Why am I going to Dragon Con? I’ve been asking myself the same question for weeks now? I’m not getting paid for any of the articles I’ll be writing, I’m not a special guest or vendor making anything out of it, and I certainly don’t have a reputation in the community that is going to get me recognized by anyone or that might translate into any paying work. In fact, with a wedding in the works for next May and the zombie walk coming up quicker than you’d think, truth is I probably shouldn’t be covering this event at all. I’m going into this completely blind in the sense that I’ve never been to Dragon Con and covering a convention by myself is also completely unexplored territory to me. As a writer the goal is to earn something for your efforts. Either a publication credit or, hopefully, a little cash to keep the dream alive for another day. In this case, I’m doing neither and, factoring in fuel, food, lodging, and incidentals, I’m actually going into the red in order to write and produce a week or two of content.
So why the hell am I doing this?!
Because I need to. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life and my professional career lamenting the fact that I couldn’t get published if I owned a printing press. But, as the last few years have shown, it has very little to do with what I’m doing but how I’m doing it. At end of 2015, I was running a blog that literally only saw two to three hits a month, had no social media platform to advertise from, and was struggling to get my stories in print. In the last year and a half, however, I’ve had articles, reviews, editorials, and stories run in numerous publications online and in print. The only reason this has happened is because I started putting myself out there, testing my limits and leaving my comfort zone. I started taking a chance and saying “yes” to things I’d have never even thought about doing a year before.
Want to write some editorials for a modeling magazine?
How about interview an actress about a web series she’s starting?
Interested in seeing some B movies for free?
All of these are questions I was asked that I never in my wildest dreams expected to hear. I’ve talked to rock stars in Australia, and painters in L.A. and used some of my passions and personal travel as fodder for some great articles. And the weirdest thing is, the more I’ve said “yes” to these seemingly impossible questions, the better the opportunities have been. I’ve met some amazing people over the last two years, in person and via the internet, and done some things I never actually thought I’d do. I’m writing for three separate websites, all of which have ambitions that guarantee a by-line for years to come as well as the potential to make some money in the future. I’ve opened my mind to new ideas about art and social structure that I’d have otherwise been turned off by in the past, and, best of all, I’ve managed to write some stories and articles that I am really proud of. I’ve even been encouraged enough to start putting myself out there as a for hire freelance writer and, despite the fact that I haven’t actually earned a commission yet, I’m still excited about the chance to be doing what I love.
Yeah, it sucks that I’m really only going to lose money on this trip. I won’t lie, I’m a little bummed by the prospect. But what will be amazing is spending four days surrounded by people who love the same sort of geekery that has made my life awesome. I’ll have a chance to meet new people, learn a lot of new things, and market myself to an audience that will hopefully expand the readership of the sites I write for as well as the fan base I hope to one day cultivate for my own fiction. With authors, publishers, and other people who work in the industry that I’m trying to break into, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If you see me at Dragon Con -I’m definitely hard to miss- come up and say “Hi” and let’s chat for a while. Tell me what brings you to Atlanta and let’s have a drink and celebrate the things that are bringing us all together.
Oh, and since I included a still from Never Hike Alone while mentioning the people and projects I’ve written about, I should let you guys know that they’ve set a release date of Friday October 13th. Here’s the trailer.