The Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference starts on Wednesday. I’m both excited and apprehensive. While in some ways it’s easier to attend a virtual conference than a live one, I’m still afraid of missing anything. Five full days of content is a lot to digest at once. Yes, it will be recorded. But I know me. A recording I can watch any time I may never watch at all.
Initially, I intended to pare down the schedule by weeding out the things I wasn’t interested in. For each event, I asked myself, “Do I want to attend this?” The answer was yes every time. I couldn’t eliminate anything. What to do?
The funny thing about my dilemma is that it’s been advertised as a feature. When the virtual Wild Wonder was announced, everyone was celebrating the fact that every session would have its own time slot and you would not have to choose between activities. You could do it all!
Only it’s likely that I can’t. I get worn out by just a few hours of Zooming in one day. Five full days of online activity that includes classes may be more than I can handle. I want to do it all, but I need to plan as if I can’t.
I identified which sessions were most important by imagining that I was at a face-to-face conference after all. I looked at each day’s offerings and asked myself “If I could only do one of these, which would I choose?” I ranked all the sessions for each day by pretending there were conflicts.
Thinking about what I need to learn made it easier. Sessions that cover topics I really need help with — page layout, watercolor techniques, drawing trees — got top priority. Looking more closely at the event descriptions, I discovered that I’m not as interested in some parts as in others. I don’t want to give any of it up, but at least now I have a list to help me decide what to skip in a pinch.
In the end, of course, what really matters is that I get to attend at all. Back in January, I’d decided I wouldn’t be at Wild Wonder this year because I didn’t have much experience nature journaling and would probably freeze up if I was trying to journal around other people.
Then COVID-19 came along. I began nature journaling more but the face-to-face conference was cancelled. Then they announced the virtual conference, and it was the best of all worlds for me. Not only can I attend without going anywhere, but the drawing-around-other-people part that was so scary has also been removed.
Ultimately, whatever happens, I can’t wait for Wednesday.
Wild Wonder 2020 is an online event running from Wednesday the 7th to Sunday the 11th of October. You can still sign up. Registration for the entire event, including unlimited access to the video archive afterwards is only $75. Or, you can get a video-only access pass for $45 starting on October 11.