January is a month for preparation.
I always start the tax preparation for my husband's business in January and I usually like to have it done by the end of the month.
The other event I am preparing for at the end of the month is the SCBWIWCNY or the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Winter Conference in New York.
Last year was my first year.
It was a great experience, if not a little overwhelming.
I live within relative driving distance of New York City and my brother's couch is conveniently located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. These facts make the event affordable for me.
I thought I would spend a lot of cash on food and drinks last year, but there is not much time outside of the conference for wining and dining. I rarely go home from New York with cash in my pockets, they are usually filled with gum wrappers and ATM receipts.
The jam packed schedule, also makes visiting with New York friends a little tricky. If your pals are willing to meet you in Midtown there are plenty of places to meet up within arms length of the Grand Hyatt, if not the hotel itself.
If you are going, I can give you a few bits of advice based on my experience last year.
1. Wear layers.
The temperatures vary from room to room. Chances are it will be pretty damn cold outside but inside some of the rooms will feel like Arizona in July.
The style of your layers is up to you. Sophisticated casual was the norm last year.
2. You don't need your laptop.
I dragged my laptop and messenger bag all over the hotel, the subway and the streets of Manhattan.
A tablet or a smart phone makes much more sense. A sketchpad (you always carry one of those anyways, right?) is your best bet for taking notes and important doodling.
3. You do need your messenger bag..
...or tote or backpack.
4. Have these five things at the ready in your bag:
a. water bottle
drink just enough to stay hydrated, you want to avoid the long bathroom lines if possible
b. granola bar
break time is limited, it is good to have an emergency snack to keep the blood sugar up
c. promotional card with all of your contact information
give one to everyone you talk to or sit next to
d. pen and paper
write down every great idea you hear or think of, there will be too many for dehydrated, overwhelmed mind to remember
the dry air of the hotel are enough to give this coastal girl a bloody nose
5. Say, "Hello" to me. I am friendly and I hardly know anyone here either.
See you in New York!