"Paying it Forward" has become quite the buzzword lately. It's a great concept, especially for writers. So much of the time we have the mindset, "If I win then you have to lose." We're wired to be competitive, but that philosophy really only applies to sports, games, and contests. Life isn't really any of those. Paying it forward is giving the help you received to those who need it now. It's a way to pay back those who helped you.
I spent the weekend at Life, the Universe, & Everything, a writing conference that focuses primarily on science fiction, fantasy, and horror. What a fabulous learning experience. I've attended every year since 1998. Every year I learn something new. What impressed me most this year were the well-known authors willing to donate a weekend to share their expertise. Talk about paying it forward. Guests included Tracy Hickman, James Dashner, Dan Wells, Dave Wolverton/David Farland, Jessica Day George, Tristi Pinkston, Bree Despain, Michael Collings, and other nationally known and very successful authors as well as a host of us lesser known and new authors. None of them were paid to come. All of them were very willing to share their experiences and expertise. Of course the conference would not work if it were all successful authors. Many who came are those struggling to figure out how to write and how to get published. It was definitely a win-win situation for all involved.
I have some belated thanks to give to those who helped me.
To Paul Genesse, thanks for the three hour discussion at CONduit where you shared your journey to publication and explained things to me I didn't know I needed to know. And thank you for your continued friendship. It means a lot.
To Newton Ewell, artist extraordinaire, thank you for your pep talk about being true to my vision. To paraphrase, writing is an art form. There is no right way to create a story. Write what's in your heart, but don't forget to learn your medium and the craft of writing. And don't let anyone tell you that you're doing it wrong, because it's your vision and your story. Stay true to yourself and everything else will follow. Eventually.
To all the wonderful people I met at LTUE, thanks for a great weekend. And thanks for re-affirming that writing can be a win-win for everyone.