Mid-Conference Check In

I’m halfway through my week at an online writer’s conference. In many ways the experience is being quite similar to when I’d travel to a conference. I’ve felt camaraderie and the particular exhaustion that comes from joyous socializing, learning, and teaching all day long. My master class presentation went well. It was the one I was most worried about because the three hour time slot called for a deep dive into the topic (Marketing as Storytelling.) I was surprised to discover that once I got rolling I had no trouble talking to the camera and believing that there were people on n the other end listening. (Webinar format doesn’t show audience faces.) I missed having the micro-feedback of seeing faces nod or look puzzled, but it didn’t hamper my ability to teach the material. When we got to the Q&A section, having the questions written out was really nice, however that was also the moment I most missed seeing faces because I was unable to gauge if my answer had resolved the particular person’s puzzlement. I resorted to ending most answers with “If I’ve failed to give you the answer you need, please re-submit your question and I’ll try again.”

Despite being at home, I’m very conference focused this week. Lots of home tasks are slipping out of my mind and off my schedule. That’s okay, I can pick it up again later. There are only a few things that would be harmed by waiting another week and I think I’ve managed to catch and do those. It is really nice to turn all my focus and creative energy toward participating in a writer community. When I’m not actively engaged with people, I’ve been actively resting by watching Lizzie Bennett Diaries (which I’d never watched in full before.) Or I’ve been actively working on prepping presentations. There has been a lot of “actively” which probably explains why I hit the wall pretty hard last night. In this case “hit the wall” meant staring at left over pizza that needed to be stowed in the fridge and feeling ready to cry because the problem was too complex to be solved. Good thing Howard was nearby.

It is almost time for me to go to a class, but I wanted to catch a few of these thoughts before the moment completely got away from me.

3 thoughts on “Mid-Conference Check In”

  1. As someone also in a conference (SecTor.ca) in the 2020 mode of on-line rather than in person, this matches our feelings as well. All those casual personal acknowledgements to the many friends and people we know as we walk by or across the room are just not there. At least seeing some of them in the chats to the side of the presentation helps, but that is such a small part of what we get in person.

    1. The conference I’m at (SIWC.ca) has addressed that by opening several all-day meetings with breakout rooms that are labeled as Bar/Socializing areas. You can wander in and out, join conversations or wander away at will. It isn’t the same, but does fill a little bit of the hole.

  2. I feel you on the “crying in the face of ‘complicated tasks'” front. A few weeks ago, while we were traveling late at night and very tired, my husband tried to use a bit of wordplay to cheer me up. I didn’t immediately understand, and I started crying because it felt like he wanted my brain to do extra work. Fortunately, we arrived at our hotel soon after.

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