Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Monday, July 19, 2010


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?


  1. Plotter. I don't pack a lot in advance, usually the day before, but I do plan what I will wear. I also keep a toiletry bag packed with duplicates of the things I use - that way I don't forget essentials (I'd really hate to forget my makeup and scare everyone witless!) My husband packs the morning of the trip, throwing things in his suitcase while I sit and wait. He never forgets anything! I, on the other hand even with my careful planning of outfits, usually find I didn't pack enough clothes. My motto is: they do have stores where I am going so if I forget anything I get to shop!

  2. I know what I will bring to wear and keep a list on file. But when I wear it doesn't matter. I am most concerned about toiletries and makeup. I dread losing my makeup. I am in a bit of jam cause I still don't have a dress for the GH/Rita Ceremony and I don't want to try on clothes. Could be a problem--got to hit the stores this week.

  3. I finally got around to checking the airline info and found out my carry on was too big. I've yet to dig the big suitcase out from the bottom of my daughters closet. (I hope it's the right size!) So, I guess my answer is no. I have not packed anything. But...I do have a rolling clothes rack and part of my outfits are hanging there ready for the suitcase. Does that make me a plotster? ;)
    I am the proverbial procrastinator, but I'm working hard to get all my stuff together by this weekend. I'm excited and nervous so I hope I don't forget to pack the really important stuff! ;-D

  4. As far as packing goes, I'm somewhat in the middle. I've made lists in the past, but most of the time the list is in my head, like my plots. I usually pack the night before. Sadly, I won't be attending conference, but all of you will be in my thoughts.

  5. Cheryl--I know about waiting on a man. No matter where we are going, he can claim to be ready an hour before I am, yet I am the one standing at the back door. But, like your husband, The Guy does pack for himself. Lots of men don't.

    Christine--You could wear what you wore last year. I know. I know. People have fainted all over the county; people have turned over in graves. But if you don't want to shop. Who will remember. I love you and I don't remember what you wore. I barely remember what I wore.

    Sherry, It'll be fine. Whatever you forget Stephanie will have three of. Since you're rooming with her, it'll be easy to steal.

    Crystal--We will miss you!

  6. Conference time! I love it. Writers get this aura about them this time of year. Excitement fills the air, along with nervous jitters visible to bystanders who observe that fanatical sparkle in the eye that cannot be accounted for. RWA women know the look well and acknowledge it with a graceful nod. :D

    I love to look at lists, but I also have a habit of leaving them on the counter, in the car or I forget to look at them. ~sigh~ I haven't figured out what I'm wearing yet, though I have sort of an idea. The only thing I'm sure of is what I'm wearing to the Rita ceremony. I like to follow Smarty Pant's list. She posted her Magical, Mystery List on www.writingplayground.com this past Friday.

    Jean: The guy is awesome!

    Sherry: I'm astounded. Are there measurements for my suitcase to follow? I've never worried about that before. :(

    Sherry: As Jean said, you don't have anything to worry about. Your roomies will take care of you. ;)

    Cheryl: My hubby packs his own bags too, and prefers it that way. He says I will make him arrive without what he needs because I tend to forget stuff, even with a list.

    Christine: E-mail me. What size do you wear? I've got a dress that would look perfect on you!

    Crystal: You must do this with us soon, girl. ;)

  7. I know what I'm wearing for every moment of every day. Clothes, jewelry, underwear, shoes. It's been planned for weeks, though I do some fine tuning here and there. I am a conference plotter. I learned this from the Playground peeps when I went to my first conference in 2007. I learned all about packing lists, clothes, lists, etc. And I have followed it every year since.

    Certainly makes packing for conference easier than writing one of my books. ;)

  8. I'm definitely a plotter, in all areas. :) Though things have been so hectic this summer that I haven't completed my packing list yet. But I have a general idea of what will be on it. Must. Do. That.... tomorrow? :)

  9. Kathy--I might be wrong that there is no one more ready than I am. I think you may be.

    Lynn--You always look so pretty and put together. I think I rely to heavily on the sparkle powder.

    Danniele--You? Don't have a list yet? Say it ain't so!

  10. Jean, I'm confused. LOL! Am I ready?

  11. Well, I must say that in all of our travels you have never once failed to arrive with a suitcase full of stuff. I suppose that means that your style works but it sometimes can make me nervous that you will have nothing to wear except crop pants, argyle socks and keds. The older I get, though, the more "panster-like" I become with regard to packing. I figure you can always buy whatever it is that you left behind when you get to your destination.

  12. Kathy--Ready meaning you are eagerly anticipating.

    OF--I will regret the longest day I live that I did not just go ahead and go naked on that fateful day in Scotland when I had nothing left except crop pants and argyle socks. That is not a fashion choice I would normally make. I am never, ever going to live it down. But if it had been a few days later, no one would have been able to tell what I was wearing because I could have hidden behind your hair.

  13. I tend to make lists. Mostly to appease my daughter who insists on inspecting my wardrobe before I pack. She's great at putting stuff together and I enjoy the fashion show. Hubby, however, pretends to not know what to pack- he has khaki pants and jeans in his closet. How difficult can it be? He throws things in his bag 10 minutes before we walk out the door, and about 5 minutes after I've told him I'm leaving without him.
    Wish I was going to Orlando with everyone - I'll be waiting to hear all about it!

  14. Cathy: Wish you were going with us too. One of these years, we'll get you to conference!

    Okay, now I need to make a list. I'm starting to get nervous...

  15. Cathy--I wish you were going too. But we'll bring back lots of stories.

  16. I do want to point out that this is the first time I have ever publicly ridiculed you about the socks - actually would never have noticed on my own! As long as we get to go to Scotland again, your argyle can be shorts for all I care!