Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Handy Dandy Conference Scheduler

I just got back from a wonderful trip to the beach. Gulf Shores in southern Alabama was fantastic! The beaches were beautiful this year, the weather was glorious and oh! how I basked in the sun, taking in all the sunshine I could get! There is something about the rhythmic soothing sound of waves, a cooling breeze fluttering a beach umbrella above your head, and a good book, like Lynn Raye Harris' BEHIND THE PALACE WALLS. (If you haven't read it yet, run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore!)

But as with every vacation, the relaxation and laziness must end. So it is that I've returned home, switching my attention to the main event that fills every romance writer with expectant bliss (expecially this one), RWA Conference.

Conference is coming almost a month early this year. I'm sure the date change has everyone running hither and yon. There is so much to do to get ready, packing lists to make, clothing to sort or buy, shoes (the ever incredible staple of life) to match those outfits day and night, shopping for practical things and most of all, referring to my Handy Dandy Conference Spreadsheet to keep me on task.

Yes, I know RWA has a really good agenda page up this year and I'm using it too, but I couldn't help plugging my spreadsheet. For me, there is something very linear about gazing upon the color-coordinated phases and blocked days that helps me figure out where I need to be when. At a glance, I'm able to tell what time an event begins, what that event is, and if there will be a conflict with any of the workshops I've chosen to attend. And, because I know spur of the moment ideas creep into my head, I've also got space for 3 choices of workshops. This always keeps me on task because if I find I really don't need one particular workshop, I can simply look at my spreadsheet and see where else I need to be at that time.

If I want to attend a booksigning or a spotlight on a particular publishing house, that information is on my spreadsheet too. If you'd like to use my spreadsheet at conference this year, I'm more than happy to share it with you. Everything is in Excel. Adjusting the spreadsheet can be easily done by copying the cells in one row and then pasting those copied cells into the right place. After that, you can adjust the typing, add your event, and so forth.

Send me a request at: kathybone@aol.com and I'll make sure you get a copy.

What tips do you have for going to conference or taking a trip to NYC?


  1. Room with Kathy so you can just be lazy and look at her spread sheet.

    No wait. When I first get there, I unpack and iron what needs to be ironed. I also iron my roommates clothes. It's little enough that I can do since I have no sense of direction and they have to help me until I finally figure it all out.

    I make shower schedule to hang on the bathroom door and, the night before, we each fill in when we need to leave the room and when we plan to get in the shower.

    I set myself up a mirror on my bedside table with a few basics--contact case, moisturizer, cell phone charger. I don't take over the whole thing. Just a little corner. I can go there and get out of everyone's way, just like Cinderella by the hearth.

    This is Stephanie's rule. Every night we have to put a pair of hard soled shoes by the bed with a flashlight in one of them. If we forget, she'll get up and do it for us. This is in case of fire, bombing, or ,well, I don't know what else.

  2. My tip for going to conference is the same tip I would give for any other trip. Do your homework. In other words, look at the schedule of events and workshops BEFORE you leave your house because once you get to conference it is all so exciting that it is often difficult to focus, at least for me. If you know you are targeting a particular editor or agent, see what you can find about out about them. The internet is a wonderful place to seek out information on all types of people and companies. I certainly don't mean that you should stalk them but my theory is that if it is out on the world wide web they must be okay with me knowing it. Pictures are especially helpful!

    To me the second part of doing your homework is to look at the venue where the conference is going to be held. Check out maps of the venue and the area around it BEFORE you leave home. After you get to the hotel or conference center I recommend that you explore exits and make a plan for getting out quickly if you need to, including having hard soled shoes and a flashlight beside your bed!

    I have used this plan for several years and it works for me! My theory is that if I do all of my homework then I am more likely to succeed!

  3. Jean, your shower schedule is fantastic! It has actually helped us get ready in record time and made the task easy. ;)

    Stephanie, you are one of the most prepared people I know. I'd never heard about putting a flashlight in your shoes until you told me to do it. LOL!

    I also love the research you mention. You do a fantastic job with that as well. ;)

  4. Looks interesting. You know me and spreadsheets... I think it's because I am a spacial thinker - I can't follow them. I am also a fly-by-the-seat-of my pants kind of girl. Works sometimes and then not others. I admire you for your preparedness. I just wish someone would help me!!!

  5. I have used the new agenda scheduler on the RWA site. It's great, but I had to fill in some stuff by hand. I never thought to put a flashlight in a pair of shoes next to the bed just in case of fire/bombing, but I will now!

    And I do have a flexible plan in place for how/when/what I will do.

    Here is a tip: leave time for down time and doing NOTHING. It's important to recharge the batteries!

    See you at the conference!