Finding my people

(Did you know I have another blog? Sometimes the material is a little bit repeated (when it’s really big news) otherwise that is usually much more personal than this. Just in case you want more about me.)

utopya2014logoI spent the weekend at Utopya Conference (Their tag line is: The first-of-its-kind convention for women writers of supernatural YA and NA fiction, and their fans! I would add to that there are a lot of romance writers also.) in Nashville. The conference began three years ago and I’ve been, in some form, each year. This year though, I went as an author, with a book out that I was actively trying to learn to promote.

Can I tell you a secret? Promoting a book is harder than writing one. At least for me.

The thing about Utopya is that it is a family. A quickly growing family of nearly a thousand people now, but a family nonetheless. Everyone knows everyone (we have a Facebook group that helps with that) and everyone admires everyone else. It’s amazing to see.

I learned a ton while I was there. I haven’t even processed through all of my notes and to-dos yet. I met some amazing people. But I felt like an outsider. And it took until the last day of the conference to realize why: I am. I started going to Utopya because I knew it’s founder and was friends of friends of people on the planning committee. I wanted to be a part of that community and the love there. And, don’t get me wrong, they welcome me with open arms every year. But…I just don’t have the same fan-girling, tackle-hugging, jump-up-and-down-screaming excitement they have.

It’s kind of like in High School when you have your group that you hang out with and like, but also have that group that looks fun that you want to be a part of. So you wedge yourself in there and they accept you, but it never really feels right.

It’s because it’s not.

I have so much respect and admiration for the women (and men, there are a few) of Utopya. SO MUCH. But I don’t write (or really read) YA/NA Paranormal/Supernatural. It’s not that I dislike it, I like most of it that I read. But it’s not what I crave. (It’s like ice cream for me: it’s awesome and everything, but unless you offer it to me I probably won’t think about asking for it.)

So while everyone else was crying and hugging each other goodbye last Sunday, I quietly slipped out to take my rental car back to the hotel. I spent the afternoon a little sad that I had missed out on the social aspect of the conference. It took me a few days away to realize: I had an fantastic time. But I need to find the conferences for people who write and read what I write and read: mysteries, popular/literary fiction, and there I will find both my readers and the writers and swoon over.

This isn’t to take away from the Utopya experience at all. It is a wonderful conference that I highly recommend (and next year’s tickets are already on sale, for an amazingly low price.) But it is a reminder to myself that I don’t have to change to fit a certain group. I just need to find my group. So I’m going to keep trying to do that.

Have you ever gone anywhere and felt like an outsider? Do you stick it out, or do you leave?

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