Need Feedback on Speak Out with your Geek out

Speak Out with your Geek Out began with a single drop of creativity. Today, from where I sit, I’m floating happily along in an ocean of laughter, smiles and friendship. For that? I thank you muchly. (See: the answer to why is a raven like a writing desk.)

The majority of the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. There have been a few critical conversations that highlighted deeper issues within the community but that is to be expected from an event that got a lot of attention. Speak Out got a signal boost earlier in the week which amplified people’s knowledge about it. Geek Dad on Wired.com blogged about it, John Kovalic from Dork Tower drew a strip about it, Matt Forbeck interviewed me for GeekDad and Jennisodes podcast hosted me for a special chat.

In my mind, what has happened here can and should happen again. Many people would like this to be an annual event. There have been other conversations about going above-and-beyond what this event is. For that? I need your help.

Everything that was done: interviews, comic, writing, hosting, logo, etc. was donated or done on a volunteer basis in an extremely short span of time. Please keep that in mind when you’re answering my questions. You can either comment below or answer these on your blog and link to them in the comments.

(1) Do you feel Speak Out was a positive experience? Why or why not?

(2) Would you like this to be an annual event?

(3) Did you understand participation was voluntary? That there was a reason why “geek” was never defined?

(4) Is there anything that can be done differently for next year?

(5) If your answer to (4) was yes, how would you feel about a Kickstarter to help fund those goals?

One Happy Bubbly Geek Speaks Out!

Due to a confluence of events, Starscream misbehaving (that’s what I named my computer), and deadlines I didn’t get the chance to read through many of the posts for Speak Out with your Geek Out until today.

Wow, you people impress me like nobody’s business. I have never seen anything like this. People are not just being enthusiastic about themselves but they’re also listening, connecting and promoting tolerance. This community is nothing short of amazing — and the event hit Geek Dad on Wired.com! Yesterday Jonathan Liu posted about the event and today? Matt Forbeck interviewed me about Speak Out for Wired.com!

Today, I decided to sit down and write a letter to a much younger version of myself.

Dear Younger Me:

You’re a teenager. Your world seems very big but at the same time it’s very small. And you hate it. You hate feeling like you’re the only kid who is fascinated by everything, who prefers music, gaming and reading to other people’s hobbies. I know what you’re thinking. Oh yes, I really do. And you’re wrong, wrong, wrong.

Let me tell you something, girl. You feel this way now? Because you haven’t found your tribe yet, that group of people who will share your passions and make you stronger. You’ve seen so many movies, write so many stories, and read so many books about a heroine. Sometimes, you even think you are one. Well, guess what? One day you’re going to meet her.

Then you’re going to meet a hero.

Not long after that you’ll get introduced to another one. And another one. And another. Until all of you together create this amazing community of people who work and play together. Who laugh and cry, support and tolerate, argue and make up. In this community, you don’t have to pretend to be anyone you’re not, you can pretend to be a character you’re not and that’s okay! While you won’t like everyone (and everyone won’t like you) rest assured that you don’t have to brandish that sword as much as you have been. You can be you and you will be loved for it by people you’ll love back.

So don’t worry about your future. You have one. You really do. It’s going to require tough choices but you’re well on your way to getting there. You just keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy the ride.

<3 Older Me

25 Blog Ideas for Speak Out with your Geek Out

Speak Out with your Geek OutToday’s post is to give you some ideas to blog about. If you want to help, please share your ideas for blog post ideas in the comments below or contact me to do a guest post.

Before I do, I want to share with you one of the debut posts encouraging people to sign on. Read Speaking Out by Gary and maybe you’ll get inspired to write your own story.

List of Positive Blog Ideas for Geeking Out

1. What words of reassurance do you want to share with people who feel embarrassed about their hobbies?

2. Why are you proud to identify yourself as a geek? Can you do this in a way that doesn’t condescend or sound elitist?

3. True confessions: If you have engaged in nerd rage or edition wars, what would you say to someone who said they weren’t going to try your hobby because you were too negative?

4. When was the first time you realized you loved your hobby (or vocation)?

5. For professionals out there, how did you turn your passion for your hobby into a career?

6. Remember a time when someone put you down for the hobbies/vocation you love so much. Now, imagine sitting down to a table and introducing them to your passions and how they make you happy. How would you do it and what would you pick?

7. Is there a hobby or vocation you think you’d be passionate about but haven’t had the time/courage/opportunity to learn?

8. Name someone you admire for their hobbies/vocation. Post an online fan letter telling them how much they inspire you.

9. Teach us something cool about the hobby/vocation that you’re into in a way even beginners will understand.

10. Interview someone you know who’s into a hobby/vocation you know nothing about.

11. Review your favorite book, game, comic or other media in a way that tells us how this property affected you.

12. Come up with your own Speak Out with your Geek Out manifesto. Tell us why this movement is important to you.

13. Talk about something you want or have that represents your hobbies or interests better than anything else.

14. Was there a person in your life who encouraged you or taught you about your hobby or vocation? Write them an online “Thank You” letter.

15. Write a letter to a younger version of yourself. What would you say to inspire you?

16. Share with us the positive aspects of your hobby or vocation on your community.

17. If you’ve dealt with stereotypes and name-calling before because of your hobbies, how did you persevere?

18. Photo bomb! Show us pictures of your favorite geek-or-vocation related activity.

19. Geeks are often stereotyped. Write your own, positive geek stereotype that turns the negative around.

20. Give us ten reasons why it’s good to be a geek.

21. Start an internet meme that tackles your interests. Then tag us to respond.

22. Did you abandon your favorite hobby or interest because you didn’t have the time? Pick a night and dive back in. Then write about it!

