Thursday, January 19, 2023


I'm so excited to be back in NYC--back to in-person conferencing with SCBWI!

But first, if we haven’t met, Hi! I’m Jolie Stekly. I’m part of SCBWI Team Blog and I’ve also hosted the first-time attendee orientations at the Los Angeles conferences, as well as the several summer and winter online conferences that have been happening since 2020. (Perhaps we’ve met there!)

For many, this might be your first conference. There are many ways to first. Perhaps it's your first time attending any SCBWI conference. Maybe it's your first time attending an SCBWI conference in NYC. Or, it could be your first in-person conference because you've been attending them online these past few years. 

If it’s a first of any sort, I hope you’ll join me, along with Christopher Cheng, on Saturday night, 2/11 at 7:30 for the First-time Attendee/ New Member Social. 

I love the structure of this year’s winter conference, and I think it’s really nice for those attending for the first time. Rather than floating from session to session, in what can feel like a sea of strangers, taking a deep dive with the same group of people through three sessions will make creating new connections easier. 

That said…

Let’s be honest…not even that is easy. I realize that for many of us that requires a whole lot of getting out of one's comfort zone. But you can do it, especially if you know you’re not alone in feeling that way. I promise, you’re not. 

If there’s something I would want you to know, it’s that. If you feel like you’re the only one here for the first time, know there are hundreds more. Here's proof!

That's a room FILLED with first-time attendees!

So! Some tips for the those new or not-so new: 

⭐️ Make connections ⭐️

Now that you know that you're not the only one, meeting others is the best part of being in-person. Your Creative Lab will be a great place to start. You'll very likely meet others also attending for the first time, or you'll meet someone who remembers what it was like for them. 

⭐️ Make a few achievable goals ⭐️

We can often put pressure on ourselves to achieve goals that are not in our control while attending (for example, finding an agent for your book). There are many ways to focus your attention that will have you feeling like it was a successful conference.  It might be: learning more about agents who might be a fit for your work; seeking out others looking for a critique group; finding a takeaway that can make your work stronger; of those goals might be to meet a few people. 


Finding your one thing is my solution to conference overwhelm. Conferences can be both inspiring and informative, but that can later turn into overwhelm. Seek out the one thing you know you were meant to hear/experience/learn. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have other takeaways, but identifying that one key element that you know was the reason you needed to be at this conference (maybe to hear that bit of inspiration, or note on craft, or meeting someone you wouldn’t have otherwise…there are so many possibilities.)

Still thinking about joining us? It's not too late!  There’s still time to register

If you wish you could, but it’s not possible this time, please join us HERE on the blog. We’ll be sharing posts about the many happenings. Also on social media platforms, follow #scbwiNY23

And a reminder that if being in NY isn't possible this time, there will be a virtual conference on February 25. Check it out here

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