Notes About Running a Writers Conference

Remember to wear deodorant.

Remember things will go wrong. Things inevitably go wrong despite planning, site plans, staffing plans, evacuation plans, lunch plans, cocktail plans. It’s not that things go wrong. It’s how many people turn when they hear the blast. If no one looks, nothing’s wrong.

Remember your body needs food. Denying it of food can lead to other, more serious problems.

Remember to always smile. Bring a toothbrush, especially if the hors d’oeuvres contain cilantro or coarsely-ground pepper.

Pack an extra stick of deodorant you can bring with you and stash in your desk. People appreciate this.

Remember to be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there.

Make arrangements in your life to avoid going home to angry, neglected lovers and dead pets.

Say “Thank you.”

Say “Please.”

Say “Of course we can do that.”

Wear sensible shoes. Remind yourself that the brown Kenneth Coles fare better over fourteen hours than the black ones. But, sometimes your outfit is black, not brown. Style prevails.

Realize that when you just typed “fourteen years” instead of “fourteen hours” in the previous note, it was both hyperbole and true.

Let your guard down. Things will inevitably go wrong even when your guard’s up.

Remember that things will also go right.

Notice those things when they happen.

Don’t consider a “light reception” a meal. It is a snack.

Don’t feel bad about missing your gym days because you do more running in those Kenneth Coles than you do in your Nikes.

Never let them see you sweat.

Remember to smile, even if you’re sweating.

Remember you brought extra deodorant for this.

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