10 Best Tips For Attending Your First AWP
The AWP, Association of Writers & Writing Programs, conference is attended every year by more than 12,000 people. The AWP is a community of writers, students, teachers, publishers, and editors. In four days, there are panel discussions, featured author events, readings, and a book fair, along with multiple networking opportunities. AWP is “the largest literary conference in North America” and with that title comes the need to know how to do the AWP the right way.
After attending my first conference and listening to the advice from past attendees, I have come up with my “10 Best Tips for Attending Your First AWP”.
- Book a hotel early—The hotels fill up quickly. In order to get a hotel near the conference, and at a good rate, be sure to book your stay as soon as possible.
- Arrive on the first day—Even though there are not many events for the first day, I highly recommend you get there on the day of registration, especially if you need to travel to get there. I arrived on the second day, which left me completely exhausted and unable to enjoy all the events. I was also unprepared and unaware of the grand scale and scope of the conference. It’s amazing! This may also be why I was so tired. Arrival on the first day allows you to hit the floor running and rested for the first full day of events.
- Pre-Plan your schedule—It’s extremely helpful to see what programs you would like to attend beforehand. This prevents you from glaring like a deer in headlights at a board of events and trying to figure out where to go. There is a handy app that makes it super easy to find what it going on each day, at what time and location. Seriously, pre-plan! If you don’t pre-plan, you will want to nap because the amount of choices you have is extremely overwhelming.
- Wear comfortable shoes—There are over 800 exhibitors at the book fair. Need I say more?
- Leave room in your suitcase—Speaking of the book fair, you will be buying books, so leave room to haul them back home. The book fair exhibitors include literary art organizations, writing programs, writing conferences, and an abundance of literary presses and journals. On Saturday, you will find discounts on the books that are left, so make sure to visit on the last day as well.
- Get to your event on time—Many of the events are packed with people, so be sure to arrive early to an event. Otherwise, you will be sitting on the floor.
- Take notes—You will receive so much information, you will want to reflect on it when home. Bring a notebook, laptop, or whatever means you use in order to take notes. There will be so many things you want to remember!
- Bring business cards—You will have the opportunity to meet a lot of people, so be sure to give them something with your information on it. You also have the opportunity to leave handouts, bookmarks, postcards, etc. on tables. It’s a wonderful chance to connect with others.
- Bring snacks—The lines for water and food will be long, and you will not want to miss getting to your next event. If you have room, pack some snacks, or when you arrive go and get some snacks and bottles of water to carry with you to the conference. You will not want to waste any time.
- Be smart—When your head starts spinning, please be kind to yourself and go take a rest. Go recharge in the best way for you … take a nap, venture outside of the convention, or exercise. Find the best thing for you and do it!
Oh, and please don’t forget to ask to get autographs and pictures with your favorite authors!
Keep these 10 Best Tips For Attending Your First AWP in mind and you will be doing the AWP right!