This past weekend was ArmadilloCon, which truly was an excellent whirlwind of a convention. I've been hearing a lot of positive buzz and feedback from several corners, and the phrase "best ArmadilloCon ever" has been whispered here and there. And I think, yeah, maybe so. It's hard for me to gauge exactly, of course. On the whole, each year is better for me, but each year has been marking my steady transition from hopeful-aspiring-writer to pro-with-a-stack-of-books, including the con treating me like a pro when I was "guy-with-an-agent-but-no-sales", which is an incredibly strange and frustrating stage in one's writing career.
But here is the thing about ArmadilloCon: it is probably the most friendly con for the aspiring-pro-writer out there. The writer's workshop is a centerpiece for the con, and it's probably the most valuable one-day workshop out there. I mean, most people can't afford the money or time to do something like Odyssey or Clarion, which are multiple weeks, but even if you don't live in Texas: you can probably swing a long weekend.
More to the point, the con is geared toward being an extended hand to people who are striving to be a professional writer. Panels on craft, panels on business of writing, and most of the pros who go there make a point of being open and welcome.
I mean, I've seen several cons where the "pro" space and the "fan" space are very specifically segregated, either implicitly or explicitly, and that often leaves the hopeful pro feeling left a bit at sea. But, many of our regular pros (including myself) came up through the workshop, and we all still have vivid memories of being there. We know how hard it is. We want to make it easier.
Also, the con is just filled with good energy. There's been a lot of specific steps taken to make the con more open and welcoming to people from traditionally marginalized groups, and continuing to improve and expand on that that has been a real goal.
We, the SFF Writing Community of Austin-- as well as the greater area of Texas as a whole-- are striving to give all of you: the established pro, the prospective hopeful, the eager fan-- the best con experience we can give you. We'd love for you to join us down here.
Plus: Tacos. And barbecue. And did I mention tacos?
Really. Come on down.