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  • cheriritz013


It's hard to believe it's been a week since GCLS 2022 in Albuquerque, NM ended. The Golden Crown Literary Society annual conference was a whirlwind of books, information, awards, and friendship. This was the first year the conference was held in person since 2019, and you best believe we were ready to gather again! It was an amazing week of lively panels, author readings, master classes, and an awards banquet/celebration where we danced the night away. I'm excited and invigorated, and ready to get back to writing! I can't stop talking about it, and my family has probably had enough of sentences that begin, "One time, at GCLS..." If you were there, you most likely know exactly what I mean. Leaving the conference always feels like the last day of summer camp to me: our hearts full of joy and gratitude for the experience we shared and already looking forward to the next time we meet.

My long journey home provided plenty of time to reflect on the week and put together some top tips for attending conferences while it's still fresh in my mind. Yes, I realize this information would have been helpful before GCLS, but I promise I'll remember to point you this way again pre-con next year in a timely manner. Anyway, here we go:

1. Pack Thoughtfully. Yes, yes, we all know this means appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes, but here's a few additional items to remember.

  • A sweater/hoodie/flannel shirt--something you can layer up with in case the air conditioning in the resort is pumped up high in the conference rooms.

  • A water bottle. Maybe it's the elevation of the con location. Maybe it's a 90-minute panel you don't want to miss a single moment of. Maybe you closed down the bar shooting pool the night before. They're all good reasons to stay hydrated.

  • A pen. You might meet an author and want them to sign a book. Or you might be in a position where someone asks you to sign something. In the current digital age it's easy to overlook this one. Don't miss out on this exchange. Don't get caught without a pen.

2. Prepare for your moment. If you're giving an author reading, choose your selection carefully and practice thoroughly. Karin Kallmaker has an excellent blog post on the topic and I also highly recommend Melissa Brayden's class on delivering a dynamic reading. Additionally, if you are part of a panel at the con, you were selected because people want to hear what you have to say. Be ready to impart your wisdom and seize your moment to shine! You want people to remember your name after they leave the session, whether it's because you shared the "how tos" on finding the perfect writing group, or maybe because you admitted you write in the shower... on a waterproof notebook.

3. Say hello. Everyone is at the conference because they enjoy Sapphic literature. You already have something in common with the other attendees. When I attended my first GCLS conference, I didn't know a soul there, but I promised myself I wouldn't leave without making connections. Ask what the person next to you is currently reading. Ask if they traveled far to attend the con. At the very least, when you sit down next to someone, say hello--you never know who you might meet or where that conversation may lead!

So that's my GCLS wrap up. Don't forget to reply and share your GCLS 2022 highlights or tips for navigating conferences. Hope to see you all for next year's con in Denver!



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