Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Realm Makers Blog Voyage: Day 2

When people ask me the question, ‘Where did you get the idea to put the Realm Makers conference together?” I can’t help but chuckle a little. You see, as much as I was part of the conversations about how Christian speculative fiction enthusiasts needed a place where they could enjoy their genre without being confronted with either near-nudity, aggressive atheism, or wide-eyed, “Well isn’t that . . . interesting? What’s a nice girl like you doing writing about zombie . . . what was it? Assassins?” I definitely never saw myself as the person to create that place. After all, I’m an introvert to the point where answering the phone is a struggle if I don’t know who’s calling. I have young children, a full time job, and novels of my own to write. Why would I take on something as terrifyingly behemoth as a writers conference?

The answer is, I didn’t “get the idea,” so much as it marched up to me, grabbed me by the shirt, and said, “You’re doing this.” Thankfully, because I have been able to see that God is in this conference every step of the way, I’ve had lots of opportunities to watch him work things out when I knew I was truly inadequate to make the pieces fit.

I knew what my plans were, but true to form, God brought me some wonderful surprises during the first Realm Makers, so here, for my leg of the 2014 blog voyage, I’ll share a few of those excellent discoveries.

1.)    People are more awesome than I thought they ever would be. From the shepherding spirit Jeff Gerke showed me in coming along side of me Thursday night before the conference and helping me have everything in order, to the giving group of volunteers that helped set up the conference bookstore in less than two hours, to the appreciative spirits people maintained (even when the shuttle left people hanging around in front of the dining hall until it inspired snarky cartoons being passed between attendees), the authors who came to Realm Makers were a gracious, enthusiastic crowd. I was humbled and blessed that people were willing to entrust me with their time and their treasure, and from those pioneering attendees, I gained a whole new circle of creative, amazing colleagues and friends.

2.)    Serving people really is its own reward. It’s kind of cliché, but it’s a reality I have lived since I first landed the job of drum major of the marching band in 8th grade, and then again in high school. Not because of any applause or words of congratulations, but because of the relationships serving a tight-knit community fosters. I won’t lie . . . the conference takes all year to organize. It’s exhausting. There are times I wish I could just sit down to a Doctor Who marathon and catch up on all the seasons everyone else has been watching while I’ve been arranging class schedules, answering emails (too slowly) and combing through proposals from possible venues. There are times I question: Why spend all the hours to do something that scarcely breaks even financially? But when I see everything coming together, and I see the conversations the conference and its social media presence fosters, I remember that the sacrifice is worth more than I will ever be able to measure by earthly standards.

3.)    Serving the niche is not a bad thing. I’ve waffled more than a few times about whether we should downplay or remove the “Christian” element of Realm Makers in order to draw in a wider attendance base, and hence more revenue to offer more content. But the more I’ve prayed it through, the more obvious it has become that Realm Makers is unique, and the people who took a chance on it the first year (nearly double the number of people I dared hope would show up, incidentally) did so because they saw something special about this conference as compared to the dozens of others that already exist. In my heart of hearts, I believe it’s better to delve into the core of how speculative fiction and Christian worldview intersect than it is to generalize. We pour our souls into our work—how sad would it be to only talk about that in a superficial way?

Because of the unquantifiable satisfaction of filling a community’s need, I am happy to press on and make Realm Makers: 2014 the best possible conference God can use me to create. I hope you join us this year, and if you do, I look forward to hearing how your experience during that weekend surprises you.


Thanks for dropping in my “port” in the blog voyage. If you didn't get a chance to read yesterday's post, stop by Marcher Lord Press's blog and check it out. And if you want to know who else will be talking about the conference as we near the opening of registration, head over to the Faith and Fantasy Alliance blog.

Below, find the Rafflecopter giveaway, which makes you eligible for an awesome array of prizes.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for all of the time and work you put into the conference. Had a great time last year, and I'm really looking forward to this years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Rebecca! Glad to hear you're joining us. I can't believe how fast it cropped up on us. :)

      Delete
  2. Looking forward to making the conference this year! It looks like a great line up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are doing a great job with the conference! I haven't been lucky enough as to be able to attend, but I know several FB friends who did, and were totally thrilled with the experience. I am super excited to see this happening... even from a distance (and hopefully one day, in person!) and I think there are a thousand things just waiting to happen to make it just umpteen times better!
    Getting something like this off the ground is the hardest part, I'm sure; once a reputation gets rolling, excitement will build, and people can plan years in advance to attend! I'm sure this will only grow as time goes on. Keep Strong!
    Also, the costumes are great fun, and one of the saddest parts of my missing the experience! I would LOVE to go somewhere costumes were welcomed and celebrated! Definitely a big draw in my opinion!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ever since I heard about Realm Makers last year, I've really wanted to go. Lord willing, I'll be able to one day. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can appreciate where you're coming from, having directed my first conference last year. I'm so glad you were able to make it. I'm looking forward to attending Realm Maker's this year.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Becky, you are doing a fantastic job. And you are filling a niche that is definitely needed--as last year's conference proved. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Becky, I'm so thankful that you've stepped up to the plate on this. I agree, the opportunity for this unique group of people to gather together is something very special and I think God is using it to do awesome things.

    Thanks for being transparent about the struggle and yet so enthusiastic about the reason it's worth it. You're an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post and I'm glad to know a little bit of the background. I am planning on being there this year. I feel that this is an important niche in Christian publishing for many reasons. Also, to answer the rafflecopter question about my favorite conference -- I have to say I enjoy smaller ones the best. I learn more for some reason. Probably my social anxiety thing. LOL. Thanks for the contest and all your hard work!

    ReplyDelete