Are you going to the AWP Conference this year? Last year it was in Boston and I went. I forgot to write about it. I had never been to a conference before and didn’t know what to expect. This year I’m taking a train to Seattle from Portland (in a few short hours) and I thought id offer some thoughts based on my experience past year.
1. It’s too late for this but preregister. You’ll see why when you get to the registration room and the line of people waiting to register is a hundred times longer than the line of people who have preregistered.
2. Take the time to go over all the schedules and choose panels you want to go to. Do this before the day panels start. You won’t get to all of them and decide that’s okay.
3.Expect chaos, nerds and lots of people. But don’t get overwhelmed. Have a plan for times when you are overwhelmed. Get fresh air. Skip a panel. Take a nap.
4. Bring a notebook, pen, snacks and water. Take notes. Ask questions.
5. Schedule time for the outside world. It’s really cool to have schedule packed with AWP events, but if you’re traveling to an entirely new city make sure you take the time to at least see the skyline. Eat at a local restaurant. Be a tourist for five minutes.
6. Check out the book fair. Get swag. Support lit mags and writing programs. Consider mailing some things home.
Most importantly: have fun!!! All this stress and planning isn’t worth it if you can’t enjoy yourself.