by Jenny Hansen
Romance Writers of America®
32nd Annual Conference
July 25-28, 2012
All of us at Writers In The Storm live right here in Southern California, which makes this year's RWA conference a bit more exciting than most for us. For once, we're locals.
This means we know where everything is, and if we have to, we can run home to get that thing-gadget-whatchamajig that we forgot. This week's posts are about sharing the wealth with all of you.
Whether you're coming to the conference, traveling to Orange County or are just plain curious, we hope you'll tune in for the next few posts.
To start with a bit of background, it's conference season in the writing world. Romance Writers of America is about to do their yearly event in "The Happiest Place on Earth": Anaheim...home of Disneyland.
Some of us are going to the RWA-Women's Fiction Chapter Mini-Conference on Wednesday, July 25th. Some of us are going to RWA's National Conference that runs from July 25-28th. As the president of the Women's Fiction chapter, our own Laura Drake is going to both.
Recommended "to do" list before you leave for Conference:
- Review Kate Noble's kickass packing list from last year's conference. She did a great job! Plus, anything you'd need in New York last July, you'll need in Anaheim, along with more sunscreen.
- If you haven't found the #RWA12 hashtag on Twitter, go set up your TweetDeck/Hootsuite column now, or save it into your phone. Laura tuned into the hashtag last week and found this great link on all the local sit-down restaurants in walking distance from the conference hotel.
- Note: Without the above hashtag and Google, how else would we have known to hit the local Trader Joe's/Fresh & Easy/Mother's Market for snacks on the way (because there is almost no inexpensive food around the hotel)?
- Although RWA is serving gluten free options for their meals, I highly recommend you bring snacks if you have any food issues. I have house guests for this conference and we'll be hitting the stores I've linked to above for gluten free and dairy free options.
- I Googled the conference hotel myself just to make sure and there are coffee locations nearby. There's a Starbucks inside the lobby of both the Hilton and the Marriott (they both close by 7:30-8 pm). However, because I have experience with the lines at these in-hotel coffee locations, I'll be bringing my own electric kettle and Starbucks VIA packets for the peak periods. I'll also be bringing my own gluten free oatmeal for an easy breakfast.
- Inexpensive food alert: Inside the Hilton complex at 777 Convention way is a Baja Fresh. (We're staying at this Hilton, which sits across the driveway from the Marriott.) That Baja Fresh was a big deal to me since they have lots of GF items and aren't a pricy sit-down meal. Here's a link to the Baja Fresh Online Ordering for those of you who have iPads and Smartphones and are short on time.
Last but not least, I recommend that you save some room in your suitcase for books and cool stuff. There's always a lot of extras that make their way home with you from a conference. Why deny yourself these things, especially if you don't get to conferences often? Those goody rooms are like crack.
Speaking of all that extra stuff...
The hotels often have outrageous shipping prices during these events so, if you simply can't pack an extra bag inside your suitcase, you will want to have a "shipping plan." There is a UPS store in the lobby of the Hilton at 777 Convention Way. It's only open from 9 am to 5 pm over the weekend, so plan accordingly.
Note: The next closest option is Postal Planet a mile and a half from the conference hotel. Their hours don't compare to the UPS store (closed Sunday, 10 am-3 pm on Saturday). If it were me, I'd use UPS.
The next post in this series will address "Where the Locals Go." You might want to look around or rent a car for a few days while you're in Southern California so we've made a list of our favorite hang-outs.
Did I leave out anything important? Do you have other questions, or conference tips to share? Do any of the Anaheim residents have specific recommendations? We'd love to hear about it!
About Jenny Hansen
Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after her toddler Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.
When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites or here at Writers In The Storm. Every Saturday, she writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.