Convention Time: ReaderCon Musings

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What makes a good writers’ convention?

I’ve thought about this a lot lately. Last weekend I attended my fourth ReaderCon in five years. Thanks to demands of the day job, I couldn’t leave until Friday night. But everything starts Thursday evening and really gets underway Friday morning. In many ways, it felt like I missed half the convention. (And it was my first year of attending that I missed the Meet the Prose party Friday night. I love that event.)

I didn’t even know if I could go until a couple weeks out because no way could I make the five-hour drive myself after a full day of work. Not with the energy drain of growing a tiny human. It turned out one of my friends – a total con-newbie – could go with me so the drive turned out fine!

But still. I was missing half the con and my favorite event. Would this really be worth the investment in time, and energy, and money for hotel and food and gas?

I came to the conclusion that it depended on what I wanted out of the con and the weekend.

If my con goal were to pitch to an agent or editor, every con I’ve attended would fail. And that was my hope with the first couple I attended. I came away from those with a creative high and a vague feeling of disappointment that I was doing something wrong.

Now, cons are an awesome place to meet friends and immerse myself in my writerly community. A panel that makes a story nudge me is the best I can ask for. If I find a couple of those at a single con? I am a happy woman.

Of the three panels I attended, two gave me story-nudges and the third gave me a list of questions to ask myself and my characters for the sake of worldbuilding. Awesome.

I saw two brilliant writers read. Also awesome.

I met and gushed at Nnedi Okorafor, who might possibly be my favorite author, and which may have involved some slight fangirling on my part. So: awesome.

And to top it all off, the friend who volunteered as tribute came with me loved it and wants to go back next year!

So was it successful? Yes. Undoubtedly yes.

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