That is the question.
I'd like to go to Gen Con Indy this year, but I'm conflicted. For the past couple of years, I've tended to go to the con in service to a publisher (Green Ronin, to be specific). This tends to save me money and planning time on some aspects of the convention. The trade off is that I help man the booth, run games, or both.
This has never been a problem. I enjoy booth work, even though it means I'm in one spot for most of the convention. The folks from Green Ronin are awesome, and you can imagine that the other industry folks who stop by the booth to say hi to Chris, Nicole, Hal, Robert, Evan, and Steve give me an opportunity to interact with and meet new people. I also get to talk to gamers and fans, which I also enjoy.
Gen Con is in August...only three and a half months away. I've made no travel plans, haven't purchased a badge, and conversely, I have no idea if I'll have a place to stay. In order to reserve a room with one of the hotels in Indy, you first need to buy your badge. At this point, though, I don't know what room availability is like. I'd rather not buy a badge, and then find out that the closest available hotel is ten miles away from the convention center.
That's my first problem, which is (admittedly) due to procrastination on my part. With the new baby, it's been busy; with income tax returns due, I've also been a bit more worried about money than usual. It's a recipe for mediocrity, let me tell you.
The second problem is the new baby I've mentioned. Two years ago, I left my wife home alone with a five month-old baby. Last year, she and that same baby (17 months at the time) stayed home while I flew to Indy again. This year, I'd be leaving her here to care for a two year-old boy and a six-month old girl all by herself.
I'm not sure I can do that to Amy. Even with both of us around, it's still a lot of work to care for both of our children at once. Madeline will probably be less of a trial in three months, but I don't harbor any illusions that my wife will have an easy time of it if I decide to take off to Indianapolis for five days.
There's the personal conflict. I've been going to Indy three years in a row thus far. I enjoy seeing old friends, making new ones, and rubbing elbows with industry folks in an attempt to remain on proverbial radar screens. I'm afraid that by not going to the convention, I'll be missing opportunities to wrangle up writing/design work later in the year. I guess that's just insecurity talking.
I spoke to Stan! about it yesterday, and his take was thus: I'm more or less in with the folks I write for now, so they'll still know me and they'll still continue to ask me to work for them. The down side is that, as feared, I might miss opportunities to meet new people and publishers.
It's a tough choice. Even if I decide to go, I still need to figure out where I'm staying. I suppose I'll do some poking around for the time being and see if I can determine the lay of the land...