I’m here today with my very own YALC Survival Manual. I’m sure there’s quite a few of these floating around in the atmosphere now but as someone who is very introverted, I wanted to create a guide to help those in the same position because YALC can be a little soul-destroying to introverts who are under-prepared. (As I found out during the first YALC!)
Now this post is not supposed to scare you. If you’re an introvert you’re probably already feeling a little wary about YALC, right? There will be crowds. There will be people. There will be noise. Cameras. Authors. Friends. Bloggers. Books. Books. Books.
This is a post to help you deal with ALL THE EXTROVERTNESS of YALC without dying a little bit inside. And I really hope it helps!
Bring A Book
Well, I mean, I hope that you’ll bring LOTS of books but do bring one book that you are currently reading or one of your favourites that you could maybe re-read. YALC can get a bit overwhelming and when this happens, it is TOTALLY acceptable to go and find a corner – or cafe nearby – and read. This will allow you to stick your headphones in (if you need to) and tune out the world for a short while by escaping into another. No one will judge you because they all love reading too. It is literally the most perfect escape from all the madness of YALC.
Plan Your Events/Meet-ups Carefully
Before heading in you already know that you get overwhelmed in crowds and that people drain your energy, so instead of booking three days of back-to-back panels, signings, friend meets, etc, make sure that you also schedule in little breaks so that you can re-charge your inner batteries before having to face the world again. This may sound like an unusual piece of advice because OF COURSE you’d take breaks but I find that unless I schedule it, I don’t do it and then I go home and want to cry from the exhaustion of life.
Bring Plenty of Water
This is also just so that I know that you’ll be keeping yourself hydrated but I find that if you have and drink lots of water, it also gives you a good excuse to nip off to the toilet for a few extra minutes of downtime! Though, don’t forget it can sometimes get a bit social in the queue if you’re around the right people!
Remember There is an End
The first year I went to YALC, it was hot (which I think is going to be the same this year) and they forgot to put the A/C on and so we were all melting and it felt like I was literally going to die. I struggled through the day, did all the social things and then basically burnt myself out by the end of the first day. I nearly didn’t go back on the Sunday as I was just too fed up with the world. Fortunately I forced myself to go and found the second day was much better. It was also nice knowing that at the end of it, I could go home and be alone. There was an end. Don’t forget this.
There are a lot of people going to YALC and you may well know a lot of them too and they may know you so there may be lots of hugs and squeals of excitement but if you’re anything like me, too much of this throughout the day, especially if it’s hot can be a real killer, so just be conscientious of this. Some people may be excited to see you but may not want a hug or to squeal about it and you may feel the same way to so be strong in telling those around you that no, you would rather not be touched. Do not forget to look after yourself in that way. Most YALCers are very understanding so don’t worry about losing friends if you veto hugs!
Perhaps the biggest piece of advice is to remember that at the heart of it, YALC is a convention and conventions should be fun. If you’ve had fun but it’s getting too much, don’t worry about just leaving early. Don’t ruin the whole experience by staying too long and making your emotions drop too low. But also, don’t feel you have to leave just because I say you should either! Do what works best for you as you know yourself better than anyone else!
Go with a Friend
Hopefully you’re already doing this or will be meeting a friend there but I find that as an introvert, having someone there who I can tell that I need to disappear for a few minutes is really helpful. They know that I’ll be okay and I just need a moment. They’ll also be there to stop people from hugging you if you’re not strong enough or to speak on your behalf, or they might even come and sit and read with you because they are also feeling too overwhelmed by everything. It is totally acceptable to be introverted and have friends too!
So those are just some of my words of wisdom! These come from my own experiences and my own ways of helping to centre myself when I feel my core slipping but I hope that they may help some of you too!
And if you want some more tips, don’t miss these fab guides here: