Another ConQuesT behind me. I had a lot of fun, even if it didn't recharge my creative batteries as it usually does. The short version is that I drank too much (although Boulevard's raspberry chocolate ale is amazing) and that four panels in one day is to many.
I am an awesome moderator, though. I'm better designed for asking questions and prompting discussion and keeping people on task. It's what I do for the writing group, so it makes sense that I'd be good at it on panels. The NaNoWriMo panel was my favorite. It was a lot of fun. The LFK Writers panel was my second favorite. It was the first panel of the con, and we got a great turnout and people had great questions. The Writing Prompt panel was a bust, with only three people who showed up. The Publish Like the Pros panel was nice because it was the four of us from Bottle Cap talking about what we do. Lots of great questions there, too.
Then there were my two tough subject panels. The Creativity and Mental Health panel went about as well as it could have, although I regrettably didn't get much of a chance for audience participation. Everyone was very respectful and I think the audience really related to all of our panelists. The Creative Isolation panel was really tough. I didn't have many good questions for it, but it ended up generating some important, if difficult, conversations. Those panels were draining, but again, I feel like it's important to talk about those aspects of creativity.
I went to a few other panels, but found that I much prefer being on the speaking side. Maybe that would have been different if I had had a chance to see any of the guests speak. I think next year I am going to try volunteer behind the scenes rather than on panels, though. I've been toying with the idea of doing a literary festival in Lawrence sometime in the next five to ten years, so I'm trying to get involved in con planning so I know what to do.
Speaking of which, I have been pulled into planning the Midwest Reader Con with a lady I got to know at ConQuesT. This event is going to be HUGE. There's nothing really like it around here, so I am excited about it. But man, planning a con is a ton of work. I'm really glad my partner in crime, Kathleen Collins, is at the forefront, telling me what to do right now.
As if that wasn't enough, I still want to try to put out the vampire short story anthology (hopefully releasing it in time for the Reader con next year), and still keep up with the breakneck writing and editing pace I've set for myself.
Speaking of writing (since that's what this blog is actually supposed to be about), I am around the 85k mark for ToK, so that's coming along. Just gotta put some ducks in a row before I take off at full speed for the climax. I have two weeks left to finish before Camp Nano hits and I'm supposed to change projects. Dunno if I'll make it or not, but finishing this book is more important, so I'll keep at it until it's done.
My current plan is to write the final book at the end of this year, and then spend next year editing the last two books up. Having the completed trilogy before getting any of them published (whether traditional or self-published) will help a lot. I am never going to be able to write two books a year, so I have to rely on my back catalog, as it were, to sustain me once I start publishing.
I'm really doing this, friends. I still feel like I'm playing at this writer thing a lot of the time, but things are getting serious. I have a finished, polished novel. I have an almost completed sequel. I've freelance edited four novels and three collections. I have six short stories published (or will this fall). I'm involved in conventions. I'm starting my own publishing company.
I've come a long way in five years. I'm excited to see what the next five years brings.