My First Wondercon!
Attending was a last-minute decision that worked out well, even though Saturday was already sold out. So, I spent all of Friday in the vender hall, admiring artwork and buying prints from other artists (shout-out to Emo Gonzales, Lisa Weber of HexComicx, and the always-inspirational Will Terrell), and Sunday mostly in writing panels (woohoo). It was an awesome surprise to see V. E. Schwab on the day’s first panel, especially because I just read her Shades of Magic trilogy last month. Most of my awkward fan-girl was kept safely inside, I think. Ugh, writers are so cool.
Took notes on Sunday, and a lot of inspiration from all of it. Nothing like being around other people doing The Thing, and doing it well, to kick you in the ass (provided depression doesn't beat out motivation). Motivation is always a mixed bag for me. “I should be doing this, I should already have accomplished that” but Should statements just lead to destructive thinking patterns. So, when I have a ‘Should’, it's a clear sign that I need to take a step back, a deep breath, and show some self-compassion.
Anyways a lot of my notes overlapped in theme, and while it's hard to remember pages of notes, it’s at least technically possible to remember a couple bullet points. So, here’s mine. They are all old news, but the kind that is forever frustratingly relevant:
Create for the kid in you. What did you want to read about or see when you were still too young to worry about what would sell, or what you ‘should’ be making? Because where your imagination went is probably someplace weird and interesting, and that's where you should be going now. This came up over and over again over the weekend, and was the most surprising thing that struck me as true. (It feels like half of adulthood is learning how to be a child again.)
Good writing is emotionally biographical. Your characters don’t need to be you, but to make them alive, breathe your own current emotional dilemmas into them. In that sense they are you, just in an alternate universe.
Every villain believes they are the hero. This is something i love hearing again and again, because the strength of any story (yes I will fight you, but after a nap) depends on the conviction and depth of the villian. But maybe that’s because i'm just a huge sucker for redemption stories. The villain in the story believes they are doing the right thing, that they are making the world a better place, that their decisions are justified. And that strength of conviction makes them more believable, and more frightening, than any physical or supernatural strength alone.
Along with these things, talking to artists and hearing from those published writers reminded me that making something people enjoy is possible, and I don’t need to have things figured out before moving forward. Progress is difficult enough without the added pressure of perfection. After the con, I feel that joining them is at least possible, not just some outlandish fantasy. And for someone with a history of severe depression and anxiety, that is a new and very good feeling.
Other Things I’m Doing
I’m around 11 out of 30 through my Ink Birds series, and hope to tell you more about it next (now this?) week.
As you can see from the huge blogging gap, I still don’t know what I’m doing. But, here’s to posting this anyways and telling my fears to shut up :)