Pre-Conference Thoughts

I’m writing this in the past and setting it to post on Monday. Right now, as I write this, it’s 10:53 on Thursday evening and I’m ensconced in a hotel room at Rydges South Bank, watching the minutes tick by as the start of the conference gets closer.

I’ve seen about twenty people I know this evening, courtesy of Lisa Hannett’s book launch. Almost all of those people started our conversation with some variation on “I’m surprised you’re still standing.”

But this is not the exhausting bit. Even when the disasters hit – and the one rule of running a conference is that disasters will hit – once you get to the night before the conference it’s pretty much out of your hands. You just kinda…hold on. Answer the questions you can, do what needs doing to keep things running, roll with any punches that come your way.

It doesn’t make it any easier to get to sleep.

Partially it’s the nervous energy, thinking about what’s coming. Partially it’s the faint sting of shame, brooding over the things you wish you’d done better. Partially, it’s just ’cause you’re punch drunk, and you feel like you’ve been taking hits and swinging blind for so long that you’re not sure how to just stop.

So you check your email and answer messages. You make notes about things you’d like to do differently next year. You check Facebook and Twitter and even Google+, ’cause you’re brain is looking for things to focus on and sleep eludes you.

Weirdly, this is probably my favourite part of running GenreCon.

And by the time this goes out, the con will be over. I’ll be tired and grumpy and either very satisfied or faintly displeased with the way things turned out, but at this point I’m very sure of the fact that a firm percentage of the writers coming along will be going home with a useful experience.

That doesn’t stop me crossing my fingers, just in case.

See you all tomorrow, once I’ve had some sleep.

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