Let’s talk about the fourth dimension. No, not those theme park rides that jostle you around, but time. It’s a precious resource, especially on a con weekend. Guests, contests, panels, vendors, photoshoots – loads of activities, all competing for your attention and time. If you’re not careful about budgeting that time, it’s easy to miss out on things you wanted to do. I know that regret firsthand.
Pre-planning is always the safest bet. Most cons provide a schedule with all the major events and guests in the weeks prior to opening day. Take the time to look it over and begin prioritizing what matters to you. Is it a major panel on fan fiction or that celebrity you’ve always loved? Is it a fandom-themed photoshoot or that sci-fi speed dating? Make sure to factor in time for sitting in line and account for when issues arise. Depending on the con, it could be a couple hours on your dance card. Once events are decided, you can plan for other group meet-ups, when to hang with friends, and time for other essentials – like actually eating something. [Side PSA: Make sure to eat.] Depending on your priorities, your day may be all photoshoots, a variety of events to run between, or even none-of-the-above as you stroll the con floor with absolutely no commitments.
Like the old adage goes though, “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” Be prepared for some improvisation on the day of the convention. Lines get too long, photographers cancel, the infamous con crud strikes early, all of which means you have to adapt. Most times it’ll be out of your control. Try to stay flexible, and hopefully it leads you to even better adventures! An old friend of mine said it best: “If everything goes right, what fun is that? It’s only when things don’t quite work out how you expect that you get the best stories.”
Time on a con weekend is a commodity (unless you’re a time traveler, in which case, contact me), and you want to be prepared. So plan ahead, set lots of cell phone alarms, and try to have some fun. Life’s too short to regret spending all weekend in line or not having fun.