Two years ago I went to World Fantasy in San Jose on a lark. Friends of mine said I had to go, especially since it was local. So I went. And I wound up meeting about half of what would become the Inkpunks.
I felt incredibly awkward and shy, so I drank enough vodka to keep that part quiet. I had little business cards I got off VistaPrint. Someone asked me what I was writing. I dug my toe in the carpet and mumbled something about this book I was working on. The only reason I felt semi-legit was because I knew the area, having lived downtown for over a year.
A year later, I went to World Fantasy in Columbus. We had just fired up the Inkpunks blog and it felt like this silly, wonderful thing, and I wasn’t sure how I got the invite but I wasn’t about to go questioning it. I was still shy enough to need All The Vodka. I had the same VistaPrint business cards. My main levelup was that I had finished a novel, and could describe that novel in one sentence.
Now, it’s a week before World Fantasy in San Diego.
I’ve made two sales, one of them pro. I’ve done a reading (for better or for worse). A totes legit agent has given me incredible crit on my novel and I have done my best with it and that will be going off in a few days. I have nice business cards, custom ones. I’m back to digging my toe in the carpet about what I write. I will still need All The Vodka.
But more importantly, I gained some really good friends. I helped a friend move cross-country. I watched a friend marry the man she loves. I’ve celebrated victories and offered comfort and made care packages and gotten check-in emails when I’ve needed them. I have friends I can count on when shit goes sour. Friends who will go out of their way to make sure I talk to specific people, friends who will understand when I say that I need to go be on my own for a little bit.
The writing stuff will come and go. There’ll be successes, and there’ll be failures. But I know I’ll be able to handle all the madness because I have people who are willing to listen to me whine and willing to bolster me when I’m feeling down and who are looking forward to celebrating my triumphs with me.