I owe an immeasurable amount of gratitude to two conventions that I recently attended – FantasyCon and Westercon67. I also owe more thanks than I can express to Revan over at DungeonCrawlersRadio.com for the opportunities that he set before me to be a part of FantasyCon.
These three days of geekification, nerdishness, and writerly adventures had a profound affect on me. It revealed several kernels of Truth. For example, I now realize that the authors who I admire are merely human beings, which in turn means that I too can be an author. They are brilliant people who, above anything else, possess an extreme amount of dedication and self-control. These authors know how to put words on a page. I am referring to authors like the Writing Excuses cast – Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Taylor, and Dan Wells (who shared some eggnog and lime flavored potato chips from Germany with me), as well as other amazing authors like Larry Correia and Paul Genesse. They were amazing to listen to and possess a tremendous amount of knowledge on the craft of writing, but they were mortals like me.
I also learned that I can hold my own amongst other writers and subject matter experts. I loved speaking on the two panels that I was involved with – I would do it again in a heartbeat. My favorite panel was a discussion on the Geek Revolution, is it still going on, and what has made being a geek so cool? It was fantastic. I made some excellent points that most panelists agreed with. I met great people. I completely reinforced a woman’s point about sexism in video games in the most misogynistic way possible (to illustrate the point, of course).
There were panels with authors, editors, purchasing editors, publishers, freelancers, and everything else in between. I enjoyed their perspectives, took copious amounts of notes, and came away with my head held high. I made connections with the publisher of an anthology that I am very excited to submit a short story to. In all, I came away with a humming excitement that is still ringing in my ears.
Moving forward, I will be focusing on two specific projects; the first will be writing a short story about the awakening of a nature goddess, Tahqua. The second will be to polish up my magical realism short story and get it ready to submit to Spark, an anthology of speculative fiction. I have some ideas for the website to spruce it up even more, but I need to put those on hold until these two stories are done and sent off first, as deadlines are approaching.
It feels good to think of myself as a writer, and I owe a ton of that to these two conventions. I vehemently encourage every one of you to find some local cons, writing-focused or not, and attend. Look through their schedule of events and panels and find something that catches your fancy. They don’t even need to be about writing specifically. I learned things from Summer Glau’s talk that I can directly apply to my life and my writing. It is worth it.
Do you have any awesome experiences at Cons that have helped push you to the next level? If so, please let me know if the comments.