If you're like me, you'll have a little voice in the back of your head that speaks up whenever you think about stepping outside your comfort zone. It's not easy, but if we want to achieve our goals and dreams we have to learn to ignore that voice.
When I first thought about giving a writerly talk, the little voice in my head (which, by the way, sounds suspiciously like my old gran) kept up an incessant chatter for about a week. "You're not qualified." "Who do you think you are?" etc.
For a while, it worked. After all, there were so many other writers out there, many of whom have far better writing credentials than what I do. I felt disheartened, and more than a little ashamed of myself for thinking I had the right to speak about writing or blogging in public. Then I realized I was just making excuses.
Of course, the voice didn't give up right away. When the first approach didn't work, it switched tactics: "You'll stink." "Nobody will come." "You'll make a fool of yourself... again."
No matter. Every time it started, I'd close my eyes and recite the family motto, Carpe remotum, until the voice went away.
I'm so glad I did, because giving talks and presentations is a real hoot and a half.
In the last couple of weeks, I've pencilled in a few more dates on my 2011 speaking calendar. They range from individual talks, like the GETTING PUBLISHED presentation I'm giving this afternoon in Somerset County, to the next HAVE BLOG, WANT READERS? shindig, to some multi-author panel/Q&As with some of my friends in NJAN (The New Jersey Authors Network).
I'm particularly excited about taking my FUN WITH FICTION program for a test drive at Raritan-Bridgewater Middle School on June 3rd, where I'll be giving three, one-hour, presentations to 7th graders there.
Providing you do a decent job of it, these kind of events are (in my opinion) the best possible type of self-promotion. A live presentation sticks with us a lot longer than a written one. True, that's not always a good thing (as anyone who attended a Gentleman Jones concert will attest), but it's usually a positive.
That's why I believe it's important for us as writers to get out of our comfort zone and get ourselves in front of other potential readers and other writers.
My old gran still whispers those sweet negatives in my ear on the way to each event, but I've learned to ignore that voice and focus on the fun.
How about you?
When did you last step out of your comfort zone?