Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mixing Family and Writing: Now THAT's genre blending....

So, I'm a little nervous about this year's AnthoCon. Not because of a reading or panel appearances or anything like that. I'm trying something new, blazing out new territory for me in the field of Writing Cons.

I'm bringing the entire family with me. Abby, and Madison and Zack. Mixing writing with family for a combo mini-vacation/writing convention. 

And again, I don't mind admitting I'm a little nervous about the prospect.

But this was inevitable, I think.  After about four years of moderate Con travel, I've come to realize a very important thing: as much fun as they are, as refreshing and renewing as it is to hang out with writers all weekend and talk shop....

There's a danger, there.

Of getting caught up in "convention life." (such as it is) Of drifting, a little (and maybe, over time, a lot), from home and family and things that are far more important than writing and even writing colleagues.

About a year ago, Abby and I had a good, long talk about all this. It was  a good talk, and we both communicated our feelings pretty clearly. Abby expressed her honest fears about being left behind in the mundane, pedestrian grind of daily life, worried that - even though I'll never be a bestseller or anything like that - I'd succumb to the allure of being on the road, hitting Cons, rubbing shoulders and elbows with other writers.

I confessed my same fears, and also reiterated the real reason I attend at least one or two Cons a year is to stay in touch with my colleagues, friends, other writing professionals and to meet new people.  And she agreed with those reasons as being valid.

But....

The writing life can take an awful toll on family life. This, I've seen. And while LIFE is hard for everyone, there are some hard roads I'd like to avoid entirely. And I KNOW I'd never be able to keep up this writing gig if it weren't for Abby's support, if weren't for my family. And I've come to also realize that while Cons are awesome fun and important at some point, they AREN'T writing.  

So we decided to try this - bring the family to AnthoCon. Of all the Cons I know, it's the most family-friendly, with a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere (I don't think Abby or Madi is ready for the wonderful freak-show that is Horrorfind). Plus, the folks of AnthoCon have very literally become a different kind of family, so it only makes sense that the two families meet, finally.

But I am a little nervous. Not so much about having the kids and Abby around. I'm not a partier, honestly, so it's not like I have to act completely different. I will need to tap out earlier both nights, simply because Abby needs me to help put the kids down, and I don't want to wake them up, sneaking back in the room at 2 AM, and that wouldn't be fair to Abby, besides.

I just hope it won't be...crazy. That the kids will react well, listen, and not be TOO disruptive. That Abby and I won't be frazzled, and we can enjoy the experience, as a family.

Because that's most important. Family. And a balance needs to be struck, somehow, between writing and family. Which is not to say I feel things have been OUT of balance, but that I've become much more focused on intentionally maintaining it the last year or so, because - just like with cars - preventative maintenance is far wiser, easier, and less costly than repairing unnecessary damage. 

So, we'll see how the Great Experiment goes....