The Convention Kid

Two years ago yesterday, the very first episode of SpeakBeasty debuted, and thus began one of the most remarkable creative endeavors of my life. Since then, we’ve hosted live shows at MISTI-Con and New York Comic Con, we’ve covered the red carpet premiere of the first Fantastic Beasts film, we’ve had one of the show’s four main actors as a guest on the show, and (this one is my favorite) we’ve gotten to meet some of our incredible listeners IRL, and hear their stories about how our show touched their lives or made them smile on a bad day. There have certainly been struggles and conflicts and moments of frustration, but all of them have been outweighed by the staggering amount of good things to come of this show. From professional milestones to profound friendships, it’s been an incredible ride, and we still have so much yet before us with the release of the next four films.

But as SpeaBeasty continues on (our 52nd episode is due out on New Year’s Eve) I’m today starting on a new adventure, and launching my first solo podcast—a new show called The Convention Kid

The Convention Kid was conceived out of a culmination of moments, the first being that my roommate asked me if I’d ever considerered reviewing or talking about the conventions that I go to. I said I wasn’t really sure how I would, but the idea was inception-ed in the back of my brain. The next part, was going to PodCon, which was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. The con was so wonderful and pure and full of infectious creative energy, and all the panels left me with new ideas for new shows I could create. And then, it hit me. A memory from childhood. A sign that maybe this was always where I was meant to end up. Something that goes back to the literal day I was born.

Folks, I was literally born during a convention.

Backstory time—my grandfather was a firefighter chief for years, and so every year in the end of September, my family attended the Pennsylvania State Fireman’s convention. Mind, this was no comic con sort of event like the ones I attend now, but it was still a convention. And so while all my family’s friends were off at the event, my mom was in the hospital having me, racking up a crazy phone bill calling everyone from the convention who wanted to hear how she and brand-new-me were doing. And so each year, when we went to the convention, my mom’s friends would see me and say, “Hey, it’s the convention kid!”.

Apparently, I’ve always been who I was supposed to be.

And so thanks to PodCon, these ideas coalesced into this pilot, called A Rising Tide, which comes from a quote that the hosts of the Spirits podcast said at PodCon that really stuck with me in a big way. The phrase was…

A rising tide raises all ships.

It’s a beautiful phrase, that I think embodies how artists and creators should approach their work. It reminds me that when we uplift others, we uplift ourselves as well, and then together achieve more than any of us could have achieved alone. It made me want to start this new show, so that people like me who love cons and fandom can bond together over our geekiness.

I’m really psyched to start this new journey, and I hope you’ll join me along the way. And if you really like this first episode, definitely consider popping over to the shiny new Patreon page for The Convention Kidwhere for anywhere from $1 to $10 a month, you can support the show so I can keep making more episodes and deliver you an even better show.

So now to the reason we’re here, I’m proud to present Episode 1 of The Convention KidI hope you enjoy the show.

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Camp NaNo: Day 10

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 107

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6581

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

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I THINK I GOT IT

Some days, you can spend hours and hours and way too many cups of coffee just to come up with notta. No new ideas, no character development, no resolution for your #plotprobs – NOTHING. These days tend to leave one feeling like curling up in a ball would be a much better game plan than writting 50K in four weeks.

Then there are days where one little statement sparks in you something you never tried, and before you know it, you’ve cured your writers block.

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BRILLIANT!

Lemme back track, as I’m sure some of you are doubting the epicness of this idea given I only got about 100 new words for this day.

I decided my Write Space for the day would be a Starbucks I know that’s open late downtown, but upon arriving to said cafe, I realized I’d left something crucial behind – my computer charger. For those who don’t know, my computer is a precious old lady computer that I got the month before college and poor baby can’t function for more than 40 minutes without being plugged in. Given that I was a few miles from home and would have wasted almost an hour trying to get home, get it, and return, I resigned myself to notebook brainstorming.

