Kevin Hearne laughed when he read my words.
He laughed right out loud at something I wrote. I was sitting nervously next to him when it happened, quietly waiting as he read through my pages for our blue pencil session. I felt the tension ease out of me with that chuckle. When we then went over the pages, he was exceptionally kind and praised my 'voice.' As someone who struggles greatly with calling themselves a 'writer,' this short 15-minute interaction with helped boost my confidence in my writing by leaps and bounds.
This is the type of experience you get when you attend the Creative Ink Festival. An encouraging and positive feeling flows through the whole event. Whether it's in a session like the one I did, in one of the many panels or presentations, or in just stopping someone to chat in the hall. Everyone is there to learn and help and encourage. It sure is something in a world like ours that can, on occasion, be terrible, to find an event that has such a warm, inviting atmosphere.
On top of blue pencil sessions, there were also kaffeeklatches, red pencil sessions, pitch sessions, panels and presentations galore, plus a Master Class with the other guest of honour, C.C. Humphreys.
I'm someone who's trying to become a better and more confident fiction writer, so I wanted to make the most of my festival this year. So, on top of my session with Kevin Hearne, and many many panels, I also attended the Master Class with the other guest of honour C.C. Humphreys on the opening day of the festival. On top of being an excellent speaker, Humphreys had terrific words of wisdom for the writers in the room (who were both newbies and pros alike): "Writing is writing."
Now, for many of you, writers or not, this may seem like the most obvious thing in the world. However, when you're like me and struggle to call yourself a writer because you can never seem to get the right words out, (or blog very sporadically), it was a lovely reminder that any words that get put down on the page (or screen) are worth it. Throughout the weekend this was reinforced over and over again. During the Masterclass with Humphreys it was emphasized that getting the words out, no matter what was always the end goal, they don't have to be pretty or perfect. During his opening speech, Kevin Hearne spoke about his first manuscript that sits in a bottom drawer and will never see the light of day, but it helped him know that he could finish writing a book.
A 'slogan' popped up over the course of the weekend, coined by someone, but I'm not sure who, "no word is wasted," it came up in several panels. Humphrey's "writing is writing" means the same thing, get those dang words out already!
I was also fortunate enough to be on a panel on podcasting, the one thing that I feel very confident talking about because I know how to do it. Why is that? I've had practice. An episode almost every week for just over three years worth of practice. I've 'gotten the words out' so to speak, (pun sort of intended) and as such feel like I know what I'm talking about enough to pass on advice to a curious audience (an audience that included C.C. Humphreys!). That was a light bulb moment for me for sure. Three years ago I had no idea how to podcast, but I've learned by doing, and now have a pretty successful, super-niche little podcast. If I can transfer that over to writing - well, who knows really, but I bet I can finally finish writing a book.
The Creative Ink Festival will be happening again next year. I'll be there, and if you're looking for a low-key but super positive (and affordable!) and creatively energizing event to attend, you should be too.