What I've learned is it's addictive, it pushes my creative boundries like nothing else can.
You need to read all threads connected to VSN, it is amazing what you can learn from others.
Become a Fan Club member, that way you get sneek peeks that you can do before VSN starts and be ahead. You still have to do your cards in the 45 minutes though.
Be a hostess that way you get to see all the challenges before the event (I like to keep a few to do live though just because it's fun)
I start planning as soon as I know what the theme is usually a month or two before the challenge, buying a few papers (I nearly always use them) a few stamps (that I never use for the VSN, anyway)
I'm very lucky because I have a dedicated craft room and everything is layed out so that I can go to it straight away.
Here are a few things that speed up the process;
I go with the first idea that comes into my head after I have read the challenge, I wont let myself procrastinate thats deadly.
I have two kitchen timers one I set at 30 minutes and the second one I set at 45 minutes.
I always use my SU snail for attaching card layers, it is about three times faster than using double sided tape. I know it is more expensive but if you use it for VSN only then it's not so bad. I used about one snail for this VSN but I did 17 cards including my two examples. The only time I don't us snail is if I have dry embossed.
I use my SU "Colour Coach" all the time to work out colour themes
I try to avoid colour blending unless it is very basic instead I will colour a few images in the week or two before the VSN on the off chance I can use them (but hardly ever do) and I was told very early in my VSN journey that this is perfectly acceptable.
I just go with the flow and sometimes I'm really happy with the way cards have turned out and sometimes I'm not. Often cards I have made that I don't like other people do and vice versa
And the most important thing is to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!