A second year of this amazing show has come and gone, and I find myself just a little sad because it all went by so quick.
Last year, on the day DFWcon 2016 was over, I purchased tickets for this year. I had two reasons for this: 1) the price was at an amazing discount for a very short time and 2) I knew without a doubt in my mind I was coming back. But life does strange things sometimes and by the time December rolled around I’d realized I probably wouldn’t be able to make it back to Texas in May.
So what happened? Well, the stars aligned sometime around the beginning of April and my schedule opened up. Lo and behold, I was going! And I was so excited. The 2016 show was my very first writer’s convention (and the subject of the very first post on this website) and it changed me. Truly changed me. It opened my eyes to a community I’d only barely touched, and it dramatically improved my knowledge of writing over the course of two days (with one awesome mixer thrown in for good measure). Without DFWcon I never would have written my third book. Or, more accurately, it would have come out a lot worse. And I never would have attended Writer’s Digest’s NY convention, which led to me writing my fourth novel. So in a nutshell, DFWcon began a domino effect that has made me an infinitely better writer. But it also introduced me to a wonderful group of people whom I was desperate to get back to. Texans, ya’ll crazy.
So did my second DFWcon measure up? After all the experiences of the past year, would its influence hold? Was it even worth it to continue to attend a convention halfway across the country? The answer, is obviously, yes.
I realized something this year, something I think last year I was too green to see. A writer is only as good as the people supporting him or her. This job (and it is a job for most of us, we are trying to make money) is lonely, solitary and hard. But it is the community that keeps me going. And seeing all those people I met last year has only steeled my resolve to work even harder. If I had to do all this alone, in a vacuum, I would have given up long ago. But I am now reinvigorated, ready to charge the gates of hell with my sword raised high and beat the ever loving shit out of Satan himself just because I can.
Okay, that may be just a little hyperbole. But you get the idea.
It also helped that I moved my lens a little this year. Instead of focusing solely on craft-related classes, I attended more on how to navigate the life of a writer. Classes like Annie Neugebauer’s Building Your Writer’s Bio and Eric Ruben’s Legal Issues for Writers. And because it wasn’t re-treading what I’d learned last year, everything was still fresh.
But, the people. My friends. They were who this past weekend was really about. This year I was much more confident going in, and I found people recognizing me after a year of interacting online. And I felt at ease…at home. New York was nice, but everyone was all business. This community is like a family in the truest sense of the word. If I could I would spend all of my time sitting around playing FLUXX, or talking about how much 50 Shades of Grey sucks even though I read the entire thing, or even helping a few people get a couple extra minutes with a literary agent. The only terrible thing was it all had to end, and so I have to stretch out a forty-eight hour period to cover the next thirteen months (the next show isn’t until June 2018).
So until then I will look back with fond memories and keep my nose to the grindstone. Maybe that will make the time pass just a tiny bit quicker.