As a new business owner, I know that networking is a huge part of making this a success, so over the May long weekend, I headed off to Burnaby to attend the Creative Ink Festival for Writers and Readers. The fact that Adam Dreece was the keynote speaker was definitely added incentive; the internet means that I can work with authors all over the world, but also that I rarely get to see the ones I like in person. As noted previously, I am not a terribly extroverted person, so I find these events, full of strange people, in a strange place, challenging. And I hadn’t been to CIF before, so I had no idea what to expect.
It turned out to be amazing! I met a bunch of people, I learned many things and I had a lot of laughs. As someone new to the industry, it can be easy to fall into ‘imposter syndrome’ as you are surrounded by people who have been doing it longer, have had more measurable success and who seem more comfortable with all the processes you are still learning. There was definitely some of this feeling for me, but it was strongly countered by the sense of community here. There is a sense of excitement and wonder and support and naive excitement that I’ve rarely seen at a conference in any discipline. Rather than coming away depressed and questioning my choices, I feel motivated. While the message was aimed at new writers-Keep writing! Find a support group! Practice, practice, practice!-I realized that these all apply to my work as an editor too.
I have some potential new clients and pages of notes: new ways to look at how I do my work, continuing education to hunt down, and new avenues to pursue in search of clients. I also added a ton of books to my TBR list.
One of the first things I heard when I arrived is that the organizer, Sandra Wickham, goes through each event worrying about whether or not it will be successful enough to repeat the next year. Although many people had to leave before the closing remarks in order to start their journeys home, at least half the remaining crowd indicated that this was their first year attending. She was visibly shocked to realize this and I think it might have been tipping point to her announcement that they would be hosting #CIF2019! I gave my business card to one of the organizing committee members, indicating that I am interesting in volunteering next year. I will definitely be pursuing that, as I think the Creative Ink Festival has the potential to be a enormously influential far into the future.