With the amazing moments of this year’s CreativeInk Festival already feeling like comfortable memories of a time long past, I can’t help but think of next year. More importantly, of all the people that should be at it. So here are my 5 reasons why you need to go.
1. Unbelievable Camaraderie
Every conference has a personality, and as someone who is “secretly” an introvert, I don’t do well with bonding with people and just making myself part of a group. But CIF has been different, very different. This year, I had breakfast and lunch with guest of honor, C.C. Humphreys, joked around and drank with our other guest of honor, Kevin Hearne, and founded a friendship with incredible thriller author, Jonas Saul. BUT, there’s more. As much I these guys gave me some of their time to pick their brains, I spent time having coffee with others who wanted to pick mine or just chatting in the hallways. There’s very much a feeling of giving as much as you get.
And as for that introvertive side? When a number of us were heading for an after hours drink, I heard someone almost whisper “Can I come?” I spun around and replied “Absolutely.” Why? That’s part of the spirit of CIF.
The funniest part for me is that I got to laugh and spend time with some of my Calgary friends in a way that we never do here.
2. It’s not just for Western Canadians
As much as we like to keep our Maple-coated secrets to ourselves, it was great seeing those who’d been willing to hope over the border and benefit from our 30% cheaper content and friendship. Conversations were richer for having people from all over, bringing together thoughts on everything from LGBTQ support/openness, to reader assumption due to political context, to swearing.
Like I said, every conference has its own personality, and CIF is open, welcoming, and inviting. Though, maybe it’s just the 159 people of the 160 attendees that I met with who were like that… 😉
3. Openness for Content
Many conferences are like going out for dinner on Valentine’s day: Here’s your menu. You don’t like it? You’d like to change it? Would you like to buy the restaurant? No? Then shut up. CIF is very much the opposite spirit.
I was sitting with a guy who mentioned to me that he thought CIF could benefit from having double-length sessions, some more hands-on workshops, like he’d experienced at another conference. He wasn’t sure, as CIF had some stuff that the other didn’,t and that he really liked. I said that he should write that idea down and send it in, along with some ideas for sessions and maybe people he thought could deliver them.
Unbeknownst to him, I later was talking with someone involved in the programming and mentioned this (giving the guy full credit). She perked up and was like “That’s a great idea.”
Imagine you wished you could learn more about writing for comic books and was able to ask “Hey, could we have a panel or workshop on that?” and you got back a “We’re adding it to our list of panels!” It would be like having a menu designed for you.
4. You won’t grow without this
As much as I’m an adventure, going through this experience of authordom with my trust battle-tablet and the tome of Laptop-ia strapped to my back, figuring my own way to the Oracle of Making Mortgage Payments With Royalties, I’ve come to learn that I can avoid a lot of pitfalls by listening to the experiences of others.
Investing in yourself is a critical thing for us to grow. One subject I was curious about, and learned a tremendous amount about, was trademarks. Should I trademark my series name? Now? Later? Never? What does it really do for me? The content provided at CIF is nicely varied and fresh. It’s almost like there are people involved who write or something…
5. You have time to plan the expense
Maybe you’re convinced you should go, but then comes the hammer. Doubt has teamed up with a reason-like substitute, and smashes your dreams by saying that you can’t afford it. Well, here’s the thing. The earliest the conference is going to be is in March 2019 (could be in May 2019, I don’t know yet). That gives you a year to plan, and look forward to, this event.
Join the facebook group, ask questions, start connecting with people. Get inspired by the people, and use that to motivate you to save a few bucks here and there, until finally you make that commitment and buy the ticket and book the hotel. That said, why do this alone? Bring a friend, or make it an excursion for your entire writing group.
In the end
I’ve been going to CIF for 3 years, and it’s essential for me. If you decide to join us next year, fantastic. Let me know. And if you’re not sure, or it won’t work out, do one thing: make sure to invest in yourself. You deserve it and you’ll thank yourself for it.