Thursday, September 18, 2008

Left Behind and Enjoying It

Okay, the title is not referring to being left behind after the Rapture. That would not be enjoyable at all.

I’m referring to the fact that lots of my writer and blogger friends are heading out for the annual American Christian Fiction Writers Conference and I’m staying home. I attended the last three years, but I just couldn’t afford it this time.

I realized a few days ago that instead of being jealous and disappointed, I’m actually a little relieved. The ACFW conference is a wonderful thing, but it’s also quite stressful—for me, anyway. I know other folks say it energizes them, and that rubbing shoulders with all those other writers fires their imaginations.

This wasn’t happening with me lately. I was putting far too much pressure on myself to pitch and to sell. I scarcely had a discussion with anyone about our stories or characters or the actual love of writing.

I’m pleased to report, however, that I found a substitute conference to recharge my creative batteries. That’s my story, anyway. I may just be entering my second childhood, or having a mid-life crisis. A couple of weeks ago, I did something that I haven’t done since I was in my twenties. I attended a science fiction and fantasy convention.

This one (Dragon Con) was huge—thousands of attendees and events covering four major hotels in downtown Atlanta. There were speakers and panels with writers, actors, directors, artists, costumers, you name it. Half the attendees seemed to be walking around in elaborate costumes, which was silly fun.

I have to confess that I myself wore two different costumes in one evening—one a Pirates of the Caribbean costume that I sewed myself.

I enjoyed hearing Sean Astin speak about playing Sam in the Lord of the Rings movies, and attending a panel with four actors from the Firefly TV series and Serenity movie. I rubbed elbows with tons of folks who may or may not have been writers, but who were passionate about stories and loved characters as if they were real.

What more could a writer on a budget ask for to fire her imagination?