Monday, March 10, 2014

Did You Miss Me?

Okay, I had to start with this. I've been away from my blog for so long, you probably wondered if I ever was coming back. Well, I'm back. And I've watched Sherlock season 3 and Doctor Who Christmas Special and many other nerdy things. Have you seen The Lego Movie? You should. And I might blog about that later.

I have a lot of ideas for future blog posts. They've been accumulating behind the dam of my procrastination and frazzled panic. Yes, part of this hiatus was purely laziness. I just couldn't get myself moving to blog again. At first it was a lack of subject matter and then it was too much. I didn't know what to talk about.

The other part was a workload known only to graduate students in their last semester, staring down the barrel of the Thesis Defense. I had a novel to complete, drafts to polish, paperwork to fill out, people to track down for signatures, readings to study, and a corner to crawl into and rock, fetal-position, as I realized I could count the hours until my defense on my fingers and toes.

(Kidding - I actually spent that time knitting and denying that anything was about to happen. I'm making a shawl with green yarn. It has leaf patterns. Next up is either Hermione's beaded bag or a 221B Backer Street wallpaper pillow. Yes, I'm a geek. Look above for further proof.)

Long story short, I passed the defense. Yay! I'm a master of fine arts, if not officially, then technically. I can finally stop feeling like an impostor in this program. So what I do to celebrate? I went to a writing conference in Seattle, where I ate oysters and didn't sleep much. Oh yeah, and learned about writing.

A few weeks ago I went to the Life, The Universe, and Everything conference in Provo, where I learned about writing science fiction, fantasy, and horror and how to make a living writing. And then I went to AWP in Seattle, where people stepped around the subject of genre or defended it and talked about how to make a living with a day job while writing your art. I don't know what to believe anymore.

I liked both. I learned a lot from both and made a lot of contacts that will be valuable to me as I continue my writing career. I actually ran into the same publisher at both places, which felt a little fate-y to me. We'll see what happens with that. I don't have the time or the mental capacity to share everything that happened at these conferences, so I'll say this: if you haven't gone to writer's conferences, go. I've learned a lot over the years by attending these conferences, and even when I don't learn anything new, the sessions tend to spark new ideas in me and polish the ideas I already have. Thinking about writing is never a bad thing, and if you can do that while learning more about your craft from smart, accomplished writers (I saw Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card at LTUE, and Ursula K. LeGuin and Sherman Alexie at AWP), it's worth the registration fee. There are other ways to get in without paying a lot, but that's a subject for another day.

Now, I'm back and done with the thesis. I'm conferenced-out and want nothing more than to rest and read the books I want to read. I have lots of story ideas, and now I have the time to work on them. And the names of weird literary journals (I mean weird in the best possible way) to send them to. Of course, I also have time to write on this blog again.

It feels good to be back.

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