I just attended Life, the Universe & Everything (LTUE) – a science fiction and fantasy symposium geared mostly toward writers. It was my second writers conference and the first I’ve attended in its entirety. I went with my amazing writing group so it was also one of the funnest girls weekend trips I’ve ever taken. I came away energized and excited about writing in a way I never have been. I attribute this to two reasons.
First, because I got to be the nerdy geek girl I really am at heart. And I mean got to be her FULL OUT. For an entire three days. From sunrise to sunset. I’ve read science fiction since I picked up “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard when I was in sixth grade and it changed me forever. I found fantasy and horror not long after that and never went back. I loved being able to gush about being literally feet away from my favorite fantasy author (Brandon Sanderson of course). Got to hold in my hand a copy of his latest book that no one anywhere can purchase yet like the holy grail it is. And no one thought I was weird for doing any of it. I was surrounded by my people. And it was heaven. I even ventured into fan-girl insanity by dressing up as a character from one of my favorite novels at the banquet. Which paid off when Brandon Sanderson himself stopped in the middle of his toastmaster address to say “I’m sorry, are you wearing mist cloaks?” and proceeded to complement and make inside jokes about not ‘dropping coins’ or ‘licking the dinnerware’ while my writer’s group stood for all to see how cool we were. (Sorry if you aren’t a nerd and don’t get the references. If you want to, read Mist Born!)
Second reason is the perspective I took away from the panels I attended. I realized I’ve been envisioning this whole ‘being a writer’ thing in an entirely wrong fashion. Being a writer always looked like: me at a desk in my house, by myself, working hard, and then someday selling books and “making it big”. What a bunch of vague and empty terms with no specifics! What I learned is that being a writer – at least the kind where you get paid to do it and make your living solely by writing – can be summed up on a very basic level. IT IS A JOB. Which means you have to build your skill set, start at the bottom, get a ton of experience to put on your resume so you can get the best job. [LIGHT BULB] Just like trying to get a corporate job. Which I already know how to do!
After I appeased my OCD by transcribing (and color coding and organizing for action items) all my handwritten notes from the weekend, I sat down with Hubby and made sure he was on board with me taking on a part time job. Because that’s what I’m going to do from here on out. I already proved as recently as this past November that I can have a life and still write fifty thousand words in a month. So, I’ll continue to do that every single month from here on out. I’ll further tune and hone my skills then build my resume until I land a position with an agent willing to sell my work to publishers. Because those are the nitty-gritty specifics of what it really takes to be the kind of writer I want to be. Finally a project plan for my writing!
Wouldn’t it be super cool if one day I was on one of those panels at LTUE? Look out world, the ultimate overachiever has taken things to a new level. If you need me, I’ll be somewhere with my hair on fire I’m quite certain!