Day: January 19, 2012

Life the Universe and Everything Symposium at UVU

Life the Universe and Everything Symposium (LTUE) at UVU has released a schedule and opened registration. This is an amazing local event for people who want to be writers or who love discussing or learning about Science Fiction and Fantasy. If you’re free February 9-11 then you should register. Prices will go up on Monday.

I always love LTUE and come away feeling energized. This year I’m particularly excited. I have four panels and presentations, all of which are topics which excite me.

Thurs Noon
Collaborating With a Family Member
Howard and I collaborate to get the work done every day. There are some specific challenges involved with being both business partners and spouses. Sometimes stress and conflict from one role can spill into the other. The other panelists are also very familiar with both the benefits and challenges of working with family members. I expect us to have a fascinating discussion. (Panelists: Sandra Tayler, Karen Evans, Kevin Evans, and Michaelbrent Collings.)

Thurs 2pm
Feeling Fake: What to do about that pervasive feeling that everyone belongs in the publishing world except you
This feeling of being fake is called Imposter Syndrome and every creator I have known feels it at one time or another. We’ll talk about the causes of this feeling and some things you can do to quell it or at least not let it hurt your professional life. Again I’m with excellent co-panelists. (Panelists: Sandra Tayler, Jason Alexander, Ami Chopine, Stacy Whitman)

Saturday 11am
Little Stories Everywhere: using blogging as practice for writing fiction
I’ve been wanting the chance to talk about blogging at LTUE for years. I’m thrilled to finally get the chance. I love blogging. I love it for itself and not just as a means to an end. I’ll be talking about that and how I blog in ways that are directly relevant to the writing of fiction. A blog can be more than just a promotional tool. (Panelists: Sandra Tayler, Jessica Harmon, Peggy Edelman, Robin Weeks)

Saturday 3pm- 5pm (2 hours)
The Author’s Toolbox: Learning skills for networking, blogging, social media, and self-promotion.
I’m thrilled that this workshop made the schedule. Mary and I plan to pack the two hours full of useful information and specific skill acquisition tools. Self-promotion does not have to be awkward and uncomfortable. Instead it can flow naturally from who you are and what you do. We’re going to talk in detail about how that works. We may even outline exercises and concrete skills that you can practice on your own. Seating is limited to 140 people. Come ready to learn and be prepared to stay for both hours. (Presenters: Mary Robinette Kowal, Sandra Tayler)

For those of you not in Utah, I’ll try to keep good notes and write them up after LTUE is over. I don’t know if there will be any official recordings.

In addition to my events, there are lots of other amazing panels and presentations. E-publishing is featured in discussions and how-to presentations, Writing Excuses will be recording, Topics such as cultural sensitivity, creating dynamic characters, analyzing symbolism in extant works, promoting on, and laying out pages of graphic novels will all be discussed. Click here to see the full schedule. LTUE is a fantastic event. I’m hopeful that the move to UVU will allow it to grow and thrive so that some of you who do live far away will be able to plan ahead and make pilgrimages here for another year.

Crisis, Stress, and Being a Frog

When Howard and I were first married, we moved into a new home. It didn’t take us long to meet the neighbors. We quickly became friends with a family in crisis. They needed our help and we gladly gave it. But over the course of four years that same family was always in crisis. Not the same crisis, it was a revolving parade of feuds with neighbors, tight money, rebellious teenager, and quarrels with coworkers. While it was possible that they were just being slammed with a series of bad luck, I slowly realized that no amount of help from me would move them out of the constant crisis zone in which they lived. Somehow the patterns of their lives created the crises through which they swam like fish in water. I began to believe that they simply didn’t know how to live without crisis. If it was removed, they gasped and flailed like a fish out of water until the flailing landed them in crisis again. I sometimes hoped that they could learn a different way of living. I’m not sure that they ever did. I moved away and lost contact in that pre-facebook era.

My life this week has been crazy. Nothing has been a big crisis, just a hundred small things, most of which popped up unexpectedly despite my efforts to plan ahead. The sad thing is that this crazy week was normal. Most of my weeks are filled to overflowing with a hundred small tasks. I try to simplify and reduce, yet still end up feeling overwhelmed. When I visit with my friends, I have an ever evolving list of things I am managing. I get really tired. Often. I have to wonder how I am creating this insanity for myself. I say I want calmness and quiet, but my decisions keep landing me back in busy-land. On energetic days I love busy-land. On tired days, I don’t know how I do it and I have to believe in miracles. If I want to come up and breath calmer air rather than swimming in stress. However in order to do that I have to transform myself like a tadpole transforms into a frog. In theory being a frog is better, but transformation is always scary and frequently frightening.

The good news is that it feels like we’re poised for a period of calm. The things I managed this week were structural things which should make the rest of the year easier. I hope. Perhaps I don’t need to transform. Perhaps I’m already a frog and I’ve just been swimming up from the bottom of a deep lake after a winter’s hibernation. Surely I’ll surface soon.