Open the File

IMG_8013“Just open the file,” I tell myself. It’s been so long since I touched the manuscript, I barely remember it. It’s pretty likely to be a confusing mess. I don’t write clean plots the first time through. Or the second. Maybe not ever. I’m not sure I’ll be able to fix it. I’m not sure I want to know if I can’t.

“Just open the file.”

Confession: I haven’t touched my manuscript since Colorado Gold last September. There were too many head shakes at the conference. Too many “tough sell” comments. Too many frightening statistics.

And I came back to an email. That well-known author who’d told me my book was ready to shop? Who’d sent me an encouraging list of agents? She’d read the pages again, having completely forgotten she’d already edited them once. She had completely different things to say. The same pages that, months ago, had no major issues were now riddled with flaws. Never mind that I’d just (with her permission) name-dropped her when I pitched her agent. Never mind that I’d been about to send off my requested pages and synopsis. It wasn’t ready, after all. I closed the file.

“Just open the file.”

All I have to do is open it. Read through what I’ve written. See if it’s worth it. It seems so simple.

But it’s not.

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What To Pack For a Writers’ Conference

What To Pack For a Writing Conference

The real answer, of course, is I have no idea, but Colorado Gold starts tomorrow, so I’m figuring it out.

Here’s what’s in my bag:

  • Clothes, shoes, and toiletries. Dress code is business casual, so I have slacks and skirts, along with something to work out in, because I always have the best of intentions. I’m bringing heels and flats and running shoes. I have a whole suitcase to myself, so ALL THE SHOES.
  • Business cards. I love my new cards, which have both my personal info and my shop URL. If I’m going to be following Susan Spann’s Twitter challenge of meeting and remembering at least three new people a day, I’m going to need them.Writer Business Cards
  • A notebook and pens. I always have a notebook and pens, but these, specifically, are for note-taking during conference sessions.
  • The first chapter of my novel, printed out. I didn’t bring the whole novel, except on my laptop, but I thought it might be handy to have Chapter 1 in hard copy.
  • Books. Sure, it’s going to be a full weekend, but books.
  • My annotated schedule and session handouts. No wifi in the conference center and many of the sessions have digital-only handouts.
  • Healthy snacks. I started getting shipments from graze.com last week and they come in handy, single-serving packets, perfect for afternoon pick-me-ups.
  • Laptop. I’m kind of using it right now, but I’ll bring it.
  • Water bottle. Here in Colorado, we carry water bottles everywhere. It’s a thing.
  • Phone and earbuds. Always.

So…what have I forgotten? (Or just stay tuned next week for the inevitable “What I Wished I’d Packed For a Writers’ Conference.”)