Okay, so, I’ve been gaming since, like, forever. And my family wasn’t the kind to get an Atari or a Nintendo or whatever. No, my gaming was pen and paper and the kinds of stigma you expect when not being whatever’s popular that week in high school (I actually started earlier, but hey).
I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about why I made my impulse buy. Which was a weekend pass to GenreCon here in Brisbane. I’ve know about Chuck Wendig since my White Wolf days, and then somehow, years ago, I stumbled onto his blog. If you haven’t read it, you should quit my site right now and go do so. I even linked for you just above. There’s a bit of a naughty word warning, but whatever, he’s a George Carlin variety of profanity-slinger. Trust me on this.
Anyway. He was coming to GenreCon, and knowing that, I was totally in.
Now, here’s the thing: I thought GenreCon was a fan convention. There’s nothing on the site to clue you otherwise, or maybe there is and I’m just obtuse which I’m absolutely willing to accept. No no, this thing’s a writer’s convention. Industry.
And it is the single most amazing thing I’ve participated in. Honest. It took me a few hours to sort out that it was an industry gathering, and when lovely people asked me what I wrote, after fish-jawing a bit I answered as honestly as I could, which was dissertation.
When I explained what I was doing, people were really supportive. I spoke with all kinds of authors from all kinds of genres and subgenres and hybrid genres and not a single soul was closed or unpleasant or anything.
There was karaoke, fer cryin’ out loud. (I have anaphylactic reactions to karaoke, so I had to demur, but others who were there have mentioned some small hints at the glorious experience.) And alcohol. And food. And silliness and business and serious critical considerations of all kinds of enormously useful and revelatory things.
Check out my Twitter stream from the 12th to 13th, I livetweeted as much as I could.
Anyway. One of the questions posed to a panel was, “when did you feel like you were a professional writer — not just someone who writes?”
For me, it was GenreCon. It was a wake-up call of the most positive and shocking persuasion. There’s a part of me sad that I’m in the middle of a doctorate because I have ideas. And incredible friends, new and old, who I know I can rely on in effecting these ideas, just as they can rely on me. Things.
Man, this is sounding a little culty, isn’t it.
We build an idea of ourselves over time. I’ve been making stuff up since I had any real capacity with words, and putting that stuff to paper or phosphor not long after. I was one of those folks who wrote. Sure, I’d done an occasional short work published here and there, but not a “real writer.” I always figured that door was sort of closed to me, partly by circumstance, but mostly due to my own inaction.
I was full of shit.
Listen. If you’re at all interested in genre writing — which is where all the awesome stuff is at, by the way — then do yourself a favor and start saving up for the next one. Which apparently is in 2015 and I’m inconsolable over the fact I have to wait that long. Doesn’t matter if you finally decided yesterday to be a writer, or you’re a seasoned pro; the kind of insight, support, camaraderie and conversation — and lasting friendships that emerge from this — are invaluable as you make your way as the writer of your design and choice.
Seriously. I got a crash-course on dissecting story using action flicks. I learned about the amazing Anita Heiss (forgive me — I’m one of those awful women who was all “ew, romance” until properly schooled by the fantastic Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches about how ridiculous I was being, and how much I was missing out on), reveled in the irreverence offered by John Connolly, and if I list all the fantastic people I got to hear from and meet I’ll never end this blog post.
But before I end it, if you don’t know about the Queensland Writers Centre, you need to. Both as a resource and as the entity that pulled off one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever attended.
Anyway — I have scripts to wrassle, so I’ll check in here after a few days. I leave for Romania on the 22nd (I’ll do up a bit of a post on what I’m tackling), and I’ll be back on the 30th. Depending on connectivity, I’ll try to livetweet the sessions I attend at the conference. Seemed to do reasonably well this weekend.
Right. Off to make stuff up.
Wait, PS: if you want to know more about people’s experiences at GenreCon this year, keep an eye on The Australian Writer’s Market twitter feed, as they’re gathering and collating relevant blog posts. Okay, now I’m done.