FIVE TIPS FOR ATTENDING A CREATIVE EVENT, FESTIVAL OR CONFERENCE.
Whether it's a workshop, festival, conference or convention, there's a creative event around for just about every interest area or specialism. There's Creatival, Hay Festival, the London Illustration Fair, Blogtacular - to name just a few.
It's a fantastic opportunity to meet likeminded people, and more than that - a really positive way to refresh your inspiration. I always come away from an event feeling full of energy, excitement and motivation.
They really can be so enriching, and it's definitely worth a bit of research to see if there are any on near you (or that you could travel to), that speak to your particular creative interests.
Having recently got back from my third trip to the annual Young Adult Literature Convention (or YALC), I've gathered a few tips that help me make the most of the day and really enjoy it:
Take a friend
If you're anything like me, the thought of going to a big, crowded event (or even a smaller, more intimate workshop) alone, can be more than a little daunting. Taking a friend or family member with you helps to make the day even more fun, and will give you a boost of confidence when it comes to talking to new people. Don't have a friend with similar interests? I do a swap with mine - we go to YALC for me and the yarn festival Yarndale for her.
Make a plan
If you're at a really big conference or festival, chances are they'll be an itinerary, schedule or floorplan for the event. Print it off and get highlighting so you don't miss anything you want to see. If there are any talks or pitches or workshops - be sure to get booked in if you need to save a spot.
My event necessities are: plenty of snacks and water (as it tends to get pricey if you buy there), a notebook and pen to take to talks, and a totebag if the event is going to include any stalls or shopping. Optional extras include a fan if it's going to be hot, a rucksack for hands-free browsing or mingling, and your phone to take pictures with.
It's easy to feel like you have to go, go, go when you've booked a ticket and paid for a day event like that. Try not to plan too much to do, and take the opportunity to sit down and rest when you can. You're not missing out by pausing for a minute, I always think one of the most magical things about going to creative events is the atmosphere - so don't forget to soak it up! At YALC there are always loads of people sat on the floor, surrounded by piles of books and reading - and it's just so lovely to be surrounded by like-minded people in that way.
Take some time to debrief
Make the most of the event by taking a little time to reflect after. Rest up, flick through your photos or purchases and have a browse of any notes you made at talks etc. Hopefully you'll be feeling really energised and inspired, maybe you'll want to journal about your experience and how much you enjoyed the atmosphere. If you made any new friends or contacts you could follow each other on social media to expand your online community too.
Have you been to a creative event before - do you have any recommendations or tips for attending?