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With the DFW Writers’ Conference right around the corner many of us have tummies all twisted in knots with excitement! WAHOOOO!!!! It feels like I’m standing in line waiting for my turn on the roller coaster. I want to scream and dance and puke and then scream some more. It’s here! It’s here! But in all that excitement it might be easy to forget the necessities.

Copyright © 2012 D.B. Smyth

Have you ever had that dream where you show up at the airport ready for your awesome trip only to realize you’ve left EVERYTHING at home? I have. Just last night I dreamed of walking through airport security only to discover I’d brought everything that didn’t matter and left all the important stuff at home, like tickets. Sheesh!

We don’t want that happening tomorrow, so let’s go over a few things you’ll want to gather today.

1. Tickets

DFWcon ticket.Don’t remember where they are? I received an email this morning reminding me to either print them out or download them to my mobile phone. Check your inbox if you’re fretting over where they might be.

Extra workshop ticket. (ie. Writing a Compelling First Chapter) I don’t know if you need it, but I’m a better-safe-than-sorry kind of girl.

Airline ticket or boarding pass. If you forget, you can usually print it at the airport. Just make sure you have it before going to security. 😉

2. Schedule

Know before you go. Print the two-day schedule and mark all the classes you want to attend (in priority). Torn between a couple of slots? Mark ‘em with “??” and either follow new friends or eenie-meenie-miney-moe it. If you haven’t checked out the schedule at all, make sure you do that ahead of time or you’ll end up wondering around like a lost sheep.

Tip: Try to balance out business track classes with the ones on craft. Yes this is an opportunity to network, but it’s also an opportunity to become a better writer.

3. Gong Show Submissions

Planning to submit a query letter or first page? Make sure to print and add them to your little pile of paperwork. Queries follow standard query formatting. First pages should be 12pt font, double-spaced, and have one inch margins with your book title and genre listed at the top. (Instructions came in an email from DFWcon).

4. Extra Workshop Materials

I don’t know about the other workshops, but Writing a Compelling First Chapter requires you to read the prologue and first chapter of IN THE WOODS by Tara French, and bring a copy of your own first chapter. For me that means making sure I have my kindle as well as my chapter. Check, check. What do you need to bring to your class?

5. Agent List

Check out the agent interests page and make a list of those agents who might be interested in your genre. Then do a wee-bit-o research and add a few notes about them to your list. Not planning on pitching? Me either. But as my dear friend @lizakane pointed out, you never know when an agent might sit down next to you and ask about your book just as you stuff a bunch of salad into your mouth. (True story).

6. Misc Stuffs

Pen and paper for note taking. Business cards with your name, web, email and twitter handle. Blank notecards for thank yous or pick-me-ups. Camera (with charged batteries). And a big-ole smiley face with a side of confidence because—HEY!—we’re going to have a rockin’ awesome weekend in Dallas!!!

What did I forget—anything else you would add to the list?

Oh! And underwear! Mom always says be sure to pack your undies. 😉