Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What was I thinking?

Episode 2

By Annette Dashofy

Back in June, I blogged about the mental illness from which I suffer. The one where I volunteer for things in the belief that if they’re far enough in the future, I’ll be less busy by then and will have the time to breeze through the tasks required.

To be specific, I volunteered in 2007 to be the 2009 Pennwriters Conference Coordinator.

Here it is, September of 2008. I’ve been toiling away since late last winter. And while I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, when I look at what remains to be done…well, let’s just say I’m buying stock in Pepto-Bismal.

I have Lisa Scottoline coming in to be our Friday night keynote speaker. Tim Esaias, poet and writing teacher extraordinaire will be giving the Saturday luncheon keynote. I’ve rounded up agents Lucienne Diver, Paige Wheeler, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, and Uwe Stender to hear pitches and offer workshops. Jane Friedman, editorial director of F+W Publications, will be on hand as will Matthew Holliday, editor of Pennsylvania Magazine.

We’re having two day-long intensive workshops on the Thursday before the conference (May 14) and Marta Perry has agreed to present the fiction intensive. Mary Jo Rulnick will teach the nonfiction one.

John J. Lamb and CJ Lyons are coming to be special guest speakers. And I have a number of local authors and teachers lined up to do workshops, including Nancy Martin.

So far, so good. Why then, am I approaching panic mode?

Because it’s September! Only eight months and 12 days until the conference kicks off.

On the other hand, in eight months and FIFTEEN days, it will be over and I will be FREE.

In the meantime, I have a couple more agents and editors to line up, workshops to plan, menus to select…

Thankfully, I do have a wonderful planning committee behind me. There area a ton of details that I have delegated to this capable group of Pennwriters. And I have a list of willing volunteers waiting in the wings for their assignments.

What I need are attendees. So I want you all to mark your calendars for May 15-17, 2009 (include May 14 if you want to attend one of the intensives!). Make your travel arrangements to come to the 2009 Pennwriters Conference: A Writer’s Tool Chest to be held at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott.

And Pennwriters has a new website and a new conference page where you can find all the bios for the speakers I’ve mentioned. Okay, I’m still working on it, so maybe not ALL the speakers. You’ll just have to bookmark the page so you can come back and check on my frequent updates.

I want to see you all there!


Tory said...

Sounds like you've made quite a bit of progress, Annette!

In terms of your "problem," the other day I caught myself about to volunteer to do something (it was one of those boxes you check at the end of an evaluation sheet.) While about to check the "yes" I realized, depending on how it worked out, I might or might not really want to do it. So I wrote in "maybe." The workshop still had 15 minutes to go, and by the time it was over, I thought about what was really involved, why it woouldn't work, and went back and changed the "maybe" to a "no."

So, you don't have to say "no" right away, you just have to learn to hedge long enough that your sane mind has a chance to kick in!

(In the meantime, I'm glad you said "yes" to this one. :-)

Annette said...

Thanks, Tory.

The really sick thing is that I did give this a lot of thought. I pondered it for twenty-four hours and actually talked myself into it.

What was I thinking???

Joyce said...

Nice line up, Annette! You know I'll be glad to help with something.

Annette said...

I'm counting on it, Joyce! I'm looking forward to the two of us scouting for ideas at Bouchercon!

mike said...

Annette--Relax, sounds like you're right on schedule. Of course, the devil's in the details, and there are lots of details in putting on a conference, as you've probably discovered. But above all--and cost be damned--be sure coffee's available in the hallway during sessions! Congrats on getting such a great list of speakers, and on securing commitments from agents and editors.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Paige Wheeler, you say? I've been stalking her as an agent for a long time. Well, stalking isn't the correct word.

Jennie Bentley said...

Oh wow, it sounds awesome! And it seems like you're doing an outstanding job, Annette. You've got some Very Influential People coming to talk. Some power-house agents there!

If you want suggestions, my agency is FinePrint Literary Management, and they seem to do quite a lot of traveling to conferences and such. My agent was in Allentown last year for a conference. (Not your Allentown, the one closer to Philly.) So was my editor, incidentally. They met for the first time at that conference, and Stephany painted quite a mental picture of the two of them on the bus home to New York, both engrossed in the manuscripts they'd picked up. A Penguin editor and an agent with clients on the NYT bestseller list, on the bus home from Allentown...!

Annette said...

Thanks, Mike. I know you've been in these shoes, so your words of support mean a lot. And thanks for the postcard, by the way!

Will, sounds like you're going to have to come to the conference. No stalking required. Just come and buy her a drink.

Jennie, I've been in touch with FinePrint. Janet isn't able to make it, but she sent me names of a couple other agents there. I contacted one and didn't get a response. But I'm not done yet. I would love to have someone from FinePrint in attendance.

My goal is to have 6 agents and 5 or 6 editors, so I still have more invitations to send. Plus I'm still waiting to hear back from a few...

Dana King said...

This is where a lack of universal military service hurts many peoplelater in life. The military teaches many lessons. Among the most valuable is, "Never volunteer."

Gina said...

Mike's concerns notwithstanding, I say coffee be d----d! It is much more important to make sure they don't close the bathrooms for cleaning every time there's a break between sessions, like happened a few years ago. And that goes double if there's coffee available.

Annette said...

Coffee and bathrooms...GOT IT.

Joyce said...

And make sure the bar is open.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

And make sure Paige is at the bar. I'm buying.

Annette said...

Will, that can be arranged.