I'd like to add a few things that have arisen when I've met other AW people.
  • The public place you choose should be open to hosting people who may linger--or you need to make sure those meeting up don't stay too long. Restaurants depend on table turnover.
  • If you choose a place where alcohol is served, you also choose to make sure nobody is driving impaired when the meet-and-greet ends.
  • Seek a location where parking is plentiful and free--and is close. Older members or those with mobility issues might find the walk from the parking garage to the restaurant quite a challenge.
  • Know ahead of time if your meeting place is handicap-accessible. Flip side: Know ahead of time if any potential attendees might need assistance and figure out how to provide it. Just ask them. They'll tell you what they need.
  • If you meet at a restaurant, keep costs in mind. Is there a choice of entrees someone on a really tight budget can afford?
  • If you meet at a restaurant, keep dietary needs and preferences in mind. Are there healthy choices, vegan choices, and gluten-free choices on the menu?
  • Figure out a way to recognize one another. Wear a red scarf, carry a particular book, like that. Let the restaurant hostess know writers will be looking for your table.
  • It's exciting to meet so many people you know online, people who get what writing is all about, but rein yourself in, i.e., keep your noise level no louder than the other people where you are meeting.