That title speaks for itself, but I know you wouldn’t have clicked this blog post if you didn’t want more details. So, rather than rehash the weekend, I’ll review what I learned while traveling to the 2023 SFWA Nebula Conference.
Lessons from the Journey:
- Philadelphia International Airport’s TSA is so militaristic that it serves serious dystopian police-state vibes. Do not recommend.
- I have physical limits. Sitting on a plane for five hours made my back very unhappy.
- I have emotional limits. Pain is real, and it sucks. Thank goodness for my hex bag full of rocks and feathers, cos it saved me from melting down a couple of times.
- Phones are everything! Have you ever needed to get from LAX to Disneyland without a car? Let me just say that if I hadn’t had my smartphone, I would have missed the conference and spent the weekend at the airport sleeping under the escalator.
- I am 100% completely done with the west coast. I’ve tried and tried again, and it’s simply not for me. I have no future there. I’m not even going to think about it anymore. Along those lines, I refused to be jet-lagged and stayed on east coast time the whole weekend. That made all the difference since I avoided peak times for nearly everything. Get up at 2 AM, and there’s so much peace. Go to bed at 6 PM and miss the bar scene. Highly recommend.
- I’m really not like other people (but that’s to my advantage). You all love ketchup WAY too much. You’re also noisy AF.
- Get yourself the damn Lyft app. Thank me later.
Lesson from staying a block away from Disneyland:
- Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising!
- People travel to Disney on a pilgrimage to worship their favorite characters.
- People will pay a lot of money for a memorable experience– a LOT of money.
- An economy and ecosystem have sprung up around Disneyland. It’s not just a CVS. It’s a CVS/Disney gift shop. The 711 plays classical music. The whole place smells like flowers. I didn’t see one homeless person. The entire town of Anaheim is a fantasy land.
- Like Vegas, it’s designed to pump money out of guests. But it’s also NOT like Vegas in a strange, intangible way. There’s a kind of sameness in the guests. Middle-aged women ran around in Mickey Mouse ears, Disneyland T-shirts, and shorts. It felt like an open-air cosplay conference. They were virtue-signaling to the rest of the fandom. All the people dressed almost the same. That is not the case in Vegas, where individualism reigns.
Lessons from the conference:
- I don’t like socializing with strangers, even when they are nice. It feels forced and awkward.
- I can get a LOT of work done alone in a hotel room, like an insane amount. I refused to pay for daily WiFi. I figured the Internet would survive in my absence for one weekend. And going entirely offline allowed me to get deep with my current WIP. I solve major problems and came home ready to GO with Fury.
- My favorite sessions were on branding, maintaining momentum in a series, and the impact of AI on writers.
- I need to listen to myself and take breaks from peopling when necessary.
- Autism is real.
- Exercise helps.
- My imposter syndrome is cured.
I literally wrote these observations down in my notebook while I was there. So, I hope they were helpful.