Rite of Passage

I feel like I just made it through a Rite of Passage this last weekend. It happened when I attended the first ever “When Words Collide” conference for Writers and Readers here in Calgary.

I wasn’t sure what to expect because it was the same weekend as a conference I attended last year that was less than stellar. I considered not going until I saw the guest list. People like Robert J. Sawyer and Jack Whyte were VIP guests AND my editor, Robert Runte was also going to be there.

That pushed me most of the way in my decision. What sealed the deal was when I agreed to sit a couple SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) panels.

I still felt some reservation about going. I hated the idea of spending the attendance fee and taking time away from my family if the conference was going to be a bust. Within fifteen minutes of arrival, I knew I had made the right choice in going.

So, why do I mention a Rite of Passage? Well, at previous conventions I felt like I was the eager kid watching the grownups and dreaming of my time to shine. At this one, several things made me feel like I was actually one of the grownups myself.

For example, I was talking with Edge Publisher Brian Hades on Friday night. I usually hang out at the Edge table because I admire what Brian is doing and I enjoy talking to both him and his wife Anita (whom I adore; she’s just an awesome lady – you can quote me on that).

have, in the past, asked Brian to be on Get Published and, for various reasons, it hasn’t happened yet. I joked with him about it and he mentioned he had several authors who I should talk to. Then he said something that really made my day. He talked about my growing, positive, reputation in the community because of my podcast and other things I’m doing.

I honestly haven’t given much thought about my “reputation”. I try to be friendly and do good work and I tend to leave it at that. It was gratifying to hear.

There were several other incidents over the course of the weekend that also drove home the lesson that my hard work over the past few years is starting to pay off. That’s when I realized I was one of the grownups, so to speak.

Remember how I talk about patience and persistence? Last weekend was proof that those are two character traits that are essential in any successful writer. Getting to that next step in my own evolution meant that I dared to do a few other things that I simply didn’t have the courage to do before. One of those things was to interview Robert J. Sawyer for Get Published.

The interview was short (by my standards) but Rob was very gracious to give me some of his time during a very demanding weekend and I truly appreciate it. Listen for it in episode 64 of Get Published. I also managed to line up enough guests to almost take me into next year (including a couple surprise, special guests).

I will be talking about my experiences at length on the next episode of Get Published. I know I’ve talked about the advantages of conventions before, but I don’t think I ever participated quite so thoroughly. That participation proved that you really do get more out the more you put in and it has given me another “P” for the success in the quest to becoming a published author. “Participation”.

More than ever, I know that I’m going to achieve my goals.


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