Well, I took a couple of weeks off after finishing the first draft. A reasonable holiday, punctuated by some lengthy work last week indexing a book on Climate Change politics in the EU. Not exactly time off...
And then, I was here:
Fantasycon-by-the-sea had come to Scarborough, and, on a late whim from a recommendation from my sister who was also in attendance, I scrambled to give them my money for a ticket. A little unsure of putting myself out into the world like this so early – I've only just done a first draft of one book so far, there were real authors scheduled to be at this thing, ones I'd even heard of! – I reminded myself that it would be good in the long run, even if I was a bit out of my depth at this particular convention. There would always be future ones, this could be a little tester.
Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Absolutely every single person I met and spoke to there was charming and interesting. More than anything though, the enthusiasm just radiated off from everyone.
I didn't even talk about my own novel or ideas that much while I was there. I was far more interested to hear about other people's work, hear them describe the plot to me in intimate and frenzied detail, the excitement about their project palpable.
Coming back, I've learnt that I'm better at talking about my own work when I'm at the genesis stage or when it's got to a stage where it's either complete or in need of editing and feedback. During the main slog of writing, it feels a bit like I need to keep it all inside me so that I don't start to lose momentum. All the ideas have to be exclusively mine while I get the idea out into word form. Once that's done, I want all the feedback so that I can hone it into the best possible story that it can be. But until then, in order to keep going, I just find it hard to reveal the details. If I did stop and start talking I might realise how unspeakably awful the ideas are and want to either go back and change everything or scrap it entirely. Possibly a little dramatic, but it would likely make me stop for a while at least. I'm still at this stage with my novel because I need to do my first rewrite on it, which is a self-imposed need, meaning the ideas are still forming and I'm still trying to make sense of them all.
And that's just the way I am I guess, other writers are different, which was again a lovely thing to experience at the convention – the myriad of different people there.
That's just the people. The panels and the masterclass sessions I went to were incredibly informative and I just wanted to go to pretty much all of them. How dare they be constrained by the laws of physics and time? There was too much good information swirling round to summarise here, but I took dutiful notes and soaked it all in, and felt the inspiration well up inside me. There came a point in one panel session where I wanted to raise my hand and say, 'This is all very nice and interesting, what you're saying, but would you mind if I just fucked off and got writing?' I've never been more motivated to write.
So coming back home means trying to get into the groove again. After a bit of time off, I need to get my routine back. My first project after Fantasycon is a short story about generation ships. It was a little slow going yesterday, but today has been very productive and I can feel the groove coming back. And luckily, the motivation to keep writing is still flowing through my veins. In fact, it's very hard to read books at the moment, because I just get a new idea for something every five minutes and need to note it all down.
Oh yes, and I bought some more books at the convention, because I always need more books, and, possibly more shelves. Lots of reading ahead for me.
So yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be in regular attendance from now on. Just got to see if I can rustle up the money for Eastercon now...
Also, if any of you are reading this, I want to say a big thank you to all the people I met and spoke to there: you're all thoroughly interesting people and I hope to see you at the next one!