This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending VCON39! I’m still exhausted, and writing this in a half-bleary state, but overall I can say I had a good time at my first SFF Con. I can totally see why some people go every year!
For a small con, there were plenty of writing panels scheduled the entire weekend, and I spent most of my time flitting from one to the other, and saying hi to people who I recognized from Twitter. I completely forgot to bring my camera, but a friend forwarded me this slightly blurry phone photo. That was my first panel ever. HISTORY, folks.
I’m sure I shoved a foot in my mouth more than once, and rambled a little, but I did learn a few things. I actually enjoyed the public speaking.
Tips for nervous panellists:
- It may help to view a panel as just a conversation about writing among friends.
- Bring notes with a few related things to talk about in case you blank out. (I had to refer to my cheat sheet a couple of times).
- Write down the names of your co-panellists, so you can refer to them by name instead of pointing (I’m terrible with names, so this helped).
Actually, if you can swing it, even if you have just one short story published, do volunteer to speak on a panel the next time you’re at a con, or propose one. It’s a great way to meet other writers, or introduce yourself to them without being super awkward.
I had a good laugh with several new acquaintances, and even a shy gal like me ended up in the bar (drinking soda), because we got a little too loud in the hallway. Writer’s… they can talk about writing all day.
Hopefully that was the first good experience of many!