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I was a panelist at a writer’s con, and I loved it.

This past weekend Dream Foundry, a non-profit organization built to help early career authors with mentoring, support, and learning*, hosted a virtual conference for creatives. Flights of Foundry was a 2 day event with topics spanning from AI in literature to decolonizing SFF to the business side of writing and creating. This was a free (YES FREE!) con with loads of excellent content, people with excellent experience in the business, and an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.

They invited me to participate, and I was delighted to appear on two panels: Creating (or not) in Hard Times and Maintaining a Creative Practice While Parenting. Both panels went well! We had lots of audience engagement, and I want to look at both individually in separate blog posts, because I have a lot of thoughts on both topics. Obviously. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been on the panels. Being on the panels felt good. It felt like I was finally able to give back to a community of writers that has given me so much.

I was a little concerned with how a virtual conference would work. How hard would it be to attend panels and figure out times and schedules? Would I miss everything due to not understanding the systems? Would it be like talking into the void?

While there were some hiccups early on in the con, the staff and volunteers were fantastic in addressing and resolving them quickly. The audience participated actively via the discord channels. It ended up feeling like everyone was able to have a conversation together, and, frankly, I loved it. I didn’t have to worry about queuing up outside of crowded conference rooms. I didn’t have to worry about rushing from one side of a giant convention center to the other and then being late to that one panel I really wanted to see because I needed to use the restroom. With this con, I was able to participate at the level that felt most comfortable for me, and I loved it.

Guys, this is a great con. They’re already talking about 2021. Watch for it. Follow and support Dream Foundry. Join the discord. Get in the loop. It’s a great group of people doing great things for our community.

*There’s an annual contest. If you qualify, you should enter! I know these folks. They’re doing good.

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