Author and writing coach Jolie Stekly has been welcoming SCBWI conference first-timers for years now, but this is the first time the Winter Conference has been online.
As much as we miss seeing each other in person, Jolie points out that the online format has a number of advantages. The conference is accessible by attendees around the world, for example, not just those who can go to NYC.
All sessions will be recorded, so don't worry if you miss any - they will be available through March 31st. Replays will be available starting 24 hours after the session. Because of this, you can relax and just listen.
Practical tips for the conference:
Look at your conference packets and review all the material so you don't miss anything. Also be sure to review do's and don'ts.
Please use the Q&A section in Zoom talks for questions, not general chat. The general chat has been disabled, but you can use Twitter for chatting. Be sure to include the #NY21SCBWI hashtag so others can see.
In the Q&A, browse questions and upvote ones you're most interested in. Questions that have received the most upvotes are more likely to be answered.
If something glitches and you inadvertently lose a webinar, just login again.
Overall tips for the conference:
Look for the one thing you were meant to hear.
If at all possible, try to attend sessions live and not multitask. Be present and engaged.
Set up realistic expectations. During the session, Jolie asked attendees to come up with three achievable goals for the next few days.
Remember that being yourself is the best way to stand out.
There is room for each and every one of us in this space. Instead of feeling like we're competing with each other, looking at the community members as all helping each other instead.
If you submitted your work to the portfolio showcase or the manuscript gallery, celebrate! Be proud of yourself.
If you don't hear back about your work, don't despair. It just means that the right person hasn't found your work at the right time. Jolie used the great (and delicious) analogy of being at a dessert buffet. You may pass by a frosted cupcake to choose the chocolate mousse, but it doesn't necessarily mean you don't like the frosted cupcake.
Still want to learn? Look at the regional webinars; you may find what you need. And speaking of regional webinars, Jolie reminds us all to thank our regional advisors; they are all volunteers.
Looking for ways to connect with others at the conference?
Check your conference packet schedule for upcoming socials. Consider participating in the Zoom peer critiques.
Some people tend to focus too much on connecting with agents and editors. Jolie encourages us not to underestimate the value of connecting with our peers. She gave several examples of how connecting with one's peers can open doors.
Be brave, get outside your comfort zone. Jolie challenged session attendees to find someone to connect with during the conference....not just following them on Twitter but actually interacting with them.
You're not alone. We are all at many different stages, and there are others at the conference who are feeling exactly the same way as you. Look for the one thing you were meant to hear.
Where you can find out more about Jolie Stekly: