It’s almost time!
In exactly two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane to New Orleans for the annual Romantic Times Convention. This is one of the best conventions for a writer, in my opinion, since there are real live readers there waiting for us to engage them.
The problem, you ask? Well, one thing about us authors – we don’t really get out much. Okay, I don’t get out much. Some of us have full-time jobs aside from our writing, but even still, I’m still an introvert. This fact is hard for some to believe since I seem outgoing and lively, but inside, with a few thousand people to impress, I’m shaking in my boots.
This will be my third RTCon, so I’ve managed to pick up some helpful tips to aid in not making a complete fool of myself.
First, I try not to think about all the things going on around me and just focus on the single thing I’m doing at the time. With all the activities and people, it’s easy to get lost and begin to feel overwhelmed. Instead, I’ll focus on the conversation I’m having, focus on the workshop I’m in, focus on living and enjoying the one thing in front of me at the moment. My interactions seem more meaningful if I can simply stay in the moment.
Next, I won’t set unreasonable expectations. I remember pitching the first time I went to RTCon and forcing myself to complete a full novel in a matter of weeks, just so I could walk away from the conference a published author. Well, it didn’t work. My story was weak, I hadn’t developed my characters – and honestly didn’t know a thing about them, and I ended up feeling like more of a failure. These days, I try to only give myself attainable goals to accomplish during my conference. This time, I’m hoping to meet 50 readers. Not force them to read my books or wrangle them into giving up their emails addresses for my newsletter, but just meet some folks and hear their perspective on the writing industry, or to make new friends. Sure, it would be great if they ended up reading one of my books, but if not, I’m fine with that.
Lastly, I want to experience New Orleans. I’ve never been there. I have to open myself up to the experience so that perhaps I can use my time there as inspiration for one of my stories.
I hope these things tips help you. I mean really, none of these goals have completely eliminated my internal battle against my nerves but they do give me reasonable starting point and help me feel as I’m a little more in control. I believe the feeling of being out of control is the primary reason for fear, or being nervous in the first place.
I hope to see some of you in NOLA in a couple of weeks. If you are going, look me up! I’ll be the one concentrating on not biting my nails.
Until then, all best!