Realm Makers 2015 — Taking the Leap

posted in: My Writing Journey | 13

Realm Makers 2015 — Taking the Leap

In 2014 I was too scared to attend Realm Makers. I watched from home as people posted photos and talked about how amazing it was. A voice in my thoughts kept repeating…

I should have gone.

I’m an introvert. Meeting new people has always intimidated me. Not to mention I was pretty new to the writing world, which only added to my mountain of nerves.

So(naturally), when registration opened for the 2015 conference, I signed up. Haha…ha… I reserved housing and booked my flights. Then I sat back, horrified at what I had just committed to…and relieved that the conference was still several months away.

…Then August came.

Getting ready to fly out of the Eugene airport.
Getting ready to fly out of the Eugene airport.

 

I had a mini panic attack the night before my first flight left. I was pacing my room saying, what have I gotten myself into?! In the morning I went to the airport. I got on the plane. As it took off I wanted to say, Stop! Let me off!

But I went to St. Louis, more than 1,500 miles away from home, on my first solo trip and my first big writing conference. While getting my ticket for the metro to the UMSL campus, I met a woman who was also on her way to Realm Makers. We buddied it over to registration, then to the dorms.

 

 

 

 

The adventure had begun.

I told myself to be brave, to not be too nervous or shy to ask questions or for directions, and to remember to actually talk to people. I have a tendency to clam up and pretend I’m invisible around those I don’t know well. :)

Realm Makers was more than I had hoped it would be.

Sure, there were times I was standing or wandering the room alone, feeling awkward and out-of-place. I hardly knew anyone when I first arrived. But I began to meet people. I sat at tables with those I only knew from social media and emails, and with complete strangers. People stopped me and introduced themselves, and I got up the courage to stop a few people myself and shake their hands.

Playing board games our last night there.
Playing board games our last night there.
Star Wars trio and photo bombing Iron Man.
Star Wars trio and photo bombing Iron Man at the costume-encouraged Awards Banquet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

katiegrace
Me with Katie Erickson.
These people were amazing.

And funny. And kind. And hey, we all love weird stories, why shouldn’t we have fun talking and possibly become friends?

Me with Jill Williamson
Me with Jill Williamson
starwars3
Me with a Jedi family. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going to Realm Makers forced my very introverted self to get to know others. This really drove home a point to me. Behind the head shots and snippets of conversation on social media, there are fantastic people with common interests and dreams. Thinking about posting on social media, and interacting with people I have never met, was less frightening after this.

To me, that alone was worth going to Realm Makers.
Enclave publisher Steve Laube and authors Kerry Neitz, Morgan L. Busse, Jill Williamson, me, Gillian Bronte Adams, Ronie Kendig, and Nadine Brandes at Realm Makers 2015!
Enclave publisher Steve Laube and authors Kerry Neitz, Morgan L. Busse, Jill Williamson, Gillian Bronte Adams, Ronie Kendig, Nadine Brandes, and me at Realm Makers.

But connecting with other writers isn’t the only reason to attend a writers conference. The sessions and panels at Realm Makers were extraordinary. I took so many notes during my classes. It was well worth my registration fee. Conferences may be expensive to attend, but as I heard attendees say before, and as I am saying now, it doesn’t matter. If you can make it happen, go. You won’t regret it.

A character from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle browsing the bookstore.
A character from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle browsing the bookstore.

 

Some of my haul from Realm Makers. :)
Some of my haul from Realm Makers. :)

I had so much fun at Realm Makers. It was a brand new experience for me. I have come away from it with more knowledge, and more friends, than I arrived with. Who could ask for more? :)

Aaron DeMott and Jeff Gerke saying their farewells, Star Trek style. ;) Haha!
Aaron DeMott and Jeff Gerke saying their farewells, Star Trek style. ;) Haha!
I snap a photo of my cool bag in every state I take it to. This was for St. Louis, Missouri!
I snap a photo of my cool bag in every state I take it to. This was for St. Louis, Missouri!
The pathway we walked from the dorms to the dining hall.
The pathway we walked from the dorms to the dining hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will definitely try to attend Realm Makers again in 2016. Will I see you there?

Have you gone to a writing conference before? What was your experience like?

Just B. Jordan is a high fantasy author. She graduated high school a year early and received her first publishing contract at the age of 18. Never To Live is her first novel. Find it here.

13 Responses

  1. I am SO glad you decided to go! I can see how that could’ve been a kind of introverts nightmare — the whole weekend is filled with talking and staying up late and cramming your brain filled with knowledge. It was such a blessing meeting you, though. My dream is to get published someday, and to see a fellow homeschooler and (past) teen do it is such an inspiration.
    Thank you for writing books for Him! I can’t wait to read yours. ^.^ (Insanity is always something that I find super interesting. xD)

    • I’m so glad I decided to go too! I really enjoyed meeting you, though my enthusiasim may have been quiet. I think(and hope!) I won’t be as reserved around people next year. I’m already wishing I had taken more photos, started more conversations, and let a bit of my silly out. :)
      I won’t be surprised if you get published sooner than you may think. Your commitment to writing and growing your craft is pretty clear, and that’s half the battle, right? :) I know I’ll be in line to buy your first book when it comes out. :D

  2. You looked really shy ;)

    I felt the same way at Realm Makers 2014… there I was, an almost-published author, among people who had published already… who was I to be there? And yet, people came up to me, introduced themselves, and said they’d wanted to meet me! (for any non-introverts reading this, that’s a mind-blowing concept…)
    It was a lot easier this year since I already knew a lot of people…

    It was really fun to meet someone else who’d dress as a Jedi. (And find out from your friend where to get the boots!)

    • Yeah, I think it will be easier for me next year too. I’m glad I’ve started getting to know more people in the spec-fic group, and I’m kicking myself for not attending in 2014! :P Haha.
      It was really fun to see all the Star Wars costumes! In fact, after seeing how fantastic your family’s looked, I’m considering turning mine into a Twi’lek Jedi. XD

  3. I’m so glad I got to meet you, Jordan! I’m an introvert and was terrified, too, but I agree that it was totally worth it. Hope to see you again at Realm Makers 2016!

    • I’m thrilled to have met you! I’m glad we ended up at the same table for the awards dinner and started talking. :)

      • Me too! :D Did you know that the Jedi Apprentice series were raving about was written by David Farland, one of the speakers at Realm Makers? I didn’t even know that until I’d just finished talking to him and we hit the road! Probably a good thing I didn’t know until we were gone or I might have slobbered all over him…

        • …No, I didn’t know that! If I had, I would have geeked out through all of his classes! It’s probably good I didn’t know either. XD David Farland just gets more and more amazing…

          • Definitely. I’m seriously considering going to his writer’s workshop coming up in October in Houston. That’s quite a haul for you, but if you’ll be there, let me know! :)

  4. You’ll totally see me there! I’m SO glad I got to meet you, Jordan! Way to be brave and courageous! I love your re-cap and I’m proud of you for going to a conference. It’s the best thing you can do for your (already awesome) writing! :)

    • Thank you! I’m so glad I made myself go, and got to meet you. I think I’ve entered the writing conference craze now. ;) I can’t believe I waited so long. The things you learn and the people you meet are so worth the bits of terror you have to conquer. :) I’m already looking ahead at funds so I can go next year!

  5. It was so awesome to finally meet you in person! I hope to go next year too!

    • It was awesome to finally meet you in person too! I really hope we can both make it to Realm Makers 2016! Now that I’ve been to a conference, it’s a little sad to think there might only be one chance a year to see people face to face. :)

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