I know a lot of writers and editors are headed to Washington, D.C. this week for the AWP Annual Conference. I attended AWP for the first time last year in Denver, but unfortunately I have to miss it this year. The closer it gets to Day 1, the more I regret that I won’t be able to attend some of the panels or connect in person with a few of the writers and editors I’ve met “virtually” over the last year.
I have to admit, AWP was pretty overwhelming for me the first time out. There were so many worthwhile panels, but only so much I could handle or get to. Every evening the hotel lobby and bar were crowded with more writers and editors than I’d ever seen in one place in my life. The bookfair was made up of aisle after aisle of tables, where representatives of literary journals, MFA programs, and publishers handed out information. As someone who tends to be a bit shy around new people and intimidated by crowds (never mind by writers and editors), I felt, much of the time, as if I wanted to hide in my hotel room. But I got through it, and it was a valuable experience, and I have a feeling it will be a bit easier the second time around.
If you will be attending AWP this week, have a great time. Let me know if you learn something great or meet someone interesting. Next year, I think the conference will be in Boston, so I won’t have any excuse to miss it!