Romance writers from all over the civilized world are all a twitter--literally and figuratively. It's that time again: Romance Writers' of America's National Conference. This will be my third. After wonderful conferences in San Francisco and Washington DC, I was looking forward to taking a little road trip for the conference that was to be held at the Opryland Hotel. Well. A little visit from Mother Nature took care of that in the form of a flood. Like the South, the Opryland will rise again but not in time for the onslaught of over 2000 writers, ranging from Nora Roberts and Linda Howard to someone with a vague story idea and a dream.
So look out, Mickey. Orlando here we come.
"Are you ready?" everyone is asking. Well, I certainly am. There in no one more ready than me. I can't wait. What's not to like? I'm going to have a five day slumber party with some of my favorite people. I'm going to get to hear authors I admire impart wisdom. I'm going to see people I haven't seen since last year. Stephanie and I have some great pitch appointments. I'm going to a pirate show. I'm going to get to sparkle up my face and go an awards dinner. Who wouldn't be ready?
But, see, people who ask, "Are you ready?" aren't really asking if I am eagerly anticipating the conference. They want to know if I am packed.
I am not. Nor do I have a list. Nor am I going to make one. I don't worry about packing and I never do it until the last minute. This has been a point of concern and, sometimes, contention among my traveling companions. Once, when we were going to Europe for two weeks, I thought Oldest Friend was going to have apoplexy because I would not pack. The Guy has been known to ask numerous times, "Is your bag ready to come downstairs." He always says it sweetly but what he really means is: "For God's sake! Will you put your freaking clothes in the suitcase?"
Yet, I always get where I'm going on time with what I need. Never once have I made anyone late. Do I ever forget anything? Occasionally, but never anything major and my forgetfulness rate is no higher than that of those who pack in advance.
In my defense, I've traveled a lot, so I can pack in my sleep. I keep up with the laundry and the dry cleaning, so everything is always pretty much ready. I have duplicates of my toiletries that stay packed.
Now, Stephanie, plotter that she is, has a plan. She knows what she's going to wear every minute of every day. We even had a fashion show. Then we went up to my closet room. (Yes, I have a whole room. California Closets made it happen for me. Go ahead. Make fun of me. I don't care.) There we explored the pantster style of packing. I jerked some stuff off the racks and some shoes off their precious little shelves and said, "I was thinking about these. I'll decide what to wear when, when I get there."
It didn't faze her. She doesn't care if I live like that as long as she doesn't have to.
How about you? When preparing for a trip, are you a plotter or a pantster?