One of the great things about being a writer is being part of a large
neurotic community of like-minded creative spirits. Despite this Borgishness, however, we still somehow often find ourselves withdrawn and closeted for days, weeks, months? on end, eyeball deep in our next work-in-progress, forgetting to feed our bodies, and even sometimes forgetting to feed our innate need for community and interaction with others of our kind. Many great writing bloggers talk about how important it is to care for ourselves, no matter how hot the fires of creativity are burning, and one of those necessary nourishments is a rubbing of elbows with friends and family, and definitely more writers.
Which is why I was so thrilled to be invited by creative mastermind Kevin Staniec, cofounder of the 1888 Center, to speak at the Book Carnival in Orange, CA last month on a panel about the Elements of Genre. Not only was it an excuse to leave my writing cave, but also a chance to share stories and experiences with more folks in the biz and talk a bit about my own writing journey with other curious and interested writers. Talk about a love fest! Other members of the panel included Jon-Barrett Ingels, our moderator, who is also a novelist with Blackhill Press and podcaster of The How They Why fame, both extensions of the hydra that is 1888 Center. Author Kate St. Clair was there to talk about her award-winning YA paranormal novel series (including Spelled, and Cursed). And Martin Lastrapes (author of award-winning Inside the Outside and the recent The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl) rounded out the panel with his brilliant and witty insights into becoming, to his great surprise, a horror author. (PS: You might remember when Martin and I got together late last year to swoon over Tom Robbins and writing at his great writing show, The Martin Lastrapes Podcast Hour, too.)
If I had to choose two words as my takeaway from the experience of panel speaking to share with other authors, they would be: DO. THIS.
This fun, mutually enlightening, and educational-without-being-dry adventure does magic for reinvigorating the writing spirit, filling up the well of inspiration, and being just plain good times. When you have an hour or so, give the podcast a listen to see what I mean. While you’re at it, check out the tons of other great guests The How The Why has hosted (I’m currently listening to show 71 featuring Sophie Werely, editor of Shimmer Magazine). You’ll come away fully recharged and ready to tackle any new, old, or beckoning writing project.
I plan to spend some of my writing time each month into finding new ways to share the joys of writing, and I highly recommend other authors do the same. Look for conventions in your area, or even just get a local group of writing friends together to discuss a writing-related topic and find a bookstore that’s willing to host you for an hour. It’s a win-win for bookstores and authors—they get to engage and entertain their customers, and you get to talk about doing what you love.
If you’ve been a panelist before, please feel free to share in the comments what your experiences have been and whether you would do it again. And if you’re in Southern California, look me up! I’d love to get together over coffee or tea and word-nerd out with you anytime.