"Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later." - Dana Stewart Scott
The evening I returned home from the Florida Writers Association Conference my sister asked if I got anything out of it. I replied, “I think so, but I’m not sure.”
The reason for that answer was not because there wasn’t anything of value offered; the reason was because there was too much. The older I grow, the slower my brain seems to absorb information.
Creative writing classes beginning at 7:00am were offered. I heard they were quite good and fun but chose to take other people’s word for it. At that time of morning I want coffee—not writing prompts. Beginning the day an hour later still afforded me the opportunity to take a four-hour workshop Friday morning and two ninety-minute afternoon workshops, four ninety-minute workshops on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Not counting the 7am classes, I had a choice of 31 workshops. Though many people hopped from one session to another, once committed I was there for the duration so I could only physically attend eight. Making the selections was no easy task. Sometimes I decided by the speaker and other times by the course description. I was a “room monitor” for several sessions so I was assigned to a particular speaker, saving me the anguish of having to make up my mind.
Besides one book signing stint, the time in-between sessions was spent chatting and eating as all meals and snacks were included. By time I returned to the room at night, I only had enough energy left to fall into bed in an exhausted heap. I never had the opportunity to review what I had “learned” each day.
Knowing that many people would want to attend every session, the clever conference organizers made the handouts from each workshop available to anyone wishing a copy. I think I picked up every single handout. When I returned home Sunday, I not only had a notebook filled with ideas and tips, but I also had an enormous stack of material from classes I didn’t attend. Simply thinking about the amount of information I had to wade through caused me to worry about brain overload.
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and fellow author. As we tend to do each time we get together, we talked for several hours nonstop about many writing related topics. I still haven’t had the opportunity to review my notes or read through the handouts so I was surprised at the number of times I found myself saying, “Oh, and in this workshop so and so said…”
I felt good knowing I actually retained valuable information. Maybe my brain is in better condition than I thought. Now, if asked the question of whether or not I got anything out of the conference, I can honestly say, “I sure did!”
Does anyone else suffer ever from information overload? Do you have any tips on how to organize notes and handouts to maximize their usefulness?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Dana Stewart Scott, Florida Writers Conference, creative writing, book signing, workshops,