Friday, March 29, 2013

Refreshing Writing: Reflections on ICFA-33

I have recently returned from the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, ICFA, in Orlando, FL. ICFA has rapidly become one of my favorite cons to attend, for which I thank all of the con staff, and particularly Sydney Duncan, who wrangles the writers, a job somewhat akin to herding cats.

I enjoyed myself not just because of the programming (though I did hear some great readings, including selections from the new anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, which I highly recommend you check out) but because I got to spend an entire long weekend with the people I work with.

The thing about writing is that it is a solitary profession. When I work, it is me and the notebook and the story. That’s all. At some point, of course, there are beta readers, my agent and editor, but for the most part, just me. Most of the time, I love this.

But there is something to be said for surrounding yourself with the people who do what you do, and who love what you love. There is something wonderful about a community, who understands the joys and frustrations, who is there to help you crack apart the pieces of a story that isn’t working, and to share delight in watching the things that are.

I worked while I was there – granted it was by the pool, and with a drink that included both pink and rum, but writing got done, all the same. And I came home feeling refreshed, ready to write, full of ideas. I am reminded that while I work by myself, I do not work alone.

By Kat Howard