Writing FOMO

I’ve just booked my ticket for the 2018 Fantasy Convention in Chester. It’s almost exactly six months away and I’m looking forward to it immensely. To keep me going in the meantime I have Edge-Lit in Derby.

Conventions like these are great for learning more about the craft and the business of writing, and for making connections with other writers – both those who are in a similar position to myself, and those further down the road who are able to give me the benefit of their wisdom.

Recently, a couple of my fantasy-convention friends have published new works. Cat Hellisen has a fantasy novel, Empty Monsters, while Joseph Cole and Ali Nouraei have stories in the Not So Stories anthology (a post-colonial take on Rudyard Kipling). Meanwhile, my brother Thomas J Spargo (also a writer) has a couple of stories coming out in anthologies soon. It’s great to see them having success, and a chance to read some excellent writing.

The only trouble is my lurking FOMO – the fear that I’m missing out, and things are passing me by. Why haven’t I written more short stories, and gotten them into some anthologies? Why haven’t I finished my novel yet and found a publisher for it? Why I am so slow? Such insecurities are common among writers, and if you’re not careful, they can fester.

Well. When such feelings surface, it’s time for some self-talk. Like reminding myself that this isn’t a zero-sum game. That I have a baby to look after, who is very cute but also kind of time-and-energy-consuming so no wonder my work rate has slowed. That I made a deliberate decision to concentrate on long-form fiction rather than short stories, and you obviously can’t crank out a 100k-word novel as fast as you can a 5k-word story. And that, since only I can write my novel in a way that’s truly my own, it’s impossible to ever really miss out, however long it takes.

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Guest Blog – by Alex Davis

Writer, publisher and tutor Alex Davis, whose first novel, The Last War, is just about about to launch, is doing a swap with a different blogger every day in July. Today it’s my turn – you can see my guest on his blog here: http://alexblogsabout.com/the-blog/

The pre-event butterflies

Well, I’m rapidly running out of days until what is one of the most exciting and important days on my calendar, and never more so than this year. Yep, it’s almost Edge-Lit time!

Edge-Lit is Derby’s one-day science-fiction, fantasy and horror shindig and this year takes place on the 11th July. It’s the culmination of the better part of a year of planning, and what s so awesome for me about the event is seeing all that hard work actually come to life. It’s all just bits of paper, files and emails until the day itself, but actually seeing people enjoying themselves, getting things out of sessions, finding out new stuff and discovering new authors is absolutely magic. It’s genuinely humbling to see.

This year has also shaped up to be the biggest yet, which is pretty cool but also a bit unnerving. There’s more than the usual jitters this year, partly because the event is that bit bigger and also because we have our most exciting line-up yet. With MR Carey, John Connolly, Joanne Harris, Paul McAuley, Claire North and Samantha Shannon as Guests of Honour I’m sure you can understand some trepidation…

The other thing really adding to the butterflies is the fact that my first novel is launching at the event. The Last War is out as we speak as an e-book which is really exciting in its own right, but what I absolutely cannot wait for is to be able to hold a copy in my hands. That’s been a dream not even years but decades in the making – if I could go back in time and tell 13-year-old Alex this was happening, he’d be even more buzzing than I am. It’s adding to my jitters even more, because not only do I want the day to do well of course I want the book to do well too. So it’s an added layer of awesome but also an added layer of worry…

Ask me again on July 12th how I feel and I’ll probably give you another answer entirely..

To find out more about Edge-Lit 4, visit http://www.derbyquad.co.uk/special-event/edge-lit-4. For a nose at The Last War on Amazon, check out http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00YQICMHQ