I'm going to a writing conference next weekend. I've been to one before and its a great way to learn from other writers how to be better at creating realistic scenes, building tension...improving your writing. My first conference took me by surprise.
I've been going to medical conferences for years. It's pretty much the same each time. You show up somewhere, grab a badge, a syllabus and find a seat. If the conference was on a weekend, I would wear jeans (along with a blazer or cardigan) and feel like I was pushing at some invisible professional barrier.
I noticed the dress code was different at the writer's conference. A woman in a long cocktail dress. Another in black and white. Okay, I wear black and white...black pants, white blouse, black sweater. This was different. Black stripped hose, black polka dot skirt, white stripped shirt and black hat. I blinked, confused by the mixture of patterns. She was one of the speakers. One man showed up sporting a manbun held together by a wrench. Honestly, I've never been around so many eclectic people in one setting. At lunch I sat next to a woman who was dressed in steampunk garb. Fascinating. I kept taking peeks between bites of my chicken and asparagus. She was really kind, offered me advice on creating newsletters.
The conversations are different too. Speakers are asked questions that make your eyebrows go up.
"Where can I go to learn about killing someone?"
"Would a teenager turn her family in if she discovered that they were all serial killers?"
"What are some other terms I can use for &^%?" (I almost blushed at that one)
The writer's conference recommended we have business cards to exchange to keep in touch with other writers. I thought about the steam punk lady and wished I'd exchanged information with her. So I ordered business cards.
And when they arrived, I looked at them and came to a big realization.
THIS IS REAL!! I'm really an author! How cool is that!!