It’s Not Just a Hobby

Friday morning at 11AM on the Fan Tracks channel, a panel of female creatives assembled to discuss publishing, writing, editing, comics, and art from a woman’s viewpoint. Moderator Sheena Wiley, Georgia McBride, Chantelle Aimée Osman, and Christine Taylor-Butler talked about everything from their start as authors to how others see women as writers in Writers’ Panel: A Womans Perspective.

To start off, each panelist shared their path to where they are today. Taylor-Butler, an MIT graduate in engineering and art design, used to write on the side. A push from the universe in the guise of a bad boss brought her writing to the forefront. Osman was a Hollywood lawyer who became disillusioned and turned to teaching screenwriting. This eventually led to editing and co-writing. At 12 years of age, McBride was writing wedding songs for brides. She became the editor of her high school literary magazine and never looked back.

After introductions, the panel briefly touched on how to become a published author. They all agreed that a large part of it is networking and treating it like a business. Taylor-Butler noted that being easy to work with is also a big plus. McBride pointed out that who you know and who knows you can open doors that might otherwise be closed. Osman mentioned that pitching your story in person is much better than in writing.

All three panelists agreed that a writer should continue educating themselves with refreshers in writing, editing, and self-promotion. The Dragon Con Writers Track is a wonderful way to keep learning. It is also ideal for making those oh-so-important connections.

The panelists then moved into things that specifically affect women in writing. The top of the list is expectations. For women, anything creative is viewed as a hobby when that same creative outlet is typically considered a career for men. Because writing is not considered as something important that women can do to earn money they are often approached by family and friends to do things like babysit or run errands or even just hang out. Each panelist urged attendees to protect their writing time.

As the panel began to wrap up, the panelists really got down to brass tacks. They reiterated that writers must treat their writing as a business. Writers must be realistic about their expectations regarding advances and royalties. A writer should consider going with a smaller publisher in the beginning to get a strong base which will make them more attractive to larger publishers down the road. And, finally, writers must learn about marketing and promoting. It is the writer’s job to promote herself. Start a blog. Build a relationship with people on social media. Give people a way to find and interact with you.

Author of the article

Colleen Callahan is a freelance content writer and social media consultant specializing in food and beverage, writing blog posts, newsletters, and managing social media accounts. She recently sold her house and most of her possessions and moved into an RV with her two doggos. They live the full-time nomad life, traveling the US and chasing 70 degrees. Starting with A Wrinkle In Time and never looking back, Colleen is a huge fan of science fiction, fantasy, and the supernatural. Favorite time burners are anything by Joss Whedon, the entire Outlander universe, the occasional Neil Gaiman rant, and as many geeky TV shows as she can lay her eyes on. Recently, Colleen has decided to go back to her first love - writing. Since the third grade, creating neighborhood newsletters with a typewriter and copying them with a mimeograph machine (remember those?), the writing flame has been kept alive through short stints in industry magazines, copywriting for marketing projects, and writing on her blog, Volunteering for the Daily Dragon was the first stepping stone in a journey towards her Destiny. Colleen can also be seen on her YouTube channel, Sunrise 2 Sunset RV.