The words just weren’t coming though. I kept reworking the same paragraph as the day before, unsatisfied with everything about it and worried that it didn’t send the chapter on the right trajectory. In my frustration, I messaged a friend of mine who’s been hella supportive of my writing endeavors and expressed how horrendously depleted of ideas I was feeling.

Scott understands me.
Scott understands me.

That was when said friend sent a text that changed the course of my night and the chapter…

When I lose all momentum or motivation playing piano, I practice backwards. Start with the last measure and work my way back. Any way that can translate into writing terms?

As soon as I read this, an idea popped right into my head as to how exactly the chapter could end, and then as if by magic, I had a vauge outline for the entire chapter (and the one to follow) within ten minutes.

I. Was. Floored.

I think that’s the outrageously exciting thing about writing. You can do it for most of your life, think you’ve got it all figured out, and then someone can say something as simple as “work backwards” and before you know it you’re realizing there’s a lot that you don’t know. Like I said in my post the other day, sometimes you need to stand on the desk to see things in a new way, but sometimes it takes going a step further. Crawl under the desk. Look out the window. Leave the freaking room, for goodness’ sake. There’s an infinite number of ways to approach writing – like most things in life – and honestly the sooner I just embrace that, the better off I’ll be.

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How the universe probs feels when talking to me…

As I was completing my outline, the place I was writing in was closing for the night and so I began making my way back to catch the bus home. This was when randomly, out of the blue, a friend of mine called and invited me to go out to dinner, and I figured, why the heck not. But as I ended up waiting for him to come pick me up from where I was at on South Broad Street, I decided to whip the notebook back out and do something that probably looked weird.

I began writing and videoing myself writing right there on the street. I got some odd stares, but it felt strangely liberating to pick a piece of street I’ve been on countless times before and try to look at it with new eyes, to look at it through the eyes of my characters and think things like how would they be inspired by this space? So I guess I really got two new write spaces for the day, which is pretty awesome. (Which was followed by a freakin delicious late dinner and drinks with my friend at Applebees, which was pretty awesome too)

Moral of the day: listen to your friends, and think outside the box. It helps. It really helps.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
10:06pm, 16th & Chestnut Starbucks

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11:35pm, Broad & Sansom Streets

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Camp NaNo: Day 6

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 970

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6261

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

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I’ll be over here thankyouverymuch

Today was quite a mixed day as my allergies were back with a vengeance and I spent most of the day huddled up under covers feeling like crap.  But Camp NaNoWriMo doesn’t wait for allergies!! Thankfully I managed to do some really fun word sprints with some new people on twitter, and upped my word count by nearly 1,000. I’m still  behind what I need to be at for today (11,290) but with the roll I’ve been on I’m perfectly certain I’ll catch up this week.

Given that yesterday I got to have such a great time running word sprints and sharing postivity with the sprinters of twitter, I thought I would follow up today with a special blog post, in which I offer a few little beginner tips on how to get new ideas and keep on keepin’ on while you write. I also thought it would be a lot more fun if I brought these writing tips to you with the help of a little friend of mine. Ladies and gentlemen and variations thereupon, please enjoy the very first Writing Tips with ROFL.

 

Camp NaNo: Day 5

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 2,899

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 5,291

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

WORDS ARE HAPPENINGGGGG

For today’s video, I did something that I don’t do often enough as a writer: I went outside.

Scary notion, I know.

But I ventured out into the world today, trying to just get my head out of the space it’s been in all weekend, which is in my apartment, feeling congested and stressed and not making any words happen. Turns out that some fresh air and a new place to write were just the trick I needed. Did some quality brainstorming, recorded some pretty shots and took some nice photos – which I’ll include in my post with the video – and then made my way home. (Discovering along the way that apparently Dunkin Donuts has my favorite kind of coffee for 99 cents every day between 2pm and 6pm from now till the end of the summer)

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Me for the rest of the summer, basically

Upon arriving home, I set immediately to writing and FINALLY got some done! I’ve been word sprinting it all evening over with NaNoWordSprints on twitter, which if you’re a writer and haven’t checked them out yet, I highly recommend you do. While you have to be careful not to be too distracted by the rest of twitter, it’s really great to have constant sprint start & end times, different prompts, and suggestions from fellow writers when you’re stuck for something. It’s pretty fantastic, and honestly, it’s what helped me hit my goal today.

