How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Con

TheConHave you seen the programming guide?

Dragon Con has 37 fan tracks. Those are your Star Wars, Star Trek, Brit Track, Costuming, Puppetry, Anime, Science, Writing and so much more. Then are are the 9 sections of gaming, which we are part of, and a whole mess of events, and workshops, and the hall of fame, and artists alley, and… you get the picture.

You might be tempted to sit down with a highlighter, or with the mobile app, and pick out all the awesome things that you are going to do. Then, after you’ve done that, you’ll have a minor heart attack when you realize that there are no less than eight things you want to be doing at any one time. And that doesn’t even include any time to just chill and hang out with people.

But relax… take a deep breath… now listen to me.

Accept the fact that there is too much to do at Dragon Con. You cannot see it all… unless you have a time turner. (If you have a time turner, please see me on Thursday before con, or Tuesday after, it really doesn’t matter.) The best plan is to pick one thing every day that you will attend, 100%, without fail. Everything else you plan for the day should be considered fluid. If you meet cool people, or hear about something you didn’t know about before, previous plans can be chucked, except that one thing – go to that, because honestly if you can look at all of the day’s events and boil it down to one event to tag as your “can’t miss” event, it must be super important to you. Blow it off only for the most awesome of spontaneous events, and not for sitting in a room of an event you don’t care about because someone else kinda wanted to see it. If they really cared about you, they’d blow off their “kinda” event for your “must see”.

It may sound harsh to “miss out” on so much stuff, but trust me, while most stuff at con is pretty cool, very little of it is worth 4 solid days of hectic hair pulling and running around. And to be honest, we know that everyone can’t see everything, which is why some panels repeat year after year and guests return again and again. I can’t guarantee that if you skip a panel you’ll be able to catch it (or something like it) next time, but there is a greater than zero chance on just about anything.

Now that you have come to terms with the reality of your inability to be in many places at once, we run headlong into the problem of when two places you want to be, even when they don’t happen at the same time, happen at opposite ends of the world. Yeah, I said “the world” because for 4+ days, 5 hotels, the America’s Mart and all the roads between them are going to be your world. And the world doesn’t get larger just because you couldn’t get a room in a host hotel. It means you are an astronaut making daily (nightly) trips to the moon.

There is a lot of ground to cover. Literally, not figuratively. Figuratively the advice is thus: Plan accordingly. That means either try to stick to events that are close together with as few long walks as you can manage, or be prepared for lots of walking. The longest treks will be from the Sheraton to the Hyatt or from the Westin to the Hilton, or either of those in reverse order. Generally you get a half hour between panels to get from one to the other, and it should be plenty of time. Should.

If you can take the heat, get on the street. Seriously. The tunnels between hotels can get crowded (and hot and stinky, if the air conditioning fails, which has happened), and sometimes going outside can be much much faster.

But above all, plan your travel distances into your activities schedule. If you know you are a slow walker, plan gaps between events whenever you can. Because honestly, at a con full of some of the most wonderful cosplay I’ve seen in my life, walking slow can be an event all its own.

You can’t see everything, and you can’t be everywhere, but if you can eliminate the stress, you can better enjoy everything you can see and do.


Jhaer