The great thing about writing is that it’s just me, my imagination and a computer (typewriter, paper & pen, sometimes even crayons on a wall!).
The downside of writing is that it’s just… me.
While most of the time, this sort of solitary mode is awesome – no distractions means being able to think out MY stories, MY characters – but there’s times (and I’m pretty certain every writer goes through this) where I have bouts of hesitation, uncertainty, or downright concerns (ok, let’s be honest here – the word is FEAR) that my work is either subpar or out of touch with what readers and/or viewers want.
Enter the con (convention, conference – you say potato, I say…). For me, it’s an opportunity to recharge, be it with fellow genre aficionados or other writers. It also gives me an opportunity to teach writing at various workshops outside of the university system and yes, I’m definitely one of those souls who learns as much from teaching as I do from learning. Cons such as ContextSF – (Late August – Columbus, OH) give me a chance to both teach AND learn as they run writing workshops day and night and oftentimes have agents and/or editors who will critique your work.
Of course, there’s also the fandom cons like the infamous San Diego Comic Con where you get to just kick back and join in the fun. I love these kinds of cons because they remind me of what sparked my love of story in the first place. While the madness of CosPlay (that’s Costumes for you great unwashed) is great fun, as is the sneak peeks of upcoming films and new TV series are fun, as is the talks and seminars with writers, publishers, producers, directors, actors, etc., my favorite part of the fandom cons have to do with spur-of-the-moment discussions with strangers who share my same excitement for a given franchise or a particular novel, comic book, film… the list goes on. It’s moments like these where I remember who I’m trying to write for and why.
Next up for me is an entirely new type of fandom con – I’ll be guesting at Timegate – a Doctor Who/Stargate convention in Atlanta, GA (Memorial Day Weekend). While I’m looking forward to joining in on the panel discussions (example: Stargate Universe: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly), and discussing my upcoming Stargate SG-1 novel (Four Dragons), I’m also excited because they’ve requested a screening of APOLLO – the short science fiction film I exec produced a while back.
But what I’m most looking forward to is sitting with fellow fans, learning about what they love about Who and Stargate, and more importantly, what they love about reading and watching story in all its shapes and sizes.
Now, Science Fiction is my thing… so obviously I look for cons that either focus on the writing or reading or watching of the genre. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only genre with cons aplenty. If you’re looking for a con, a great place to start is Shaw’s Guide to Writers Cons.
And if, by chance, you decide to head to Timegate, look me up – I’ll be the one with the biggest grin on their face. Just like this: