Over the last few years I have entered numerous library (and non-library related) competitions to attend conferences, events (or win shoes and theatre tickets) and have won absolutely nothing. I'd started to wonder whether it was worth it as it can be quite demoralising to keep getting rejected, especially after sometimes having to write essays or ask people for recommendations which can make all concerned feel a little cringy.
Last year I entered the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Early Careers Conference Award (ECCA) award in the Leadership and Management division and was beaten by the indefatigable Ned Potter. Even though I didn't win, it introduced me to the SLA and I have been paying it a bit more attention by reading their magazine have so far attended one of their events and a webinar. However, I digress. I decided that by entering so much I was just rattling off applications and possibly not putting enough thought into the specifics of each one I was applying to. So, as I realised that by putting thought and consideration into every single competition going I would have less time to spend it elsewhere I decided instead to be more picky. This is the reason why I almost didn't apply again for the ECCA award this year. It seemed like one of those too good to be true awards that only went to the great and the good. So off I toddled and applied for some money and time from work to go to LILAC - having never been before I keep hearing lots of good stuff about it and I know I would get a lot out of it. As it's directly related to what I do I thought it would be a doddle. In the meantime, I read this encouraging post from Bethan Ruddock and it gave me the final push I needed to complete the SLA application. Needless to say I didn't get the bursary from work but, wait for it reader, I am going to Chicago!
I am incredibly grateful to SLA and the Leadership and Management division for sponsoring me. I am very excited about it and I hope I do them proud.
So the moral of this story is what? I'm not quite sure. I guess don't just go for things that seem like an easy option. Don't be put off by something that looks too good to be true (unless it involves paying cash up front and claims that you will grow another five inches/lose five inches from your waist!) and keep trying.