This time last weekend, I was at Balticon. I had the entire day, more or less to myself, programming for me having ended with a great panel discussion (I was the moderator – so my opinions on how it went are my own, but I think it went well) about the past 25 years of webcomics.
Balticon was a great time. I’m not the kind of person who’s likely to whip out my phone and start taking group selfies but, if I was, I’d have loads of pictures.
I met lots of new people, and I saw folks that I only see once a year at this convention. We talked shop, we talked books (which isn’t quite the same thing), we talked about fountain pens (I got to try one out, and I think I’m hooked – gods help me), we talked about everything. I went to book launches (was sorely tempted to buy my weight in books, but I was saved by virtue of having to fly home), I listened to concerts, and I got some walking, and writing in as well.
For three and a half days, I was with my tribe, and it was great.
But, as all things must, the con came to an end.
Now don’t get me wrong, after the con, I was pretty worn out, and was glad to be going home.
The biggest letdown from that weekend was settling back into “Real Life.”
While you’re there, you can lose yourself in the excitement of a book launch, the announcement of a new deal, seeing a brand new book written by one of your friends.
Coming back, you’re faced with your situation. This time last year, I had an agent, I had a book out on submission, and I was working on another book. I was on my way.
This year, I’m revising that book, the first book didn’t go anywhere and I no longer have an agent.
It’s hard to remember that I’m still on my way. That I haven’t stalled. It had even started to bleed into events at the con. I remember, on Saturday, feeling pretty low about where I was when I got an email about a story that got accepted for an anthology.
*Sidebar: The Anthology is titled, “Predators in Petticoats.” There’s a kickstarter in progress for it. You can check it out here. There are 10 days to go (unless it’s extended) and we’re about $5000 shy of funding. If you can spare a few dollars for this, it would be appreciated. If you can’t, spreading the word would be appreciated.*
Even if the project doesn’t fund, that tiny bit of validation was enough to lift my spirits.
I haven’t stalled.
I see that every day when I sit down to revisions, and you think that would be all the reminder that you’d need, but sometimes that isn’t the case.
After the con,I felt rushed. Like I wasn’t doing enough. Forget that I wrote every morning DURING THE CON.
That feeling of inadequacy, of course, is bullshit, fueled by self-doubt. It took a couple of days, and one frenzied revision session to realize this.
I realize that the bulk of this post is about “recovering” from the con, but the only reason for that is that you can only say “Wow, that was great” so many times.
It’s more important for me to examine what happened after and to remind myself that there *has* to be balance, and that your situation is your own. It’s not like everyone has the same set of circumstances to deal with and the better, more motivated, more dedicated, folks get the success, while the rest of us get left behind.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: You do what you can do, for as long as you can do it, and nobody can do more than that.
So, if you can, get out to cons. Talk with your people. I never fail to return from one of these events inspired (the other mental baggage, notwithstanding). And remember to keep on keeping on.
See you on Thursday.
Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.
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