How to Rock a Writer’s Conference Before It Starts

Exactly one week from today I’ll be in New York for Backspace, a two-day conference limited to 100 writers with only literary agents/editors in small workshops. I am equal parts excited and nauseous at the thought of doing this on my own, without a Restless Writer or Word Bitch to hold my hand.

Luckily, all of these ladies have been to conferences in the past and briefed me on what to bring and expect while I’m there. But what about all of my non-conference time? I’ll be in New York City for three days—I can’t just hide in my room!

This is why I’ve made some plans. They are neither writerly nor particularly touristy, but they give me something to look forward to besides the conference (plus, the anticipation of these distractions keep me from freaking out about the reason I’m in NY…agents!…ack!)

I land on Wednesday morning, but the conference doesn’t begin until Thursday. I’m not staying at the hotel, so I can’t easily troll the bar lobby for fellow attendees. Instead, I’ll be at an exercise class.

Before you slam your laptop closed in disgust, hear me out. This isn’t just any exercise class: it’s Physique 57, beloved by Sofia Vergara and Christy Turlington, among others. I’ve been using the DVDs for months and can’t wait to take a class in person. This will also alleviate any potential guilt when I scarf my way through Manhattan.

On Wednesday night I’m going to The Upright Citizen’s Brigade, which was founded by Amy Poehler and some friends over ten years ago. It offers sketch comedy and improv shows every night for five dollars, and no two shows are alike.

Many actors from 30 Rock (Kenneth! Lutz!), The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Saturday Night Live got their start at UCB. It’s not uncommon for celebrities such as Tina Fey or Steve Carell to jump on stage unannounced. I’m going to a show featuring writers from Conan who will be performing new material in advance his show taping in New York the following week.

Thursday evening has been left open on my itinerary for hanging with conference peeps, but if that doesn’t pan out I heard that Hugh Jackman is previewing his one-man show that night…

New York is the city that doesn’t sleep and for three days next week, neither will I.



Filed under Author events, Inspiration, Motivation, Starting up, Trials and Tribulations

12 responses to “How to Rock a Writer’s Conference Before It Starts

  1. Oh my I am SO jealous (of everything except the exercise class. Sweating in rooms with mirrors makes me twitch).

    PLEASE tell us how it goes and I’m sending heaps (mounds? gobs?) of positive energy your way.

    You WILL rock this conference.
    Because I did NOT use all this excessive capitalization for nothing.


  2. Super duper excited for you! The woowoo tells me you will come home with an agent, I mean, don’t bring one home with you….but anyway, you know what I mean! I’m with Julie on this one (and the use of CAPS). It WILL happen!

  3. Trish Loye Elliott

    I’m totally excited for you too! I so want to go with you. Unfortunately at siwc I learned my novel isn’t even close to being ready. I can’t wait to hear about it. You’re gonna be great. I don’t have woowoo but my spidey senses are tingling. 1 week, baby!!!!

    • Lori Dyan

      I think you should use this upcoming year to whip your WIP into shape and go next November! That was the goal I gave myself last Spring and here I am…

  4. Love your plans for fun stuff to do during the non-conference hours. On Saturday when the conference is over, my daughter-volunteer-assistant and I are going to take a helicopter tour over Manhattan. I love New York!

    Can’t wait to see you there, and honestly – don’t be nervous! Agents are just people like you and me, and all of ours are really REALLY nice (or they wouldn’t want to come, you know?). They also want the same thing you do: to find a terrific project!

  5. Vanessa Shields

    I love the Big Apple! Have fun – in and out of the conference. If you’re in need of a delicious cupcake, visit Magnolia Bakery.

    Let us know how it goes…as I’m sure you will!

    We’re with ya!

    • Lori Dyan

      Thanks, Vanessa! Funny you should mention cupcakes…I have a friend flying in to see me this weekend and in her honour I found a bakery that specializes in gluten-free cupcakes. I ordered a dozen. For some reason, ‘gluten-free’ translates into ‘calorie-free’ in my mind… 🙂

  6. Elena Aitken

    SQUEE! I can’t wait to hear all about it. It sounds awesome, and you barely even mentioned the conference yet!

  7. Pingback: I Need Lipo. For My Head. | Lori Dyan

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