To kind of springboard off Kristen’s post about the dark side of Realm Makers, I thought I’d share something that totally surprised me but yet didn’t. That is the atmosphere of the conference and how I left with a sense of belonging. It’s the one place I can go where I’m not “the weird one”. I set this up because the conclusion of this post was written with my tongue hanging out somewhere near my cheek.
This was my first Realm Makers Conference, and I was excited about meeting people in the Christian spec fiction world. Of course, my list included meeting my favorite authors. But really I was just as excited to see my writing friends, some for the first time, including fellow NAF contributors past and present and two from my writing group, the Scriblerians. Two more the Scriblerians didn’t attend the conference but drove to see us Saturday night.
I attended ACFW in 2013 so I knew conferences are like summer camp for grown-ups. I came to Realm Makers knowing that this was a time for old friends to reconnect. With that knowledge, I sort of hung back when it came to meeting people especially the instructors and authors. I didn’t want to be annoying.
Except that isn’t the way it is at all! While those with more established careers had a lot of people wanting their time, I didn’t see any ego from anyone at Realm Makers. In fact, it was kind of the opposite. Everyone mingled. I bonded with one of the instructors over the sights, sounds, and smells of old factories. At Friday’s banquet I introduced myself to a favorite author. When she posted our picture on Facebook, I commented that I was fangirling, and she joked about doing the same thing when she recognized my name when I was announced as a finalist in the Escape contest.
That wasn’t the only ego boost I received. A couple of people told me they liked my NAF posts. One admitted it was because I wrote about food. So in case you wondered what a picture of a cherry pie has to do with this post, now you know. I have fans. And groupies.