Stationery Packing List for a Writer's Conference

Writer's Conference

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

If you're going to a writer's conference, you're probably planning on writing. Or maybe not--maybe you're taking a break from writing to socialize. But you might write... What if ideas start filling your head? Best to be prepared either way. Use this list to pack for your next writer's conference! Note: to use this list for a pen show, double the numbers.

1 large satchel. No, larger. Worried it might be too unwieldly? Perfect. Make sure it has a ridiculous number of pockets, then add a bag-in-bag for yet more pockets. Partition everything for ease of locating tools in its depths.


In the satchel, pack the following.


X number of pocket notebooks where X = Z + 5 and Z = the number of friends you're trying to win over to the analog life.

3 large notebooks, ideally each in a separate case. One for the project you're currently working on, one for the project you wish you were working on, and one for the project you're supposed be working on. Add additional notebooks in the last category as necessary.

3 (or more) notebooks for planning and organizing the above projects.

1 planner for organizing everything else.

1 small notebook for writing down all the brilliant, intrusive ideas that don't fit into the above categories.

1 small notebook for taking conference-related notes on panels, speeches, workshops, etc.



3 pens for everyday writing. One with high ink capacity for text, one in a contrasting color for notes within the text, and one with a fine point and bright ink for proof marks.

X number of additional pens where X = Y + 3 and Y = however many fit in your case(s).

2 (or more) pen cases, one for bulk storage and one more portable for just the essentials. Fill to capacity.

A handful of Stranger Danger crappy pens to hand to people who ask you for a pen, which will happen approximately every 30 minutes. More can be obtained from around the hotel, or from bystanders who no doubt have dozens of dubious pens marinating in granola dust at the bottom of their bags. These pens can also be used for bar and coffee receipts.

Spare ink refills--cartridges and sample vials--in case you manage to write enough to run out.


Other essentials:

As few electronic devices as possible and their chargers.


At least one pencil.

A fidget, if that helps keep you in your chair writing.


Something to read that isn't your own writing for when you get sick of your own writing.

Directions to the nearest stationery store. For emergencies. Or for the fun of it.

If your satchel does not fit these essentials, obtain a different satchel. Optional: a small pack animal, such as an alpaca, for portage. Enjoy your conference knowing you are prepared for any writing scenario.

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In the bag
Posted on May 31, 2018 and filed under Pen Shows, Backpack, Bag Review.