But I had fun anyway. I was inspired by all the talented writers and illustrators, keynote speakers, and awesome hotel food. I made new friends. Told everyone about my book, and they graciously listened. Good stuff.
And then there were a few lessons I learned, which I thought I'd share with you fellow writerly people. In case you have conference on your calendar.
1. Get your friends' contact information
There were more than 1200 people at this conference--believe it or not, it's very easy to completely miss each other. Especially if you only know a person from web contact, and all you have to go on is a profile pic.
2. Bring tissues
The SCBWI organizers know how to pick their keynotes... I fogged up (read: tried to cover up my tears) during several keynotes, and you will too. No matter how hardcore you think you are.
3. Bring breakfast bars
L.A. is expensive, and a girl's gotta eat. Unless you like dropping enough money to feed your family for a few days on eggs and bacon, bring a box or two of granola bars. The kind with chocolate and nuts are recommended by the YA Sleuth.
4. Don't be a snob
I briefly talked to a few people (who shall remain anonymous) who were only there to suck up to the big shot attendees and ignored their fellow little people (that would be me). Don't be that guy. Little people will grow big, and they'll remember you...
I always debate whether to go to one of these conventions, but then when I do, I wonder what I was moaning about. The inspiration is worth the cost, and then some--if you can afford it. If your budget doesn't allow, see about organizing a day-long powwow with your writer crew.
How 'bout you, fellow writers? Anything you've learned from conference visits?