Just returned from the Festival of Perth workshop with Terry Dowling. A mixed result: the other attendees were not as advanced in their careers as Luscious Lyn and I, so much time was taken up with ‘Writing 101’ stuff. However, Terry is such an engaging speaker, and carries such a wealth of information, that it’s impossible to walk away empty-notebooked. There were enough tasty tidbits flowing hither and yon that we left happy. As important as learning new tips and tricks for me was getting affirmation, from a guy who does it for a living, that yes, I am heading along the correct path for a satisfying career. The tools are all there: it’s up to me to make sure I stick to the vision.

That’s why I keep going to these things: I can see the gulf that exists between writers at my level and those at Terry’s. Anything that will help me to bridge that gap is something I want to investigate. I’ve been a part of a number of artistic communities over the years, and SF writers are the only group I know who will gladly reach a hand out and help you up to their level. The more time I spend with writers who treat me like a peer when they have every right to view my humble achievements with scorn, the more I see my career arc progressing over the years to come. “There’s always room for one more” seems to be the creed in this industry.

And the really great thing, of course, is that you come away from a session like today’s refreshed and with a renewed desire to write. With 7 stories in various stages of drafting, and another 3 in first-draft, that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to getting back into it tonight once Erin has gone to bed.