I’ve been on about last week’s AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference since I got back home on Sunday. I promise this will be my last blog post about it.
Today I finally organized my notes from the panels I attended last week. Because I used Twitter for this (because it lets me take and pass notes at the same time which would not have been okay in high school but which is okay at a conference), I decided to compile the notes online, with Storify.
If you want those notes, you’re welcome to them. They are here.
They are a work in progress. I still haven’t mined my handwritten notes yet. I will be doing that and adding to the Storify story at some point when my eyes aren’t whirling from organizing my Twitter feed chronologically.
The best picture I got? A blurry shot of Richard Russo, pouring water for Jennifer Haigh.
I spent Wednesday through Sunday at a writing conference in Boston, and I have what you could probably call an AWP hangover. I am moving around my office slowly, shifting piles of literary journals from place to place, drinking a lot of water and trying hard not to take a nap on the keyboard.
Because I spent three days frantically tweeting the conference, I was planning to write a big post about AWP and the helpful writing things I learned there, but I can’t even. What I can do is give you this list, however, of the things I learned this weekend that may or may not be helpful:
Tweed holds a stink. Launder that vintage jacket, gentlemen. It’s not going to get any less nasty without the help of a dry cleaner.
Take some time to learn how the camera in your new device works before stepping into any convention center. People like photos that aren’t blurry.
Socially awkward writers like to make observations about how socially awkward other writers are. But not in person; on the internet.
Speaking of which, the easiest way to make friends at AWP is via Twitter.
Also, Twitter was the easiest way for me to take notes. (I can read my tweets, which is more than I can say for the notes in my notebook.)
Someone needs to make writer paper dolls, featuring buns, turtlenecks, peaked caps, pencil skirts, Neil Gaiman hair and tweed with cartoon stink lines coming off of it.
If you leave postcards, journals or any other promo materials on a cafe table at AWP, a janitor will come by five minutes later and very politely tip your stuff into the trash.
Ben Percy’s description of literary fiction as a genre* should be inscribed on something in stone.
If you hear Ben Percy’s voice, you’ll understand that everything he says sounds as if it actually is inscribed in stone.
Take #11 with a grain of salt; someone from Tumblr was on the panel that told me that.
Very few people at AWP want to hear you read from your book. They are much more worried about their own books.
The bigger the author, the more people want to unburden themselves emotionally during those last five minutes of Q&A.
Wine+book fair = event planner genius.
Getting trapped in a panel > getting locked out of one.
*Ben Percy’s definition of literary fiction went something like this: “You may as well call literary fiction its own genre in which a bunch of pretty sentences drink tea and look out a window at boiling clouds until someone has an epiphany.” That’s not it exactly. I hurt myself laughing and couldn’t get the whole quote.