Now that Worldcon and the Hugo Awards are over, I’d like to talk to you, the Science Fiction and Fantasy author/writers who: 1: Couldn’t go to Worldcon in Ireland this year, watched from afar (or at least on the screen of your electronic device) and felt left out/sad/driven to the margins as the rest of SFF fandom/pro-dom celebrated and B: Watched the Hugo Awards with the sure knowledge that your work will never ever ever never be even remotely considered worthy of even any consideration for this award and you know in your darkest heart of hearts you will never stand on that podium, rocket ship in hand.
Wouldn’t it have been great to go to Ireland for WorldCon? Yes, it would have been great. But for most of us, that was simply not a viable option, whether for financial, personal, or life reason. And remember this: some of those folks who attended started saving money to attend by eating ramen and Kraft Mac & Cheese 15 meals a week the moment this Worldcon was announced. Some of those folks made a decision that this would be their one big trip/vacation for the year, maybe the next couple of years. Some of those folks took on unsecured credit card debt to pay for the privilege of attending Worldcon. We all make decision, and while it is perfectly normal to be a little sad and yes, even jealous YOU couldn’t attend, remember that we all had perfectly good reasons (even if those reasons were sadly beyond our control) for going or not going.
The Hugo Awards. Here is the thing. Maybe you read a bunch of the nominated stories and novels and such and here you are saying to yourself, “Self, I’ll never be as good/as talented/in the same class of these luminous supernatural beings of the written word and I should just quiet.” Maybe you are saying to yourself, “Self, I can out-write these hacks with one hand, what the hell even?” Probably you are somewhere between these extremes of hyperbole.
My dear writer friends, please remember this. The only thing you control is the writing. That’s it. No matter where you fall in the above spectrum, remember that the only thing you control is the writing. Also remember that editorial and reader tastes change over time. Editors, agents, and other “gatekeepers” change with time. Maybe what you write right now isn’t to their taste. Maybe it will be to the next editor/agent/reader. Okay, I will allow that networking and making connections can help, but in the end what matters is the story. Awards and novel contracts and bestseller lists and meager fame and fortune all come out of the one thing you control. The story.
In the end, what matters is the story.
So, congrats to all the Hugo Winners. And all the Hugo losers. And all the Not Appearing on Any Hugo List Ever authors. Congrats to you mid-listers out there grinding it out. Congrats to you on your 100th sale or your 1st. Congrats to you who just finished the thing, be it a novel, screenplay, short story, poem, article, or whatever because you, my friend have done the thing so so many cannot: you finished creating a piece of art. Congrats on your publication with the Big 5 or the Not-So Big 5 or a small press or the indie published thing you are willing to fling out into the big cold world. Congrats to all of us who keep working away with words, keep hoping, keep dreaming, keep entertaining.
Cool? Okay. Let’s get back to writing.