23. Dig deep and tell us how your hobby or vocation has made your life, or the world around you, a better place.

24. For professionals: If you have a product, website or service to sell, share with us your passion for what you have created or what you have to offer. This isn’t a chance to use marketing-speak on us, be genuine!

25. For professionals: Sponsor a give-a-way or contest on your blog to encourage people to share your interests.

Answering Questions: So Who is this Crazy Monica Person?

Since Speak Out with your Geek Out began, it’s gone from my blog post to a small group of people to (as of this post’s publication) hundreds of participants pledging to participate through Facebook. Since many of you may not know a lot about me or my work as an author, work as a consultant with Dork Storm Press and other clients, or my efforts as a game designer, cat whisperer and other roles… I opened up the floor to questions.

Here’s what I got:

If you could hold up one thing that you have created as the pinnacle (thus far) of your creative endeavors, what would you choose? Why?

Whatever work I polished and delivered last. I am of the belief that I will always have something new to learn as a writer, so I try not to think of that one thing I’m oh-so-proud of. (I used to hate doing readings just for that reason, until a certain editor told me to suck it up and my last reading went so well a reader asked when the sequel was coming out.) I’m kind of afraid of that concept, because feel if I have a pinnacle achievement, even if it’s thus far in my career, then I have some place to fall from as opposed to some place I want to go.

Instead, I’m looking at this process as a journey. I wander from place to place, telling new stories or contributing to new games, to stretch my creative abilities and travel through some interesting (if not treacherous) paths. I experiment often and dig deep.

What is the status of OCCUPATION?

Sigh. So, for those of you who don’t know, OCCUPATION is the name of a dystopian science fiction game based on a world I created. Two stories have recently been published in this world and the game was a global setting where overpopulation wasn’t the only problem. The key concept was the threat of a single alien everyone wanted to find in this world filled with secrets kept, shared and traded for survival. The game fell apart because we couldn’t find a dedicated group of playtesters outside our circle. Because this is such an expansive setting, coupled with the fact that I’m really close to the material, we felt it was best to have outside playtesters to provide us with feedback. I have oh, about 40,000 words written just sitting on my laptop. *sniffle* Now that the hobby games industry has changed dramatically, I’d still want playtesters, but I’d also go with an existing system rather than my own and offer a few tweaks. It is now, officially, in limbo.

Shoe size.

Hah, you wish. I have teeny, tiny, perfect little fairy feet. OF COURSE.

Favorite midget wrestler.

Um… Willow? (If you don’t know who Willow is, then sadly Madmartigan nor I will be able to help you.)

What you did on your summer vacation.

Yeah, so that’s an easy one: WHAT VACATION? I recently took a staycation, and that was spent playing Dragon Age. Again. But with a rogue elf assassin named Sha’relea.

What got you into writing?

I was unexplicably drawn to words, music and the arts at a very early age. Started reading when I was three and published my first short story when I was nine. (It placed in a Halloween contest.) The word probably means something different now, but at the time I was considered a prodigy. I don’t think of myself that way, though.

Which author helped to mold your ‘voice’ in words?

I fall in love with almost every author, but for different and specific reasons, because I marvel at the written word as an act of creation. Edgar Allen Poe was the very first. I loved Poe as a child. His ability to characterize within the short story format in such a dark and delightful way is something I greatly admire. I recently went back and re-read all of his works, and I see so much of my earlier stories were heavily influenced by him.

Tell us about your heroic alter-ego?

Alter-ego you say? Heroic? For those of you who have met me in person, I am very much the same person online as I am in person. My nickname is Miss Random USA for. a. reason. I’m excited by everything, though when I’m not, it can be… Well… kind of cloudy. I guess if I had to pick an alter-ego, it’d be Demonica. There’s a joke there, if you look really hard.

What kind of a lunch box did you have?

Um, still have. STILL have. I have a Magic: the Gathering lunch box and I’ve confiscated a very cool, vintage Marvel lunch box because it has Thor on it. Before that, though, I was always behind on whatever was popular. I, unabashedly, had a Mork and Mindy lunch box and still imagine there is much power in an egg.

What one piece of advice would you give to us just getting into the Game Development and Publishing Industry?

Read my monthly column at Geeks Dream Girl. I take every budding freelancer on an adventure to Dice Castle!

Observations from Coordinating Speak Out

Yesterday, we surpassed 1,000 people on the Facebook event who have pledged to be positive about their geekery. So? Today’s post is my random list of observations from coordinating Speak Out with your Geek Out.

Do you have thoughts to share? Post ‘em below!

+ Sometimes, the difference between getting annoyed and understanding what someone has posted is a matter of semantics and an utter lack of smiley faces.

+ More than a few people identify themselves as geek because they’re damn proud of it.

+ It’s quite possible people post and forget someone else is reading their words.

+ It is all too easy to be negative and it takes a lot of effort to keep sharing the happy.

+ Enthusiasm IS contagious.

+ One negative post or update can ruin someone else’s mood.

+ People want to understand what the word “geek” means because they want to feel included rather than excluded.

+ It’s all too easy to get hung up on the meaning of one word.

+ It’s not true that being mean is the only way to be heard on the internet.

+ Many people aren’t all positive or all negative, but rather shades of both.

+ Some people look for any way they can to be an advocate for their personal philosophy, religion or political background.

+ Community is a word that means something different to different people.

+ It’s hard to understand that some people struggle with being accepted for their hobbies when another has no problem with it.

And last but not least?

+ We’re a lot more alike than we think we are.

Originally posted at SpeakOutWithYourGeekOut.com

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