I really enjoyed my first WorldCon. Similar to Michelle, this is the first non-writing conference/convention that I JUST attended rather than showing up because I'm there to work. All of the cons we've been to as Beyond the Trope have been to provide content for cons and promote the podcast. Before that, I worked for an audio/visual company to provide A/V service to conferences and conventions (I work for this company as a warehouse supervisor, now).
But aside from the RMFW Colorado Gold conference, I've never simply attended a con before. And it was a lot of fun. Very stressful because I felt overwhelmed and alternately excited and discouraged (it went back and forth a LOT), but still a lot of fun. And it was SO cool to meet people who have listened to the podcast but never tweeted or emailed the show. More than that, I got to meet other podcasters who have inspired a great deal of what we do at Beyond the Trope (whether Emily and Michell realize it or not, I've shifted a few of my processes based on some of the things I've heard on other shows to increase the quality of my performance).
It's fairly surreal to meet people I admire and respect who are, not only aware of what I'm doing, but who also enjoy it. For some, this may be inflating for the ego, but for me, it's very humbling. These are people who are changing the face of publishing. People who have amazing, new ideas that are making writers improve their craft and get their work out before an ever-widening audience in an era where the printed word is often SEEN as fighting to hang on.
There's a level of disbelief in it, too. These very kind and generous people are EXTREMELY busy. And I'm recording a podcast with two of my friends. Yes, we enjoy it, and we know so many of our awesome listeners enjoy it, too. But Writing Industry "Insiders"* are too busy, right? Well, apparently not. And that's humbling because it reminds me that this is a community to which I belong and can contribute. More importantly, it's not just the three of us who have put us in this position. It's all of our listeners, other podcasting friends like Patrick Hester and Dave Robison, and ALL of our super awesome guests who take the time to come talk with us for the sake of our listeners. I'm exciting to find out that our guests have gotten so much exposure, and the fact that people would tell US that they like what we're doing made the trip so much more amazing than we expected it to be (and we had HIGH hopes for this convention).
I won't be going to WorldCon next year as it will be in Finland, and I can't afford that flight (unless a LOT changes in the next six months). But I'm hoping to go again VERY soon!
*Industry Insiders is kind of a misnomer on all levels. All of these wonderful people have worked very hard to get where they are, and they are all fans of excellent writers. I admire and respect them, and I would NEVER call them gatekeepers. They simply worked their way into a position to be releasing content on a professional level.