I got back from being guest of honor at LosCon late Monday night. It was a busy weekend, but a lot of fun. I did a ton of panels, met some wonderful people, caught up with friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while, signed some books, and ate way too much food. I even got to see a group cosplay of Danielle, Snow, and Talia from my Princess series, which was a definite highlight. (Pics from the weekend are up on Flickr.)
And then on Sunday, after closing ceremonies wrapped up and the convention came to a close, my brain started to pore over every potentially questionable or stupid or not-as-clever-as-I-thought-at-the-time thing I’d said or done for the entire weekend.
This is far from the first time, though it used to be much worse back when I was a) newer to the con scene, b) less successful or secure as an author, and c) not on antidepressants yet. I remember driving home from ConFusion years ago, beating myself up for the whole hour-long drive about a joke I’d bungled during a panel with John Scalzi.
I understand the phenomenon a bit better these days, but it still sucks. Partly, it’s exhaustion. You’re wiped out after the convention, and being tired magnifies all those insecurities. And the fact is, I know I stick my foot in it from time to time. We all do. It’s part of being human.
But I spend conventions trying to be “on.” Trying to be friendly and entertaining and hopefully sound like I know what the heck I’m talking about. Basically, trying to be clever. And I trust most of you are familiar with the failure state of clever?
Sometimes a joke falls flat. Sometimes I say something I thought was smart and insightful, realizing only after the words have left my mouth that it was neither. Sometimes an interaction feels off, like I’ve failed at Human Socializing 101. Or I get argumentative about something. Or I fail to confront something I should have gotten argumentative about. I could go on and on about the possibilities. That’s part of the problem.
The majority of the conversations and panels and interactions were unquestionably positive. But there’s a span when my brain insists on wallowing through the questionable ones, and I keep peeking at Twitter to double-check if anyone has posted that Jim C. Hines was the WORST guest of honor EVER, and should be fired from SF/F immediately.
Then I get home. I see my wife and kids and the beasts. I get some sleep. I shift back into the day-to-day work. After a day or two, my brain mostly settles back to its usual equilibrium. Maybe I follow up with someone about a particular interaction if I’m still worried about it. Maybe I try to just let things go and focus on the positive. (Note: I said try.)
If this all sounds familiar, my sympathies. You’re not alone.
I had a good time at LosCon, and I’m very thankful to the convention for inviting me. To those of you who share my post-convention insecurities, I hope you’re catching up on some sleep and getting past them to be able to focus on all of the awesome and amazing conversations and interactions.
And I’ll wrap this up with a link to a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic, which was shared by Randy McCall over on Facebook.