This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the 2014 Sirens’ Convention in Stevenson Washington, just outside Portlandia. If you’ve never been to The Skamania Lodge, I can highly recommend it just for the setting. Even rainy days were beautiful (though, truth be told, I love rainy days, but you get what I mean).
It was a fantastic place to go and get away from my desk and be in a place full of nature and sweet, fresh air. You really forget how sweet truly fresh air is.
This particular Con is a very small one – this year was probably less than 70 people. But what is awesome about Sirens’ is that it’s a Con focused on women writing in fiction. It is pretty cool to go to an event that is designed around celebrating women in fiction. Yes, there are a lot of women writers out there, but men still get far more attention, no matter what women do. It’s a sad, but true fact.
But not at Sirens’. Sirens’ wanted to celebrate women and diversity that we so need in fiction. It was wonderful. I got to meet my “writer friends” in person, put real faces to the pixels that I critique for and who critique for me. We had wonderful, lively discussions about books and writing. Conversations we never get to have in real life because we are often the readers of our groups of friends. I was amazed at how little “small talk” any of us had. When we talked about the weather, it was to marvel at the scenery around us and squee about moss on trees. It was rejuvenating really.
Because the Con itself was small and intimate it really gave us a chance to examine ideas and share stories with each other. I know, at one panel talking about haunted landscapes, at least four of us came away with a kernel of an idea for future novels.
While there wasn’t much on the topic of craft and there definitely could have been more panels planned, I did come away with some inspiration and ideas. And really, that’s worth the cost. I met friends I’ve only known online, happy to find out I like them in real life too and that’s priceless.
So get outside. Walk away from your desk. Bring a note pad and pen with you and your camera and breathe some fresh air. Talk about books, and writing, and share stories, and be inspired. Fill your well, because when it runs dry, there’s nothing left to give.