Con Prep: All the Things!

This year’s Balticon — a four-day celebration of all things science fiction and fantasy — is almost upon us. And, surprising no one who’s ever met me, I might be a little overcommitted. But only because I like to hedge my words. I am completely overcommitted.

There are four levels to my preparations — personal prep, author prep, panelist prep, and staff prep. While there was so much I wanted to get done and thought I could squeeze in, there came a point when I had to bow to the constraints of time and acknowledge I wasn’t going to get everything done.

Personal Prep

For myself, I need clothes, toiletries, masks — the usual travel stuff. Also, because I forget that I like sleep, I decided I wanted to host a party Saturday night. So, my car may be 90% food and kitchen appliances.

I booked my hotel room when the room block opened and pre-purchased my discounted parking.

I made sure I took a day off of work before and after the convention, got a massage the night before I packed, and am doing my best to hydrate.

All-in-all, I feel prepared on a personal level.

Author Prep

I really wanted to have my space fantasy ready to query by Balticon. It is fully drafted and edited, but I need to finish a final pass to incorporate some notes before it’s good. I’m 100 pages from the end. If I had no other things going on this week, I could probably have pushed and made it, but that’s not my week.

I did make time to work on my query letter, my synopsis, and put together a logline so I can tell people what I’m working on.

For my author prep, I’m giving myself a: reasonable, based on time and outside obligations.

Panelist Prep

With my panelist hat, I signed up for a bunch of writing panels and convention facilitation events. The writing stuff is in alignment with my blogger, youtuber, podcaster channels. The convention facilitation events are in alignment with my role as assistant social media and publicity coordinator.

To prep, I reworked my Beta Reading: For Fun and (No) Profit workshop to be more interactive and less lecturing. I was in Ikea on a date a month or so ago and picked up a chalkboard easel, and this week, I made handouts. I’m hoping people come and find it worthwhile.

I’m also helping host a ‘First Timers & Friends’ meet and greet, plus a tour and snacks. So, I picked up some food and made some plans with the help of the con chair and the head of the con suite.

I’ve posted on my social media platforms where people can find me.

Finally, I made sure to update my business cards (the back now has a QR code for my linktree, which holds all of my social media links).

Sometimes, the moderator for a panel will email to coordinate with the other panelists ahead of time. I’m not moderating any shared panels, and I haven’t received any emails. Other than that, I think my prep is all done.

Staff Prep

I’ve been working on newsletters, creating ads, our press kit, and posting on the social media platforms for months. As we draw close to opening day, I went through the schedule so I can highlight our major events and the events featuring our guests of honor and special guests.

Tomorrow, I need to schedule all of the event-based posts I’d like to go up, because I’m going to be busy trying to capture photographs of the con, being on 9 events, and hosting my own party. I’m not going to be able to consistently post, and I don’t want people to miss a thing!

There was so much more I wanted to do in order to hype up the convention. Unfortunately, my co-staffers had other jobs, and at some point, I have to accept what I could get done and what I couldn’t. I tried to not miss priority items and did what I could with the rest.

Everything I wanted to do and didn’t get done are things I can do. They are absolutely things I am capable of doing. But time is a limited resource. Energy is a limited resource. While my productivity is very often momentum-based, that can only take me so far.

I give myself deadlines and expectations based on what I can do on a good day. What I can do when I’m being super productive and everything is flowing. But, not every day is a good day. Some days, I don’t have 100% to give.

I’m working on accepting my own limits when they include not getting things done that I know I am capable of doing.

How are you at accepting your limits?

I may have bought too much food or too many drinks.


  1. I’ve been wanting to go to one of these. It has been a while. They are difficult to find in California. I know of one in Oregon. God, I miss it. If you have any leads of any in California, please let me know.

    Thanks for the share.



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