The Rejuvenative Power of Writing Conferences

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It’s been a while since I’ve had the oomph (scientific term) and I have been dry on ideas for writing topics.

Which is a topic in and of itself.

sirensThis last week, I was in Portland, WA & Stevenson, WA for Sirens, an academic and writing conference and focused on women in fantasy literature. Surrounded by authors, readers, scholars, and publishing professionals, it’s different from other writing conferences I’ve been to. It’s a mix between a conference, the best lectures and discussions you had in university, with a splash of summer camp to round it all out. And between the “OMG I LOVE THE AUTHOR STANDING BEHIND ME AND I’M FREAKING OUT,” moments and the it’s-okay-to-disagree discussions on reads, both popular and obscure, I feel rejuvenated.

I’m not new to Sirens; I’ve attended all six iterations of the conference and there is a reason I keep coming back. Even when I’m unsure about the themes. Which, this year, I was.

Hauntings. When I heard hauntings, I was nervous and unsure. I don’t read horror. I don’t particularly care for gore in my stories. After all, most of horror is analyzed as phallic-symbols being stabbed into one another (a topic that came up). Ghosts? I could take ’em or leave ’em.

And then we started talking. The definitions of terror, atmospheric settings, the gothic manifestations of women’s concerns in a supernatural metaphor, how horror opens the ways for unlikable and unapologetic heroines. The more we talked about haunting themes, the more I understood that my fiction fit the definition in the form of old promises that might not be fulfilled, entrapments of the mind that destroyed one’s mental wellbeing, and a choice between undesirable options that would leave lingering regrets no matter how assured one was.

The discussions sparked my urges to write, to draft, to further develop my plans to meet my 50K NaNoWriMo goal this year. I’m ready and amped, centered and inspired, curious and creative. I have my oomph.

What gives you that drive to write? What relights your fire and gets you going again?

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