I managed to write just about 3,000 words! (And honestly, will probably keep going as soon as I am done with this post because I do NOT wanna lose this momentum!) Sometimes really all it takes is a change of space and pace to get the inspiration flowing again in ways you wouldn’t have expected. Going outside, and then coming back to write, but writing in one of the offices where I work as opposed to in the coziness of my blanket fort, really helped me to get out of the funk I was in and get my groove back.

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#Yas Dumbledore, #Yas.

However this good news comes with some slightly bad news, which is that I was so productive with my writing that I’ve had no time to edit together the video I shot on my little stroll today. As bummed as I am that the video must wait til tomorrow to be shared with you, I am happy that I got to film it, and that I did what matters most in this month of epic writing, which is actually get something on paper. (or computer if we’re being technical) This video WILL be released, but not until tomorrow, which I guess means I am going back to posting videos on the days after the day they are about.

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#CampTimeyWimeyMo

So take heed writing friends and assorted others of the interwebs: if you’re sitting in your room trying to find inspiration, after repeated days of sitting in that same room, trying to find inspiration, chances are you won’t find it. You have to get up, go for a walk, and maybe seek a Great Perhaps. (Looking for Alaska, anyone?) Best of luck with your words, friends. I’m looking forward to writing plenty more of my own tonight.

 

Camp NaNo: Day 1

END OF DAY WORD COUNT: 1,343 words

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

Tina Fey & I are playin NO GAMES
Tina Fey & I are playin NO GAMES this month. #CampNaNo2k15

So as I type this, it’s somewhere around 2:30 in the morning and to be honest I am dead tired. But as I venture for the first time into the forest that is #CampNaNoWriMo (A month long novel writing challenge spin-off of the November version of the same name, minus the camp) I realized that in my early years of NaNo noveling, there was one thing that really and genuinely helped to keep me sane amidst the late nights and the probably-illegal-in-several-states amount of caffeine in my blood stream – and that was writing about it.

Writing about writing, eh? I can guess what you’re thinking . . .

BWAM BWWAAAAMMM
BWAM BWWAAAAMMM

It’s not as crazy as it sounds I swear. For me, writing about my experiences has always been something that helps me to organize my thoughts, and make me sit back and reeeally reflect on how it is I feel about something. So as I’m writing (and some days, I write a lot) it can be quite helpful to vent, share, squeal, or just incoherently key smash out my frustrated feels in order to get back to a proper state of mine to write words.

So as I start off on this latest noveling journey, I’m going to be mixing my mediums by – wait for it – blogging AND vlogging every. single. day.

Is this going to be a serious challenge for scatter-brained-always-got-a-new-idea-but-not-enough-time me? Yes the heck it is. But the way I see it, if I was somehow able to get through college with it’s bajillion and one different things to do at once, I can certainly make it through this.

The videos will most likely all be short and sweet, and honestly both vlogs and blog posts here can fluctuate in terms of time for each. Tomorrow I may write a novel of a blog post (geddit?) or a six word story. The videos may be me giving long insightful feedback on how best to approach writing meaningful themes or character development, or they could be me making tired grunty noises at my camera. But the goal is this: SOMETHING every day.

Apparently this post is brought to you by Tina Fey?
Apparently this post is brought to you by Tina Fey?

In addition, I will still be posting other blogs to here, so don’t think that will stop as I focus on this writing! (I know many of you are still excitedly waiting for the remainder of posts from my UK trip, and they’re comin, I promise) Just hope that the experience of recounting my noveling journey is as enjoyable for you as I hope it will be for me. But now, I’m going to stop getting nostalgic over something that hasn’t happened yet and get my self to sleep.

Wish me luck & see you all on Harry Potter’s birthday when I cross the #50K finish line! (AT GEEKY CON NO LESS!!!)

JULY 1st VLOG