Austin and the Creative Class: Where Keeping It Weird is Keeping It Kind

Even the dogs love Austin. (Meet Augustus.)

Even the dogs love Austin. (Meet Augustus.)

There are certain cities that, while fantastic, were not built to impress the two-day visitor. (Houston, Texas, I love you. I’m looking at you.) These are cities that require a longer investment of time. They require you to dig deeper, find the hidden gems, move into a neighborhood and discover all the wonderful things that make the city tick for you.

Austin is not one of those cities.

Most who visit Austin, even for a weekend, come away radiant in the reflected glow of friendly people, warm sun, live music, awesome food—let’s just say there’s a reason net 110 people move here every single day.

These things are all true. And beneath all of them is the thing that makes all of them (well, all but the warm sun—that’s just a gift) possible.

This skyline has already changed. But it's beautiful, isn't it?  

This skyline has already changed. But it's beautiful, isn't it?  

That thing is generosity of spirit.

In many places, and many professions, competition is brutal. Brutal. You can’t succeed unless someone else fails. (And competition is not bad—without it, you can drift into a blowsy “I’m ok, you’re ok” stasis. We suffer from that too.)

But when you’re a writer, or an actor (or a writer and an actor), you’re already on a tough road. And it’s pretty fantastic to have a community of like-minded artists around you—people who want you to succeed. Who share and celebrate and grow with you.

So whether you’re coming to Austin for SXSW or SCBWI, keep that in mind. Want to keep it weird? Be nice. In too many places, that’ll be considered weird enough. Here, it’s just how things are done.

Stop back for a list of my ATX faves to help you make the most of your time in town. And if #SCBWI brought you here, welcome! Introduce yourself

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