writing

Realm Makers 2015 – Learning to Be Brave

Have you ever wished for a place where you can crack a Star Wars joke and everyone at the table waits a moment, then bursts out laughing? It’s a fantastic feeling, and one I got to experience this last weekend at Realm Makers. If you aren’t familiar with it, imagine a writer’s conference of a different sort. It’s aimed toward authors/publishers/editors dealing in sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction genres, with a Christian perspective. I got to attend two years ago, didn’t know what I was in for, and the end result was the start of Crosshair Press, of which I’m one of four founders. It was literally life-changing.

Anyway, here are some life-changing moments I’d like to share from my experience this year.

This year’s keynote speaker, Robert Liparulo, was incredibly encouraging about being a writer, aspiring or published. His talk on being fearful as an author really hit home with me. The main quote that resonated from his keynote was this gem from Teddy Roosevelt:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

photo 1
Theo (on the right) and me.

I know it’s basic, I know it’s simple. But the truth of it echoes even beyond writing. As posted earlier, I made my own costume for the banquet this year. I do not dress up. Nothing against it, I just don’t love the spotlight. But I did it. And once I put on mental blinders against comparing my version of Steampunk (I was going for a more American Western vibe than Victorian) with anyone else’s, it was incredibly liberating. I even held a serious conversations with strangers who had no qualms about my wearing goggles and having a hedgehog perched on my shoulder. (His name is Theo, by the way.) It was really fun and rather joyful as well!

God has given you a story to tell, so if you are willing to write what He’s given you, He will make it touch others’ lives.

This was a concept mentioned by many faculty members all weekend. So often I wonder if my stories will actually have an effect on readers. But I was so thankful for the reminder that my job, first and foremost is to be close to God, so that He will be evident in my writing. Then when I do write, instead of sitting and just worrying that the words are right, I can focus on writing the story the way it should be. This is something that paralyzes me all too often. The motivation and encouragement I received at Realm Makers was more than I expected and exactly what I needed.

Have fun.

Steam meets Gundam 2015
Fellow Crosshair founder A.C. Williams and me – Steampunk meets Gundam Wing – points if you can name her character!

This wasn’t a quote, actually. But it was a mentality that was evident in every attendee at the conference. You know the idea that how you live sends a message? Whether they did or didn’t dress up, participate in the Zombie Apocalypse Nerf Gun Battle, or whether they were taking notes on their own or brainstorming with each other to solve a plot hole, the conferees were having fun! It was a weekend full of camaraderie, Doctor Who references, and amazingly cute babies, who also dressed up for the banquet! (One was a half-Twi’lek, the other was a raptor. I mean, come on. Adorable.) Most importantly, we all came away with new friends, encouraged, refreshed, and ready to take on our next works-in-progress!

Sidenote, if Realm Makers sounds like something you’d enjoy,  you should definitely look into joining the conference next year – keep your eye on realmmakers.com for updates on 2016. And keep on writing!

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