As you might know, last weekend I attended YALC with my sister and had basically the best time. I saw Jason Momoa so many times we've agreed he's an honorary member of the family and has a standing invitation to Christmas. I met Sasha Alsberg who is basically the blogger who made me a blogger in the first place (and who was also the loveliest person I've ever met - no exaggeration), and Laura Steven who wrote my favourite book of the year - The Exact Opposite of Okay. And because I'm now obviously an expert on all things conventions I thought I'd write down my top tips!
1) Bring a Masseuse
Oh god the muscle pains. The shoulders, the FEET. I heard someone suggest on Twitter that YALC set up a massage station and I'm thinking we go one better and just take our own personal masseuse. This is a flawless plan and I definitely can't think of anything wrong with it.
The Serious Advice: Wear comfortable everything. If you're cosplaying then this might be a tough one (and also you have all my respect) but otherwise - think boring, sensible shoes. And don't where a dress with a popper that comes undone everytime you breathe. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything...
OK maybe I'm getting carried away but if Jason Momoa can have a bodyguard (and clearly doesn't need one) why can't I - who have all the self defence skills of an unripe tomato - have one too? No more would I get shoved everytime I went into the Comic Con section (which is crazy crowded by the way). And hey, maybe my bodyguard could carry things for me too??
The Actual Advice: If you need one get the special help pass. I didn't get one for my sister (who has a spinal injury) and I seriously regretted it every time I had to walk behind her defensively to protect her from even being bumped into - or had to explain to someone yet again that it would be super helpful if she didn't have to stand in a queue for ages because she will collapse. If you don't need the special help pass then for sure just be careful. Don't go into situations that make you uncomfortable. Getting crushed in a crowd is not worth it. Even if the sales are crazy good.
Just to relax in, seize a moment. Sit down. Eat some grapes. Get fanned with giant palm fronds, spa treatments... This is starting to get ridiculous.
What I Actually Mean Is: Take breaks. By the end of the last day of YALC the floors were cluttered with people just sitting down in the middle of the floor. The chill out zone had long been abandoned and everyone more or less just collapsed wherever they could. There's not usually a rush at YALC and even if there is - there will always be moments where you don't need to be anywhere particularly. Take those moments, sit down and for goodness sake drink water. Especially if it's as hot as it was this year because oh my GOD it was awful.
Can't even make up an over fancified version of this because it is so boring. But its always worth printing off the schedule in advance and highlighting what you want to do. Maybe even colour code if you're feeling real adventurous. Oh what an exciting life I lead...
Obviously you might not have time to take for the five course meal you want - and forget about getting one of those pigs with an apple in its mouth (by the way where do you get one of those and also why would you want one?). But hey, definitely have a big breakfast if you can. And arrange to have dinner in the evening. This sounds like dumb advice right? But last year I had tiny breakfasts (because that's my usual) and then couldn't afford lunch at the actual event (seriously why is it £5 for a muffin???!!!) and had made no arrangements for dinner. In short, I was permanently hungry and had no energy. This year I changed that and it was so, so much better.
My absolute favourite part of YALC is always just... meeting people. As someone with social anxiety - talking does not come easy. But being at YALC is as easy as it will ever get. I'm surrounded by people with the same interests as me who are all absolutely lovely people - and every time I leave YALC I always wish I'd made more of an effort. Its something I'll get better at over time for sure, but I can't wait to come away from YALC with so many new friends. Until then I just relish being able to have actual conversations with people!!
Have you been to YALC or any other convention? Do you have any tips of your own to share?