By JC Lynne and Bonnie McKnight
From February 2020 on our reality has shifted from one hot mess to another. Oh hell, who are we kidding? Dare we trace our slippery slope a bit further back? We all have experienced some struggle. Some more than others, we respect that everyone’s experiences are different.
And then came Zoom, Google Meet, and numerous E-Learning applications to add to our anxiety. Never mind, it should have been easy to avoid glitches in our web cam worlds, but nope. From errant pets to errant kids to errant penises, we’ve proven our online meetings skills are wanting.
And now, virtual conferences. Are you kidding me? What the Whova?!
Yes, Whova. The pandemic not only wreaked havoc with our day-to-day, but with our conference as well. Last year, we had to cancel outright. This year, well, we’ve tapped into our creativity and figured out how to bring the best to you safely.
Whova is a management application that helps us bring our conference to you while keeping our distance, keeping you safe, and reminding us all that we are a community.
Historically, the NCW Writers Conference has offered high quality presenters, a warm and welcoming environment at a reasonable cost. This year isn’t any different. Well, mostly. We have an amazing and diverse collection of presenters, opportunities to pitch to agents, critique sessions, and the chance to network with our peers.
NCW is using a blend of Zoom and Whova technologies to get as close as possible to the in-person conference feel. With interactive video-call classes, a digital exhibitors’ hall and bookstore, and online networking opportunities, NCWC 2021 will help you learn from and interact with fellow writers and publishing professionals just like in years past. The conference boasts over 50 learning sessions, plus expert panels, networking events, and social hours. And it’s all virtual.
We’ll simply be tuning in from the safety of our own space.
We’ve all experienced frustration with conflicting sessions. You know, there are always at least two presentations you want to see that conflict. A virtual conference offers the chance to check out recordings of workshops so you don’t have to miss out on anything!
No More FOMO
“All of those classes sound amazing,” you say. “How can I possibly choose which ones to skip?”
You know we writers regularly struggle with the Fear Of Missing Out. Throughout the five days of the conference, up to four sessions will be running concurrently (Check out the agenda). You’ll get to choose which ones you want to attend in real time—we recommend deciding on presenters you’d like to ask questions of and talk to live. But the great news is, you don’t have to miss out on a thing. All conference attendees will have access to the recordings of each session, keynote, and panel.
That’s also great news for those whose day job interferes with the conference schedule. Attend what you can, and watch the rest at your leisure.
That’s more bang for your buck!
The virtual conference also takes virtually all of the stress out of networking. As introverts, we understand the social anxieties that come with attending an in-person conference. If you just wanted to learn, you could do it from the safety of your own home, right? Right. So the point of a conference, then, is to meet other like-minded people.
We understand the anxiety some writers experience when forced to interact with new people.
Cue the virtual conference! With Zoom meetings, you can keep your mic and camera off in those moments when social anxiety is too much. And then join in when you feel comfortable. Even better, the Whova app makes it easy to start conversations through private messages and forum discussions. It’s got some fun ice breaker questions. You can easily approach other writers and industry professionals to ask the questions foremost on your mind. NCWC 2021 has some top-notch faculty who will be just a click away.
Through Whova, you can keep track of who went to different sessions with you and seek them out later. And with profiles full of bios and social media links, Whova networking is close to the dream of a video-game-like interface for life.
A virtual conference is really the best of both worlds. You can learn and network like before, all from the comfort of your own home—and you control the schedule. Plus, the digital arena provides new and exciting ways to interact and benefit from your experience. You will love it!