What I Got Out Of It

Proselytizing After All? WotF, Hubbard, and Scientology My Thoughts On The Firewall

Despite all the Elrond-plugging and the somewhat weird and undesirable experience after my reading, accounts received far outweigh accounts due for my involvement with Writers of the Future.

I’ve already mentioned discovering my tribe and making wonderful friends. I’ve also spoken of the way Writers of the Future boosted my confidence as a writer, strengthened my belief in myself. But there have been many very concrete and specific results as well.

In 2004, my roommate at the WotF hotel was Luc Reid, who is also the founder of the online Codex Writers Group, an invaluable resource for every neo-pro speculative fiction writer. Through Luc, I became an early member of Codex, and Codex has been an endless source of valuable information, writing feedback, and unadulterated fun ever since.

Another membership I got out of WotF is that of the ancient, venerable professional organization for speculative fiction writers, the SFWA: the WotF publication turned out to be a qualifying sale towards membership. While not as valuable as Codex, SFWA has also proven fairly useful through the years, and I still enjoy telling people I was the first ever Dutchman to qualify for membership of the organization that can claim Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein as its alumni.

My WotF achievements also got me on the radar of Ruth Nestvold, an American expat in Germany, who was just starting the Villa Diodati Expat Writers Workshop or American authors in Europe—and for Europeans writing in English. In other words: a big chunk of my newly discovered tribe turned out to live in my area! I’ve had many long workshop weekends with this group since, and the fun, feedback, and friendship from this group have gone a long way towards keeping my writing dreams and ambitions alive.

Various Dutch publications, and local and international radio stations, have picked up my WotF win and written or aired items about it, including interviews with me.

And early in 2006, two of the Galaxy Press people involved in WotF were in Amsterdam, and contacted me to ask if I wanted to get a preview of the documentary filmed half a year before. I watched the film with them, chatted a bit about WotF and writing, and enjoyed the experience a great deal. So when they told me they’d be at the London Book Fair next weekend, I invited my girlfriend to come along, and flew to London.

At the LBF, in the Galaxy Press booth, the two proceeded to introduce me to one of the major Dutch specfic publishers. Jürgen Snoeren remains a good friend to this day, and through Jürgen, I discovered that a Dutch-language branch of my tribe actually lives all around me. Events, workshops, involvement in the foremost Dutch writing contest, a publisher for a couple of my stories, and above all a whole bunch of great new friends, all came out of that.

When I first submitted to the Writers of the Future contest, I had a single story sale to my name. Today, I have a wonderful international network of friends and organizations, and have just chalked up my 25th story sale (15th at professional pay rates). I credit a major part of the difference between the two states to everything that flowed from my participation—and first prize—in the Writers of the Future contest. [read on…]

Proselytizing After All? WotF, Hubbard, and Scientology My Thoughts On The Firewall

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