Although I am not working a regular full-time job, I have been dividing my time between freelance ebook editing and volunteer work on the FOGcon organizing committee -- my first time working on an SF convention. I am the webmistress and site content provider, plus I've written a lot of collateral material -- flyers, social media, even a draft of a grant proposal. I'm also coordinating disability access, attending countless meetings, and generally having a good time.
The con itself will be even busier. I'm on three panels, I think, and I'll probably do a volunteer shift in the con suite and definitely one on Safety. Oh, and I've got a table in the dealers room, selling jewelry with gramina. Why yes, I have moments of feeling like I'm waist deep in the Big Muddy, except that I'm the big fool saying to push on. Other times I realize that I can handle all of it, especially if I give myself some space and solitude every day.
Most of the people I'm closest to are also on the con com. housepet is treasurer, gramina is a hotel liaison, pokershaman is doing safety, wild_irises is hotel liaison, general consultant, and wise elder. I'm also getting to know some amazing new people. One advantage of working so closely with the people you live with or spend a lot of time with is that the existing relationships can facilitate cooperation, and the shared experience cements the bonds. One disadvantage is that a couple weeks out, when everyone is tense and stressed, it's easy to get crossways with each other.
The work is absorbing, and it's giving me more confidence. Not being able to find a job the past few years has been both painful and damaging for me. However, I'm getting compliments on the organization of the site and the quality of the writing, and I plan to showcase this work in my professional portfolio. Moreover, I'm realizing how well I work within a project-based structure, whether it's doing theatre or a Renaissance Faire, book production, software development, or even putting on a big party or wedding. Some of the very best parts of my marriage were the projects we did together --mostly home renovation, but also the great parties we gave. I've really missed that in the years since I left.
In all those projects, the final performance is designed to be smoothly, seamlessly impressive to the audience, and to ensure that the people behind the scenes have to plan for every step, every possibility, make sure all the details are right, perform well as individuals, and coordinate carefully with each other. Also, co-workers are (generally) not rivals or a tight hierarchy, but colleagues/equals cooperating on creating something bigger than their individual contribution. The inner core of people putting on the show develop strong bonds, inside jokes, an awareness of the secret behind-the-scenes mechanics of putting this vast enterprise together. Writing a book is like that, too, except without the teamwork. Unless you count the teamwork between author and characters.
All these projects start slowly, with research and development. As time goes on, the pace picks up and the project becomes more and more absorbing, until at the end it's your whole life for a little while. This is the phase I'm in now. Very little else is filtering through. My energy is intensely focused on the con. There's no room for anything else. The three days of the con itself will be the climactic event: the wedding, the live performance, the World Series game.
Afterward you take a break, congratulate each other, and have a party. Then crash -- I'm already preparing for that. I've been through the process often enough to know how to handle it. I'm making a list of things to do after the con, so I continue to feel a sense of urgency and meaning in my life.Some of those things are ways to rest; others are ugly tasks I'll be glad to get done. One of them is, of course, Finding A Job. At least now I have a very clear story of what will make a job satisfying for me.
Anyway, the con is March 11-13. We've got an amazing hotel rate for San Francisco, good authors lined up as honored guests, a free-food party for Friday night, and plans to serve straight bourbon on the Moon-rocks (dry ice -- it concentrates the alcohol and slightly carbonates it, as well as giving off impressive fog effects). It should be a lot of fun.
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So what are you doing these days?