Next week I’ll be heading out to Chicago to attend the annual conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, or AWP.
I’ve attended many writing conferences – the New York Roundtable Writers’ conference twice, Book Expo America (BEA) twice, and AWP once, the time it was in New York – and to tell you the truth, they all start to blend together. What makes BEA special is that the give away lots of books. If you attend the right sessions, you can walk away with a dozen advance copies. But otherwise the sessions are kind of the same thing over and over again.
So why am I even going? Because MB is going too. He’s spoken at and attended a zillion conferences for his industry, but he’s never gone to a writing one, nor have we attended once together. Our first conference – how romantic!
Even more exciting is how we’re getting there. That’s right, we’re taking a two day, two night train ride from San Francisco to Chicago – and back! So if we have a terrible time on our way out, we’re shit out of luck.
To prepare myself, I searched for images of what our “roomette” will look like. I was picturing something out the Hogwarts Express, but it’s more like Hogwarts Express divided by two:
Pretty cozy! MB has already claimed the top bunk, thank goodness, though we could always switch on the second night. The roomette will probably be too cramped for both of us to hang out in there for too long. Luckily there’s a dining car where, I’m assuming, we can work in between meals. And I imagine our hotel room will seem enormous in comparison.
Another reason I’m looking forward to the conference is the chance to network, or at least to practice my (terrible) networking skills. At previous conferences, I was only interested in the sessions and acted anti-social. This time I hope to talk to at least one new person each day, and to be all social at two events I’ve been invited to.
Finally, I can’t wait to ditch the last day and tool around the city with MB, even if it’s freezing. I’m hoping it won’t be though.