The biggest thing I have to say about WorldCon, other than that I’m so glad I went, is that it is not a place for the shy or unprepared. First of all, there are a lot of people. Not as many as at SDCC or Emerald City but still a lot. I could walk the floor without having to wedge my way through a crowd, which was nice. I’m not fond of the salmon swimming upstream experience (the odds of being consumed by a bear are too high). I had heard that most of the attendees don’t arrive until Thursday and leave early on Monday and that was certainly true. There were twice as many people on Friday and Saturday than the rest of the weekend. It was one of the reasons I was glad to have arrived early so that I could check in and get my bearings beforehand. I don’t think would have made it to Friday and Saturday’s panels on time if I hadn’t.
Speaking of panels, there was no shortage of things to do. Besides panels there were lots of workshops, filk performances, kaffeeklatsches, sight seeing walks, dances, awards presentations, literary beers (a kaffeeklatsch with booze instead of coffee), and of course the never ending BarCon. There were so many things that I wanted to attend and didn’t make it to because of one conflict or another. In fact, it’s a good idea to look at the programming either before you go or right after you check in (preferably before). I spent about three hours going over the programming guide the day they posted it online so I could plan out the entire weekend. I marked the panels and events that interested me during each hour of programming and picked the one that I felt was the informative or advantageous. Even then, about a third of what I picked was pushed aside at the last minute.
I made the mistake of not scheduling in time to rest or eat. The fact that I regretted not scheduling that time may sound ridiculous, but when there’s that much to do and that many people to meet it really does have to be scheduled in. I also want to emphasize the or in that sentence. The chances that you'll get plenty of both are pretty slim. I ended up skipping a late afternoon panel everyday so I would have an hour to pursue one of those options before the parties and BarCon. I usually chose food so I wouldn’t be tempted to snarf snacks at the parties. It’s really hard to make a good impression or pitch a novel when your mouth is full of Gardetto’s. Just saying.
I'm definitely going to keep all of this (and a few things I'll talk about in the coming weeks) in mind when I go to other Cons, particularly for Spokane in 2015. This year's Con definitely whetted my appetite for Conventions. Fatigue and crazy hours aside, it was wonderful. I loved every minute of it and I can't wait to do it again.