Thursday, July 21, 2011

When it Was All Over

By the end of the conference, I had to fit 21 books in my small carry-on bag. It is a great source of pride that I was able to pack every single thing and bring it all home. I didn’t even leave my shampoo.
This is going to sounds really stupid, but my maiden name is “Packham,” and for generations, my family has been known for packing things into small spaces. It’s a gift.

That whole weekend, I had felt elated. It was like a taste of the life I was always meant to live, the one I'm going to have someday.

But as I checked out of the hotel, I felt a surge of nausea over the things I didn’t get to do. There were authors I wanted to meet but couldn’t find, panels I couldn’t attend, and friends I never said goodbye to.

No matter how many places I went and how many people I spoke to, there would always be one thing I couldn’t do.

They say you should live without regrets, but I disagree. That mindset would drive me crazy. Opportunities pass us by, we make mistakes, and sometimes we’re just too tired to keep up. Instead of living with no regrets, I want to always be able to say to myself, “At least I did everything I could do.” And I did.

Speaking of missed opportunities, there was a waiting list at the pitch sessions in case writers didn’t show up. I was shocked. Why on earth would someone not show up to a pitch session? Talking face-to-face with an agent is a precious opportunity.

A fellow writer said she thought it was because they chickened out. I have a hard time believing that. I would rather puke on an agent’s shoes than stand her up.

That would actually be great advertising. People would point at you all weekend and say, “Isn’t that the girl that puked on Kevon Lyon’s shoes? That’s so funny. It’s admirable that she tried to pitch when she was that nervous, though. What does she write about, anyway?”

Then if Kevon became your agent, you’d have a flippin’ awesome story to tell about how you two met. And isn’t making good stories what life is all about?

Thanks for following my conference series! I hope you enjoyed it. The conference was an incredible experience, and I'm glad I was able to share some of it with you.


  1. Ah! Look at all those books! (Swoon)

    It sounds like an amazing experience. Can't wait till I make it to my first conference. Any suggestions?

    Hey, I figure if you're that nervous that you puke on someone, that means you really, really care. If you weren't nervous, then you'd have a reason to be nervous ;)

  2. I didn't think of it that way before... it's meaningful puke!

    If you want suggestions, I don't know if you read my article about preparation, but you might find it useful:

  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm at the beginning stages as a writer. I won't be going to a conference any time soon, but it always helps to plan ahead a bit. You've created a valuable resource and I appreciate that.

    Good luck with your writing career. You rock!


  4. I love your vision of how to handle puking on the agent's shoes with grace! And a wonderful take on the end-of-conference experience. Makes me want to go back and read your other posts.

  5. Books! -salivates-

    I just realized that when I stopped by yesterday I forgot to tell you I'd given you an award.

  6. Sounds like you had a great time. I am so jealous, but so glad you shared it with us all!

    Did you have to walk onto the plane pretending that your hand luggage didn't weigh anything at all? I'm an expert at that! "This, no, this hand luggage is stuffed with tissue paper and clouds! My fingers aren't turning white at all!"

  7. Brooke - Thank you so much!

    Jen - I couldn't lift my bag into the overhead bins and had to ask a guy to do it for me. As we sat down, I said, "So... you're probably wondering what on earth is in that bag." I could tell he was dying to know but was too polite to ask.

  8. And I thought my luggage was heavy with books! You definitely had me beat in terms of number of books by more than two to one judging from that photo!

    A great series of posts, Teralyn. I enjoyed them all. I hope to see you again at the next conference!


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