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  • Marisa Wolf

The Joy of Con



I had so much fun at MarsCon that I utterly failed to take more than a handful of pictures, so the above is sunset back in Charleston. I'm not going to do a full post-con report because my fave Kacey Ezell invited me to record a video for her channel where we do a whole debrief on the awesomeness, which you can check out riiiiight on over here.


Plus, some things that happen at con are probably required to stay at con. Or amongst people who were there. Hypothetically.


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But the upshot is this: MarsCon is a fantastic time - Joel, Mari, and the phenomenal senior staff are both fans and logistical geniuses, and if they're running a con, you can be sure you're in good hands. Huge thanks to them, and to all the volunteers who work their tails off so we can have an amazing con time.


I've been incredibly lucky in the cons I've attended (Dragon, Liberty, Mars, FantaSci, FenCon) in how delightful they are. While I know cons aren't for everyone, what I love about them in general -- ok, some of the things -- ok, the top three things...


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Ahem. I really love conventions, y'all. For a suuuper long list of reasons, but to sum up:


The people: Being surrounded by your people for a few days is totally worth the lack of sleep and inevitable disorientation when getting home. Whether you are a fan of a niche show/book/comic, an all-around nerd, an aspiring professional, an always-learning professional, there are fascinating people to talk to, and folks who will just get you, and there is no way to overstate that feeling of home.


The smaller cons are rich in chances to connect with new folks and ease on into conversations if that's your jam, play games with equally enthusiastic people, or just observe shenanigans at panels or in common spaces - or at room parties, if that's your thing.


The larger cons are real, real, real quality for people watching, and often times to make new friends in elevators (is that just DragonCon? I bet it happens at multiple cons...).


Either way, just being surrounded by my fellow nerds gives me a creative boost that lasts for weeks (once I sleep a bit, anyhow) afterward.


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The panels: I loooove a con with a range of panels. Again, I've been very lucky in my con attendance as a pro, meaning I've very rarely had a panel that fell flat (I think I've had one where nobody came and the panelists just hung out and had an amazing time anyhow), and MarsCon's were no exception. They were so much dang fun (from chatting dragons and cursing to certain people knocking things off tables in a cat panel to pure transporter-accident shenanigans on a Sunday morning) that despite my #strugglebison level of tired, I giggle in complete joy whenever I think about them.


The creative geniuses who come up with programming for cons all deserve a beverage of their choice, is what I'm saying, and I'm cheers-ing them in spirit right now.


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The professional shenanigans: – look, I love alliteration. I'm not sorry. Aaaanyway – something I have really, really valued over the last few years is getting to talk shop and learn from incredible folks, and the cons I've been to have been key in that. Speaking only to my own experience as a growing writer, I highly, highly recommend cons with a heavy literary focus if you are thinking about or exploring writing as a whole thing.


Some cons have dedicated writing tracks where you can learn from brilliant people in the field, or you can pick up all kinds of tips at panels or in after-hours lobby/bar areas. At MarsCon, I learned a LOT about Abraham Lincoln, added to my TBR list in all the best ways, cackled until I cried, and talked business, ads, writing routines, and got all kinds of industry insight from kickass humans.


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I love cons, and get a lot of energy from being around my fellow nerds. I'm by no means an expert, having only been to a handful of the many across the country, but if you ever want to talk cons - your favorites, or if you should go to one, or what to think about in advance of your first - pleeeeeease know that would bring me almost as much joy as going to cons does.


A HUGE thank you to all the people who volunteer their time (and sanity) to make cons a reality for us. Most recently, once again - to Joel, Mari, and the senior staff of MarsCon: you are rockstars! Thank you for your awesomeness and the staggering amount of work you do to make all this happen - it is more appreciated than I can express even with allllll the exclamation points.


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