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Willamette Writers Conference

How to start your conference day on the right note

For those attending this year’s Willamette Writers Conference, August 5 – 7, here’s what you can expect when you arrive, along with a few more tips to get the most out of the conference.

Come to the Thursday night events
There are a number of advantages to starting your conference experience on Thursday night, August 4.

1) Avoid the Friday registration rush.
You can breeze in and register Thursday night or if you are pre-registered you can pick up your registration packet. The registration area is open from 6 – 9 p.m. on Thursday.

2) Review the workshops.
In your registration packet, you’ll find the latest information on workshops. There are often changes from the original conference brochure. Select your top one or two choices for each time slot so you won’t have to spend time at the conference deciding. Better to spend your time meeting fellow writers and enjoying all the conference has to offer.

3) Double check your badge.
The front of your badge will state the days you are attending and whether or not you are booked for the Saturday night banquet and the type of meal you requested. If there are any questions, go to the registration area.

On the back of your badge you’ll find the consults you have purchased. These are the one-on-one and group pitch sessions. If you have any issues, the consult desk will be open Thursday night to help you resolve them.

4) Orient yourself.
If you’ve never been to the conference before, Thursday night gives you an opportunity to leisurely stroll around the Sheraton and familiarize yourself with where the various events are taking place. If you are pitching, note that the area for group pitches is different from the area for one-on-one pitches.

5) Attend Pitch Practice
You can attend Pitch Practice with the Pros from 7 to 9 p.m. in St. Helens for literary pitches and Mt. Hood for film pitches. If you want to pitch in front of agents and be critiqued, come early as it fills up fast.

Arrive early on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Give yourself enough time to arrive at the conference, find parking, have breakfast and get to your first workshop without having to stress. If you can’t find a parking spot at the Sheraton you can park at the Hampton Inn next door as they are owned by the same company.

1) Register first.
If you didn’t register or pick up your conference registration package on Thursday night, do this first. The registration area, consult help, and information desk are all at the south end of the Mt. Hood Foyer.

2) Have breakfast and mingle.
You’ll find a full breakfast buffet in the Mt. Hood Foyer served from 7:30 until 8:45 am. Grab a plate, a cup of coffee and head to the Mt. Hood Ballroom. If you sleep in, the breakfast buffet usually stays out longer. But breakfast is a great time to mingle and meet other writers.

If you have time, wander over to the Silent Auction area for first dibs on a wide variety of great stuff for writers.

3) Get to workshops early.
Workshops start at 8:30 am. Popular workshops fill up fast and can run out of seats, so get to the workshop at least 10 minutes early if you need a seat, even earlier if you need a place to plug in your laptop.

4) Take advantage of all the conference has to offer.
Don’t forget to sign up for the two free events: Manuscript ER and Pitch Practice. See my previous post for more information. They both run from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

See you at the conference!

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