A call for volunteers for the 2012 NESCBWI conference went up today (click here, The Write Joyce) and I wanted to blog a bit about the wonderful experience of volunteering.
My first writer's conference was in Nashua, NH in 2008. I was a newbie writer, and nervous about attending a conference where so many people had achieved what I desperately wanted. I tried to be unobtrusive, fly under the radar. I did meet a few newbies, like myself, but it's always hard to break into already established groups of friends. Especially when you're trying not to feel like a poser. (Or maybe, this was just me over analyzing. :) None of us are posers.)
The first conference was a great experience. But having been involved with the National Association for Campus Activities during my days as a student activities person, I knew I needed to get involved with the organization to feel like I belonged. So I filled out a volunteer form for the following year on my way out the door.
In 2009 and 2010, I helped at registration. Great way to see people (agents and editors, too!) as they check in. Scope out who you might be sitting with at your critique later. I also helped out at the book signing. Talk about a fangirl moment!
This year, in Fitchburg, I worked as a critique timer. And, having made some strides in my writing career, I served as a Special Interest Group facilitator.
Make new friends. Rub elbows with the seasoned and experienced NESCBWI members of our region. If you're interested and complete your responsibilities, you might get tapped for a more involved volunteer position next year.
If you're interested, fill out the form you can find at Joyce Shor Johnson's The Write Joyce. If you have questions about the volunteer experience, I'm happy to answer from my perspective.