Conference Junkies Anonymous

Hi.  My name is Micki and I’m a conference junkie.

Hello, Micki.  (Must be said in monotone chorus by fellow junkies.)

Who are we kidding?  There’d be nothing anonymous or monotonous about our meetings.  Chances are we conference junkies would be all about welcoming anyone and everyone to come to our meetings.  In case you couldn’t tell, I am a bit of a social butterfly.  I wasn’t always like that.  I always wanted to be part of the action, but in my teen years, I was afraid of saying something stupid.  I obviously no longer have that fear, and believe me, I still say stupid stuff.  Heck, for all I know, you read this blog just to see what stupid stuff I might say.  🙂

It doesn’t matter what kind of conference as long as it’s one that I have an interest in attending.  See, you didn’t have to wait long for the stupid stuff.  That sentence was a big fat, “DUH!”  What I meant before my inner dialogue so rudely interrupted was that I have no interest in attending the (runs to look through hubby’s junk mail pile) “Comprehensive Training Course on Acupuncture for Physicians.”  However, if I were a single gal, hoping to hook up with some doc and totally into that holistic medicine stuff, I’m thinking that conference might be worth my hard earned money.  Or at least worth the cost of the hotel it is being hosted in.

This summer, as I did last summer, I will attend two conferences in July.  One for my jewelry business and the Romance Writers of America annual conference.  Both of them are large concentrations of women.  Both of them will have workshops to help me succeed or improve my business/craft.  Both will provide plenty of networking opportunities.  And both pretty much have the same wardrobe requirements, though it’s not the end of the world if I leave my jewelry at home for the writer conference.  I have met so many wonderful people through conferences.  In fact, that’s where I first met our own Jillian Chantal!

In my former life as a high school teacher, I attended a couple of conferences.  (I’m not talking about parent-teacher conferences.  That’s just a meeting and lacks the fun factor of what I define as a conference.)  Yes, math teachers can have fun.  And no, we don’t sit around doing the Pythagorean Theorem…unless someone needs a drink from the bar and we’re calculating the fastest way to get there.  Our guest speaker was a NASA astronaut on one of the space shuttle missions.  He was extremely entertaining.  One of the things I learned about and reported back to my students was how they go to the bathroom.  Let’s just say X marks the spot and leave it at that.

As I was typing this, I realize the fun factor for me is as a conference attendee, not as an organizer.  I am very appreciative of those wonderful people who work very hard to make sure I have an enjoyable time.  Those dear souls have probably lost sleep, dealt with difficulties beyond my comprehension, stressed over budgets and who knows what else.  (Jillian Chantal knows what else.  She has been a conference coordinator and was a damn fine one too!)  Believe me, there isn’t enough alcohol in the conference hotel bar to convince me to ever take on that responsibility.

One of my other favorite things about conferences?  Since many of them have been held at a Marriott-owned property, I have earned several free nights to help pay for family vacations.  (I do love my Marriott Rewards program.  I wonder if we can get a corporate sponsorship for this blog.)

What have been your favorite or most memorable conference experiences?

About Micki Gibson

Young Adult fiction writer
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5 Responses to Conference Junkies Anonymous

  1. Go Marriott Rewards! Woo-hoo. I’m a conference junkie too. Sometimes I sneak on the computer late at night just to look at them. Writer’s Digest, East or West? ACFW is one awesomely amazing conference, but dang, I don’t write Christian fiction…oh, baby, there’s a writer conference in Greece! I don’t care what they write, I price tickets. You get the picture? To make it even more interesting, I attend high-tech conferences on the side. It’s a seasonal part-time job, and it provides loads of story ideas. International Consumer Electronics Show? I spent an entire afternoon in the massage-gadget section, um, researching. Yeah, that’s what I was doing there. Of course writer conferences are by far my favorites, even though photonic conferences provide me with nerdy T-Shirts and a closet load of tote bags!
    My best conference EVER was The Ragged Edge with Ted Dekker, AND I got a tote bag. Life is good.

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  2. jeff7salter says:

    During nearly 30 years of librarianship in Louisiana, I went to at least 2 dozen annual state library conferences. In three of those, I was a conf. committee chair or co-chair. For one I was the co-chair of the entire conf. coordinating comm. It was exhilerating … in a consuming, exhausting kind of way. At that point (1981) I was still young & energetic enough to be able to cope with those kinds of demands and surprises (& problems). That’s all to say, I have a profound appreciation of the behind-the-scenes work involved in making a conf. smooth & successful. It’s certainly no accident when things work well … and there are many forces (at least potentially) working against that goal.

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  3. As for conferences, you know what made the mark with me…Food…and the fancy presentation ware,( you should see what they showed with boxed lunches!)
    But since this is a writers’ blog,I kind of assumed we were talking writers’ conferences, contests and awards… I have not been to a writers’ conference but would love to! It may be in the future yet!

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  4. Iris B says:

    Dang! I really think I’ve been missing out …. I will need to do breathe-in/out excersises and attend one …. like SOON! I’m all for fun, but not for a crowd 😉

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  5. Yep. Met at a Conference in 2010 and have been buds since. Love it. And yeah, conference chair is NO picnic. Blerg. Just had a flashback. Lol

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