Emerald City Comic Con

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Hello my lovelies!

This week in Dragon Den news, we have EMERALD CITY COMIC CON! This is my first year attending this convention and I have to say, Seattle knows how to put on a good show of art, literature, and fandom pride. Emerald City Comic Con “is the premier comic book and pop culture convention in the Northwest, taking place in beautiful downtown Seattle, Washington” (as stated on their site).

Now, why would a well-educated writer be interested in comic cons? Or pop culture? Or, for that matter, anything besides literary fiction and poetry?

For the same reason this blog is called Dragon’s Den: I love to gather, collect, review, create, consume, and live art in all forms. Literary art, High Fiction, Low Fiction, Mid-grade, Paperback trade novels, classically bound art books, and all forms of beauty. This world is rift with wonder and comic cons are filled brimming with gold I would like to showcase.

But they also have something unique, something I had trouble finding in Graduate School.

Fearless love of the craft of creation.

I attended several panels, since the convention began late Thursday afternoon. Many of them were panels of how to break into the industry, how to forge a path in art, the business of writing, etc. Many gave advice I have heard before. I will now summarize them here:

  1. MEET DEADLINES AND PROVE YOU CAN
  2. BE A GOOD PERSON/LIKABLE
  3. PRODUCE GOOD ART/FINISH YOUR WORK

Each panel kinda boiled down to those three bits. The last panel I attended, however, hammered home a lot for me, given these three seemingly simple rules. The speaker, Alex DeCampi, made it clear that creating your work, is work, and should be treated as such. Every artist must treat their work, their craft, like a 9-5 job. Be ruthless with your time because time is something everyone has a limited resource of. Money will come and go but time is always ticking away. Use it.

Also, you have to figure out how you plan to get to your work. Schedule it in. Have a 9-5 job? Work on your real work after 5 and don’t be afraid to be strict about it. Clock out and Clock in.

She also spoke about the feeling of needing permission to create work (and I have felt that need so hard). When she spoke about it, her words resonated with me:

VALIDATE YOURSELF.

You don’t need permission to create a tentacle kitty. DO IT. Trust me, someone will buy it. Hell, I bought one.

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Everyone say hello to Mr. Teal.

Create your own plan and give yourself permission to create the work you wish to create. Ultimately, that is what helps people get hired.

If you write a million words about a topic you hate, hoping to get a steady job in the field, you will get a job in the field… but you will hate it.

But… if you write for 10,000 hours, each month, about something you love, creating your worlds and poetry, you will get a job writing what you want, and you will love it…

Most of the time… The panelist also spoke about how the mindset changes once you are a professional. You get paid and there will be days when you just don’t want to inked that panel. But that deadline looms… The thing is, you got to. JUST DO IT. And get to the next panel.

With those thoughts, my lovelies, I will now end with a series of pictures. I hope these inspire you and get that fire in your belly ignited. Happy crafting!

 

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Bounty Hunter Sighted!
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Hagrid!
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Wirt and Greg from Under the Garden Wall
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Pony with Volunteer Gear!
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Groot and I

Writing and Other Jobs

What do the following professions have in common?
– A Janitor

– An Airline Reservations Attendant

– A Coffee Shop Employee

– A Potato Chip Inspector

– An Apothecaries’ Assistant

Answer: Each were jobs held by famous writers. Stephen King was a Janitor. Harper Lee was an Airline Reservations Attendant. Margaret Atwood was a Coffee Shop Employee. Octavia Butler was a Potato Chip Inspector. And, of course, Agatha Christie was An Apothecaries’ Assistant.

And I too have held many different jobs. I have worked for the Department of Labor, a tutoring center, and two educational non-profits.

When I was graduate student for San Francisco State University, I worked as a Teacher Assistant for a course on the Business of Creative Writing. The point of the course was the address the very valid concerns of young writers.

HOW WILL I MAKE A LIVING AS A WRITER?

The truth is there is no straightforward equation or path when you chose to write for a living. There will be people who claim there is. That they have done it one way and it worked. But that’s the thing. That was THEIR path.

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF PATHS.

The three things that are consistent between all paths where art and literature are concern are as follows:
1) those who want to create, consume the things which they wish t create with relish
2) those who want to create, create daily, weekly, monthly, yearly
3) those who want to create, do not give up in the face of rock bottom – they keep going and they keep submitting

Those who WISH to create, give up. They put off creating. They consume things that don’t remind them of their dreams.

Writers are readers, they produce, they submit, and they do not give up.

What does that mean for practical advice? If you need to eat to write, then work somewhere for a while and write. I work as a Toddler Assistant Teacher for a nonprofit. I write and read everyday, either on my tumblr or twitter, or facebook, or wordpress. The work with my students has given me the privilege to read more children’s books. It is a dream of mine to write a children’s book. Will I get there? Maybe, maybe not? Will I give up…

NO.

As long as Dragon’s Den is up and the internet exists, I will write. This is my pledge. To you, my audience, and my fellow writers. Do not give up, do not surrender, and always keep writing.

For more on the different professions held by famous authors, click here.