This week, I attended my first RT Booklovers Convention. I learned a lot from my experience, and I figured I'd come up with a list for my next time. I hope it might help you, too.
1. Take backup. Don't go it alone. Reach out and make contacts, either with folks you know ahead of time or folks you meet there. People are friendly and willing to answer questions, and sometimes all it takes is a simple "Are you going to X Workshop? Can I come with you?"
2. Drink plenty of water. I know that sounds like odd advice, but the hotel we were in had a very dry atmosphere. It was easy to get a dehydration headache, and that's a simple problem to solve. All the conference rooms have water and cups available.
3. Take notes. Seriously. There is so much you will learn, and not always in a workshop. Don't assume you will remember everything later.
3A. Write notes on each business card as to where you met the person, what they look like, a few tips to help you remember them. Otherwise, you'll get home with a pile of cards and not be able to place the folks you met.
4. Don't be afraid to say, "I need to stop the ride and get off." So many people said to me that they felt overwhelmed. On the one hand, that made me feel less alone in my own state of overwhelmed-ness, but it also made me realize that we were all collectively trying to bull our way through the convention. That's silly. The sense of urgency we all feel is silly and unnecessary.
5. You have two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth. Listen and watch more than you talk.
6. Have fun. Remember that not everything is meant to be serious and cool; some things are meant to be light-hearted and frivolity. Knowing how to keep the play alive is half the battle.
7. Remember to be grateful. Thank you to Kathryn Falk and her team for creating such an amazing, mind-blowing experience. Thank you to the organizers, the presenters, and the attendees for collaborating to make this past week an incredible, intense learning experience.