Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Connecting


By Eilis Flynn

Sometimes blog topics are not easily forthcoming. Some months nothing comes to mind and it’s all you can do to come up with a subject that doesn’t embarrass you. Some months you know you are in the zone because you have not one, not two, maybe not even three! topics. Those are truly blessed times, because you don’t feel as though you’re pulling eyeteeth to write something. And really, nobody wants to do that. (Eating gets tricky, after all, without those eyeteeth. At least ripping slightly tougher forms of food.)(I would use the changing role of teeth as a topic, but somehow, I don't think this is the venue for it. Right? Tell me I'm right.)

Anyway, it’s October, and not only is it the month that relatively sane adults decide to dress up in bizarre fashion (and for the most part aren’t arrested for it) (see "Halloween for a Heroine," my short story, a sequel of sorts to INTRODUCING SONIKA, on sale now at various digital retailers! And I talked more about this last month for Otherworld Diner. End of advertisement), it’s also time for Emerald City Writers’ Conference in Bellevue, WA! At this event, sometimes relatively sane adults dress up in costume for this occasion, too, but not usually as zombies or faery princesses, more like office staffers, most of them with lanyards looped around their necks. It’s fun and it’s educational, and those of us who go to this conference on a regular basis can look forward to seeing other old writer-friends who come in from all over the world for the event. We learn, we reconnect, we can socialize with those who understand our unique travails. Yippee!

While Romance Writers of America's national conference can be and is an experience (almost 3,000-plus authors, editors, agents, and publishers all converge in one small area! The mind reels), the ECWC is smaller, more intimate, and most of the time you can be pretty sure to run into someone you know is there. Not necessarily the case with RWA's national conference (but it is amusing to run into someone who lives 3,000 miles away from you and never ever see someone who was on the same flight as you coming in). You can actually talk to people at a smaller conference. You can actually (and yes, there's that title of this piece!) connect with people.

And that's something that Halloween and conferences have in common, believe it or not. Dressing up in funny costumes? You are connecting with others doing the same thing. (Of course, if you dress up in a funny costume at any other time of year, you may find yourself connecting with the local authorities, but that's another topic. A surfeit of topics!) In the same way that dressing up in funny costumes connects you with others in funny costumes, conferencing allows you to connect with others with the same goals (with costumes not nearly as funny but sometimes equally odd or uncomfortable). In a profession that requires isolation for the most part, connecting at conferences is not only a delight, it is a necessity.

So that's what I'm preparing for right now. I'm conducting a workshop on the secrets of the smirking editor, explaining that it's not the material we're smirking at. What is it? That, of course, is the secret. So I'll be connecting in a whole 'nother way!

Eilis Flynn can be found to argue with at Facebook, Twitter, or at her website at www.eilisflynn.com. Since she was laid off recently, she’s also looking for a job, which is why she started to think about connecting.

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