ah, now i remember why i quit going to conferences.
i've been reading several blogs recapping the bouchercon conference in chicago, and it seems as if a good time was not had by all. ten years ago, i quit going to writing conferences because they are so awful. it's hard to say why they are so awful, but i'll try. for one thing, you are plopped down in the middle of an alien environment where you are expected to dwell for several days while enduring sensory overload, very little sleep, and high stress. if you're bipolar -- and many creative people are -- just stepping into the lobby can hurl you into rapid cycling.
anything that may have grounded you doesn't exist there. you may be wearing what i used to call the costume. clothes i only wore to these awkward functions. i took all those ugly girly business clothes to Goodwill, and will never, ever, ever, again purchase a costume for a conference. unless it's a real costume like a sexy nurse or something. if your editor is there, you know she or he is watching to gauge how well you perform in public. how people respond to you. how well you can work a room. other writers are watching you, hoping you trip and fall on your face. some may even help you trip and fall. there are nice people there too. i've met a lot of great people at conferences, people i still keep in touch with. but this isn't about them. and i swear to god, i've seen groups of grown women bawling their eyes out simply because they wanted to get the hell out of there and go home to their own bed and blanky. i'll bet a few guys have wanted their blankies too. these conferences screw up your head, i tell ya.
don't forget to sign up for thrillerfest.