I talk about it every year. I squeal and dance the week before it comes. And I almost always do something ridiculously embarrassing once I’m there.
That’s right. I’m talking about UtopYA Con.
I was fortunate enough to attend the very first annual UtopYA Conference three years ago, and each one since, and I plan to continue going every year for as long as they’ll let me in the doors.
Why? Because it’s my home.
Obviously it’s not my home home, where I eat and sleep and walk around in my pajamas at all hours of the day (although I do, in fact, DO all those things at UtopYA), but it’s my home in the sense that I feel welcome the moment I walk in the doors and I always come away recharged.
And my experience a few months ago at #UtopYA2014 wasn’t any different. 🙂
The people at UtopYA have a way of bringing my writer’s soul back to life. Not that it ever dies (passion is a beast like that) but sometimes it gets weary, worn down, and even a little blah.
BLAH is really the only word to describe the kind of rut I can slip into after several months of nonstop writing. I think all artists experience a weary soul from time to time. Creating is heart-draining stuff. It’s amazing and beautiful and the most satisfying thing on earth, but it’ll suck the heart right out of you if you let it.
And we artists tend to let it suck us dry. 😉
In the alleged words of Charles Bukowski: “Find what you love and let it kill you.”
Done and DONE.
But it’s a beautiful disaster, the mess of giving yourself over to the book you’re writing, and it’s absolutely worth the exhaustion. The trick is to find a place you can go to refuel once that creative well within you has run dry.
And for me, that place is UtopYA.
Whether you’re aspiring, struggling, or wildly successful at whatever aspect of the writing world you’re involved in (writing books, reading books, reviewing books, marketing books, modeling for books, making movies out of books, etc.) there is something for YOU at UtopYA.
It’s a place where every facet of the book industry is treated equally, regardless of what your background or future may hold, and because of this UtopYA is an oasis of learning, friendship, and positivity.
A Utopia, if you will. 😉
But more than anything else, each year I leave UtopYA feeling inspired. I return home truly encouraged to reach for the stars, grab them with both hands, and cling to them until we burn out together in a fiery storm of white-hot brilliance.
Yes. My dreams are that dramatic. It’s how I roll. “Dream big, die happy.” That’s my motto.
So for those of you who haven’t heard of UtopYA, you should definitely check it out HERE and go next year!
For those of you who have heard about UtopYA, but haven’t convinced yourself to attend, consider this your personal invitation, from me, to go to UtopYA next year and grab yourself some stars!
And for all of you out there who HAVE gone to UtopYA, well…you are my people and I love your guts. And can we all agree that Janet Wallace (the incredible mind and unstoppable force behind UtopYA) is amazing? I want to be her when I grow up.
ADVICE FOR NEWCOMERS!
1. Go to panels. You’ll be amazed by the knowledge of the panelists! Seriously. And you can ask questions and pick peoples’ brains. It’s a great way to learn.
2. Take notes at the panels. I really benefit from the notes I take each year. I make lists of book ideas, marketing strategies, and ways to cultivate my brand, etc. And when I come home, it’s like I have a fresh new agenda for “Chelsea Fine.” It’s very helpful.
3. Make at least one friend. Writing/blogging/etc can be a lonely business—but it doesn’t have to be! It’s important to have someone to relate to and, even better, someone to learn with. So don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. (Er… That didn’t sound right, but you know what I mean.)
4. Come say hi to me! Then you’ll have two friends. And once I’m your friend, you’ll never be able to get rid of me. I stick to people like eyelash glue on…well, eyelashes. (That crap is strong.)
** THE GIVEAWAYS **
My good friend and author of The Broken Trilogy, Carlyle Labuschagne, organized this awesome blog hop and all the many giveaways! There are tons of prizes so be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom so you don’t miss out! 🙂 And one of my books is included near the end. Whoo-hoo! Best of luck!
And finally, I will leave you with the rest of the poem credited to Charles Bukowski. Because passion truly is a beast. Enjoy.
“Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain from you your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you, and let it devour your remains.
For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.”