn't have to look at it again for a while), the fact I was supposed to write a blog post slipped my mind... until about 11.30pm last night when I was setting my alarm for 6am this morning's hockey practice run. Ooops.
Last weekend I attended our annual Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference, and I figured rather than going on and on (and on! coz it was freaking amazing!!!) about it, I'd blog about some general stuff I've learned after attending nine writing conferences.
1) Take a bigger suitcase than you think you'll need. Or at least another carrybag on wheels. Because you WILL come back with more stuff than you left with. Books, anyone? Uh, yeah. And since I had to lug all my stuff from the hotel lobby, up in the lift, and then to my car, boy was I glad I had thought to bring along a carrybag that not only could be expanded to squeeze in more stuff, but was on wheels. But damn, it would have been heaps easier to pack up everything in the rush to check out if I'd just taken along a bigger suitcase and only had one piece of luggage to worry about.
2) The instant you check into your hotel room, check the bedside alarm. Why? Because the previous occupant will quite likely have set the damn alarm so it goes off waaaay too early the next morning... and it will take you at least five minutes (sometimes more!) with this damned thing getting louder and louder with every DONNNGGG! to figure out how to switch it off.
3) If the instructions on how to reset the alarm make absolutely no freaking sense whatsoever, and don't actually include instructions on how to stop the alarm from going off at all, call the concierge and get him to reset it for you. Try not to snicker when he can't figure it out either (Yes! Vindication!) and has to call in someone else.
4) The instant you get back into your room, RE-CHECK THE DAMN ALARM. Because, quite likely, they'll have somehow set the second alarm, so you'll get woken up early twice the next morning, instead of only once.
5) If you resort to yanking the alarm out of the wall (like I did), make sure you check before you turn in for the night that the helpful turn-down service people haven't plugged the damn thing back in. Sigh.
6) Check the shower nozzle BEFORE you turn on the shower. Nothing is more, um, startling? than having a stream of freezing cold water aimed straight at your cringing, still half asleep naked body. (This happened twice to me at one hotel, BTW. Yep. Whoever cleaned the shower aimed the shower-head straight out on an angle at some stage during cleaning and got me on two consecutive mornings. And I'm obviously a slow learner.)
7) Wear comfortable shoes... and underwear. Uh, yeah. 'Nuff said.
8) If you have allergies, they're bound to flare up during a hotel stay. It's, like, an immutable law of the universe. Make sure you bring plenty of antihistamines along with you.
9) Meeting new people is scary. If you arrive early, grab a book and wander into the lobby. You're bound to meet another like-minded person and be able to strike up a conversation. Some great and enduring friendships have been formed this way.
10) If foods you previously have been able to eat suddenly start giving you major grief, and it's too late to notify the hotel liaison (coz, like, it's the first day of conference and NOW you're having flareups and you're too damned scared to eat anything), you don't need to starve. Seek out the restaurant staff and explain. I ended up making very good friends with the chef and his staff. These guys were absolutely wonderful, and the "plain" lunches and dinners--and even a snack at the cocktail party at very short notice--they threw together for me were delicious. They were my heroes!
11) Catching up with friends is great, but fergodsakes if you're going to gossip, do it in a private place? It's a small world and you never know who'll overhear you.
12) At a themed party, if you're going to wear scary demon-red contact lenses, it might be an idea to warn people first? I'm speaking from experience... and possibly being responsible for a couple of people needing therapy based on their reactions.