“Launch Pad is a workshop for established writers held in beautiful high-altitude Laramie, Wyoming. Launch Pad aims to provide a “crash course” for the attendees in modern astronomy science through guest lectures, and observation through the University of Wyoming’s professional telescopes. We generally cover all workshop expenses including meals and lodging, and are sometimes able to offer travel assistance as well.”
Now that you know what the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop is, I’m going to tell you why you–yes you!–should apply today.
I applied last year, because I felt very intimidated by all the amazing and wonderful authors I’ve read in science fiction. I’ve also been working on the Firefly universe since 2013, and after a while I felt inadequate. Sure, I did hire writers and editors who had a better background in the sciences than I did, but I could tell I had a gaping hole of understanding that needed to be filled. I anticipated that my work in genre would only increase, and as I enjoy researching and reading the hell out of whatever I’m doing I needed a starting point.
It’s impossible to describe how intense and rewarding that week was. Did it trigger (most) of my neuroses, as deadlines wait for no space camp? Yep, it did. But, I got to learn alongside so many other brilliant and talented individuals as we listened to even more brilliant and talented individuals talking about things like accretion disks and what black holes really are (Hint: they’re not “holes”). Oh, and all those stupid questions you want to know the answers to–but were too afraid to ask? We asked them, too.
I wanted to go to Launch Pad because I am actively working toward being more science positive. I have the deepest and utmost respect for scientists who do all the things I cannot. I can read, I can research, but in the end I am an entertainer–and this workshop pointed out why and how writers can embrace the sciences even if we’re not professionals. Plus, the workshop environment with its labs, discussions, and field trips facilitated that awe, that wonderment, that feeling you get when you look up at the stars and think “What if?” That, by itself, is an irreplaceable feeling.
So, what if you applied? That’s the question I’m asking you today. Not because you’re second-guessing what you’ve done (or what you haven’t), but because of what you want to do for the science fiction genre. Set aside your insecurity and your Imposter Syndrome for a moment, and remember that all science fiction writers–from the late Octavia Butler to Robert J. Sawyer to Kim Stanley Robinson–all wrote one story, one screenplay, one game at a time.
Our world needs writers who look to the future and see more hope than disaster, who hear about all the work NASA is doing and think about the possibilities, who want to facilitate a science-positive atmosphere in our stories, our own workshops, and beyond. That writer could be you. If that’s the type of work you want to do, I strongly encourage you to submit your application to the Launch Pad Workshop today. If I can do it, then you absolutely can, too!