What to Wear to a Writers’ Conference?

My Lucky Mary Poppins Boots

My Lucky Mary Poppins Boots

This one has been eating away at me, figuratively of course. In reality I am no smaller, seeming any slimmer, more willowy looking nor am I blissfully dropping sizes rapidly. In fact, whilst wringing my hands in worry, I have knocked back more than one box of each variety of Girl Scout Cookies–I HAD to buy them–Dollbaby was selling them.

Although there is no chance this quandary of “what to wear” will send me over the edge (let’s not digress), I just can’t believe that no one else frets about this! I have Google-searched my brains out and the things that pop immediately are things I consider no-brainers.

Q. What to wear to a Prom?  A. Formal

Q. What to wear to a friends’ wedding?  A. Don’t wear white or black and never look better than the bride

Q. What to wear to a funeral?  A. Black, black always works except for weddings

Q. What to wear to a murder?  A. Gloves and a Mustache–DUH!

Now of course, there are a few bloggers out there who have graciously tried to offer up helpful advice on the matter. Probably the biggest and most commonly proclaimed one is the selection and rather forcibly encouraged wearing of suitable footwear. Lots of walking and standing at these things they bark…except that doesn’t hold true at this one. Of course.

Besides, I am not walking in with my resume chock full of Catholic-related “works published” in sensible shoes. They’ll think I’m a Nun–until I open my mouth of course while having the misfortune of stubbing my toe as I fall into the classroom. 

Yes~ I can make a hell of an entrance!

This conference is a little different. It’s a one-day intensive for the Midwest Writer’s Workshop with only a handful of very specific, day-long offerings. These are held separately from the Mother-ship conference in late July so that anyone wanting to do the “intensives” can still participate in breakout sessions during the biggy later in the summer. Genius.

So why does it matter what I wear? Because I’ve signed up for the heart breaker…the Manuscript Review.


The workshop is indeed intense, and very limited (only 20 writers allowed in that one room to participate). We start at 9, end at 3 and eat our sack lunches at our desks. Shoes are not an issue. I’ve heard nothing of bathroom breaks.

All submissions (a full-page synopsis “Once Upon a Time” all the way through to “The End”) along with the polished and perfected double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt first nine pages were due to the presenters weeks ago. They’ve had plenty of time to nit-pick, shred, gut and throw back their heads in a deep voiced jackal-laugh over each tiny misstep.

Nine measly pages. I can barely say hello to my dentist in 9 pages!

Here’s the kicker…I’m taking my baby…my NaNoWriMo project. You know, the one that consumed my life and brain for day upon day during last November! And the manuscript reviews are blind. Blind, in that, no one knows whose work is being shown and mauled and critiqued on the Smart-board. So no one has a spotlight shining over their head while they are beaten to a pulp alongside their masterpiece. Humane.

Except, my main character and me–well– we look an awful lot alike in the real world. It’s not a memoir, but parts of it are perhaps too true. And even though most of it is the stuff of complete and utter fiction, people who know me and have read excerpts swear that some of the most outlandish parts are the true parts!

So, should I be myself and sit comfortably with all my normal attire (and risk outing myself as the inspiration for the wildly unstable character up there on the class board)–or should I try to pick something neither my Protagonist nor I would ever choose? I have a feeling the latter would make me conspicuously squirmy and itchy!

I have a feeling it’s coming down to eeny-meeny-miny-mo in the morning…and my Mary Poppins boots 🙂 . So I’ll keep ya posted–if I survive that is