When you run a con, you’re never really not-running a conference…

In the weeks before a major event, you never really switch off. You just power down for a bit, waiting for the next call where you leap into action and get things done.

We are five weeks out from GenreCon, and it’s my sixth go-around running a big event, so I know what to expect from this bit. I know that I cannot be trusted with an iron, because we’ve entered the period where I will just leave it on. I know I’ll climb aboard the wrong train and go 25 minutes out of my way before it occurs to me that I should be home by now. The nightmares have started and the constant, low-key adrenaline has set in.

People keep reassuring me that things will be fine, and I’m about 99% sure that they will be, and event like GenreCon is a lot of moving parts and this is the period where I’m not responsible for all of them. There’s a lot of handing off to others and waiting for news to filter back, and there’s a lot of points where people who aren’t familiar with the con start interacting with systems and processes.

This is the point where we start finding out what I’ve got right this year, and what can be improved next time. It’s the point where I am on alert at all times, in case I can circumvent just one more thing and keep it all running smoothly.

I play a lot of computer games in the lead-up to a con, because they’re relatively easy to immerse myself in when needed and put down when it’s time to fix something. I mainline a lot of TV. This year, I’m gearing up to run a D&D campaign for the first time in seven or eight years, and the sudden shift from very rules-light to moderately rules-intensive systems gives me plenty of things to tinker with when I need to keep my brain distracted.

It’s also a good time to learn new skills and experiment with my practice. Last time around, I switched over to drafting in notebooks after writing on PCs for nearly a decade. This time, I’m putting things into place to launch a micro-publisher going by the name of Brain Jar Press before the end of the year, the culmination of several months of set-up and planning.

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