How to Avoid Going Insane During the AWP Conference

Survival methods for AWP! And don’t forget – if you’re in Seattle come see us at Table I1!

The Incompetent Writer

I’ve been attending the AWP Conference for the past several years. It’s still a stressful experience, although nowhere as overwhelming as it once was. I’ve seen friends of mine walk through the bookfair for the first time, their eyes opaque, their jaw faintly trembling, and I realise this is how I must have looked back then, and probably, to a large extent, still look.

The stress involved in AWP comes, I think, from two sources. The first is that there are just so many people. Every writer wants to believe in his or her unique craft and vision. This attitude is harder to maintain, however, in a room of 14,000 other aspiring writers. During my first walk through the hundreds of booths of writing programs, small presses, literary magazines, and artist colonies, I remember thinking: either I’m mistaken, or all these other people are. Such a thought, of course, does…

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