Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stop and Be Bold, or Lessons from Realm Makers

Axolotl, an aquatic salamander
This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of attending my first writers conference in a very long time, probably over a decade. The Realm Makers conference in St. Louis, Missouri, is for Christian speculative fiction writers. You know, science fiction, fantasy, horror. With my book series being cross-genre with mystery/superhero, I'm right on the fringe of that group, and so after much debate, decided this was the conference I was going to attend. Plus, they had a marketing track, and I desperately need some more ideas.

I was so glad I attended. The highlight of my weekend was meeting a lot of people I've known online for a while--some as long as eight years or nearly that long. But I really enjoyed the sessions, including the keynote addresses from Robert Liparulo.

Mediterranean Jellyfish
Of anything that stuck out in my head, something that Mr. Liparulo said in his Saturday keynote hit me hard, especially since I sometimes wonder whether I should be writing speculative fiction.  And that's the fact that we have a creative God, one who created the creatures I've included in this post (some of which Mr. Liparulo included in his own address.) God loves creativity! So why shouldn't we write about dragons, halflings, superhumans, or aliens? If He created the Mediterranean Jellyfish, which to me, looks like a flying saucer, why shouldn't I write about a superhuman police detective who has the ability to revive the murdered?

Star Nosed Mole

In his Friday keynote, Liparulo's key word was STOP. And I think it's a message all of us writers need to hear. STOP having doubt about yourself. STOP comparing yourself to other authors. STOP with the self-defeating attitude. We're all unique. You can't compare yourself to other authors because we're all different. Some of us need more practice than others. Some of us are published as teens or twenty-somethings, others will approach writing as a second career in our fifties or sixties. We're all unique--God made us that way--and no two of us are going to have the same experiences that make us the same writer. Embrace being different. If you write speculative fiction, you probably already do.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. -- Sylvia Plath
Fear and doubt don't go away. You have to put a stop to it. You have to figure out how to put a stop to it! Ignore fear, or find YOUR way to deal with it. Give it to God. He's the one who put your creativity in you. HE put the desire to write in YOU! Everyone of us has a purpose in God's Kingdom involving our writing, even if you're writing for the secular market.  Maybe especially so.

Most of all, be bold. Stop doing the things that keep you from being bold. As artists, we have to be bold for very different reasons. You have to be bold to get published, especially if you're going the traditional route. You have to bold to write an out-of-the-box book. You have to be bold to market your book and get it visible. Sometimes, if you're an extreme extrovert like me, you have to be bold just to go to a writer's conference.

So stop. And be bold.

You'll never know where both of those will take you.
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