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Conventions and Common Sense

I’m talking about cons a bit because this month is a con-heavy one for me. Three big ones, almost one right after the other–ConnectiCon, Raleigh Supercon, and Florida Supercon. I’ve been to ConnectiCon before, but the other two will be new shows for me, which I’m highly anticipating. I love conventions for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the chance to work alongside other authors who are my friends and peers, enjoying the excitement of selling each other’s books.

Anyways, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been to quite a few of these things over the years. In fact, I went to 20 in the course of 2015. Pretty crazy. Definitely got burned out and wouldn’t recommend that kind of always-on-the-go pace to anyone. Which is one of the things that sparked this particular post. Last time, we talked about ways you can go to a convention and spare your sanity a bit, so you enjoy the experience rather than simply endure and survive it. Now let’s consider a few things to keep in mind that, at first glance, might seem like common sense, but here are two behaviors that people can either forget or overly indulge in, to their detriment.

1. Remember Your Limits – You’re going to have a lot of opportunities to indulge at a convention. Yes, this includes room parties where alcohol might as well be passed out by the gallon by Bacchus himself, but also food, money, and simply your time. There are a lot of ways to come away from a convention in debt–financial debt, health debt, sleep debt–all of which can take you a long while to recover from. Sure, it may be a once-a-year experience for you, but if you come away totally trashed and smashed, did you actually have fun? Or did you rake your nerve endings over the coals of excess because you felt compelled to?

2. Respect Boundaries – There are many different people at cons these days, from many different walks of life. While cons are places where a lot of different lifestyles are more accepted, you can’t assume that people are comfortable with the same behaviors or personal limits that you are. So don’t assume that scantily clad cosplayer would be fine with a surprise bear hug from behind. Don’t assume that woman with the amazing hair wants you to come up and start petting her like a cat. Don’t assume that families with small kids (or even babies) want strangers coming up and trying to play with their children. Ask permission before taking photos (of vendors and cosplayers alike). Take time to read the convention’s code of conduct or harassment policy, if it has one, and respect it. You aren’t the only one at the con to have fun, so don’t assume that everyone else will align with your preferences and comfort zones.

What limits do you try to keep in place during a convention? Do you save your swag budget until the last day? Do you skip the room parties and make sure you get enough sleep? And when at cons, what personal boundaries have you struggled to have others respect? How do you cope with it?



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