It was about a year ago that I went to my first convention, BristolCon. I’d never been to anything like it before and as a person who usually avoids large gatherings of people, it was a big deal for me.
I was given great advice beforehand. Advice such as, don’t smell and don’t lick authors. Words to live by people!
I’ve no other convention to compare it to, so take my opinions as honest but limited.
I’ve long held dreams of writing but I was one of those people who only dreamed. I’ve got notebooks full of scribbled ideas, opening chapters and doodles – never anything fully formed. I always had an excuse for why it never got any further.
Still, I love books, I read comics and watch films old and new. So, with a bit of encouragement from my wife, I toddled off to Bristol last year.
It was a complete eye opener. The people there were like me. They were normal… ish, like me. The people on the panels were interesting and funny. I listened to one man talk about the difficulties of sex in space. It turned out he’d written some Dr Who novels. Later I find out he works in local government. These were everyday people, but they had thrown off the shackles of excuses and done it.
Everyone was extremely welcoming. I knew no one and yet at no time did I feel lonely. Speaking as someone who has minimal social skills, the atmosphere is so welcoming, it is easy to simply enjoy.
Many others will talk about the quality of panels and the attending authors and artists. I simply want to say that I found it inspiring. I left there buzzing about the possibilities. I could be like those people, I could throw off the shackles and go for it.
Lots of people write in solitude but if you are like me, reach out to others, meet people just like you and me – and be inspired.
One year later, I’m about to head off for my second BristolCon. I’ve written a short story that is going to be published next month. I’ve submitted another two for anthologies. I’ve joined a local writing group. I am in a critiquing group. I’m preparing for Nanowrimo next month. The point is I’m doing it. I might never be anymore successful than I am right now but it does not matter, I am just like those people gathered in Bristol – I am writing.
If you get the chance, BristolCon takes place on the 26th October at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel. Go, meet amazing people, see talent actually ooze and maybe, just maybe let some of it get on you! Disclaimer: They do not ooze. DO NOT rub yourself up against authors or artists in the hope of catching talent!!!!