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This morning, I’m reporting to you, live, from the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Allentown, where I’m attending the two day, pre-conference workshop with James N. Frey which starts in a couple of hours.

As I’ve mentioned before, like many folks, I have a problem with shyness, especially when I’m around a lot of people I don’t know, so after I arrived here yesterday afternoon I decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool to calm my nerves before heading down to the bar/restaurant to see if any other attendees had arrived. 

Sad to say, my cunning plan was thwarted when I got there and read the ‘No swimming in the pool by yourself’ placard – though if I’m honest, I’d already half-changed my mind  when I saw the harpoon rack mounted on the wall beside it.

Only slightly daunted, I got changed, caught up on LJ, then went to the dining area, but it was still quite early and I ended up eating alone. Later (about 7ish) I tried again, but I only managed to stay in the bar for about 10 seconds before panic dragged me out of there by the scruff of the neck.

I HATE being shy!

I ended up talking a twilight stroll around the hotel car park. I don’t know if it was the sight of three rabbits, the sound of the birds, or even the sound of airplanes landing on the other side of the street, but by the time I got back inside, I felt much more in control. 

I went back into the (still mostly empty) dining area, determined to strike up a conversation with someone, but as I got there my friend, Tori, from the last two Write Stuff conferences arrived at reception. I introduced myself to another lady, Eileen, who looked like she was a writer, and the three of us had a pleasant chinwag. We were even joined by another GLVWG friend, Kathryn Craft, who also writes for The Blood-Red Pencil

We ended up chatting until about 10:00pm, which was a lot more fun than sitting in my room by myself and watching the telly all night.

This morning, I feel much more confident, especially after I got a taste of what it’s like to be really tall. I’m only 5-foot 9 in my socks, yet the top of the shower rose was no higher than my (admittedly somewhat expansive) forehead. 

Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘Why were you wearing your socks in the shower, Jon?’ but that’s not important right now. The thing is, I feel much more relaxed about walking into a crowded room this morning, and that’s always a good thing.

Anyhoo, I think I hear my fried breakfast calling to me, so I’m off to make some new friends and meet some old ones.

Wish me luck!

ETA: It's 11:30pm.  The day went exceedingly well.  I knew Jim Frey would be informative, but I didn't expect him to be so entertaining!   I can't stand the pace, so I've left the guys chatting in the bar. 

Thank you for all your supportive comments.  Today was a lot easier.  As always, once I made that first step things went swimmingly. 


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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 25th, 2010 10:28 am (UTC)
Yay for trying again and again. I would have ended up in the hotel room by myself. It's just easier to be by myself. Conversation - especially conversation with strangers - is super difficult for me. It's exhausting, and I tend to clam up and sit quietly, listening and wondering if the other people want me to leave.

Yeah. I got issues, lol. It's something I need to work on. :-)

Have fun at the conference!
Mar. 26th, 2010 11:00 am (UTC)
I'm with you; I'd be back at my hotel room reading.
(no subject) - sandy_williams - Mar. 26th, 2010 11:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 25th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
Good luck! You've already started this off right by not putting yourself in a position to be harpooned. This bodes well.
Mar. 25th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
Yay for you and for meeting new folks.

So, what exactly does a writer look like? It's not like we can go by ink stained fingers (that could signal an account as well) or slightly harried and oddly dressed (English professor at my university) or even the fine dusting of cat hair (hello, crazy cat lady).

Just ask'n.
Mar. 25th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
Best of luck. Have a ball. Dunno, perhaps squelching socks make for a good ice breaker. Keep us posted.
Mar. 25th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
I'm just the same way. Good job hanging in there until the ice was broken! I'm sure it will be fabulous :-)
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, good luck! I know what you mean ~ I'm shy, too, and crowds make me really, really anxious. And as much as I enjoy meeting new people, it's very difficult for me to make the first move.

I hope you have a wonderful time, though, and I hope you meet more friends!
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
I'm like Brimfire, so admire your tenacity. Have a good time and keep us posted.
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC)
You're actually doing really good! At least you know some people there. Maybe they can help you out a bit and introduce you to some new people?

Good luck, but most of all, have fun. :D
Mar. 25th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
I can relate. I'm incredibly shy, and crowds make me anxious. Finding friendly faces really does help...

Mar. 25th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
Good luck! I relate too.
Mar. 25th, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
I find it really hard to understand shyness, not being that way inclined myself, but recently, I've come across a lot of people who are and who have convinced me that it's out there and it's REAL!!! So, best of luck and if we ever meet... best of luck ;p
Mar. 25th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
I was a Navy brat growing up. We moved every two or three years, a few times more often, when I was really young. When you are always the new kid, it accentuates your natural tendencies. If you are inclined to be shy, it makes you painfully shy, and if you're inclined to be outgoing, it makes you boisterously extroverted-- the kind of person who talks to strangers in elevators. That's me and my siblings.

At the same time, like everyone else, I tend to take the path of least resistance. The first time I went to a writer's conference, I went with a friend, and I tended to go to workshops with her, and to sit with her at meals, just because she was there. The next time, when I went alone, I found I actually got more out of the conference because I didn't have that crutch of a built-in companion. I spoke to more people, made some new friends, and learned some things.

So, kudos to you for working on being shy-- not a bad thing, really, but it can be limiting. And do try to have some fun!
Mar. 25th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
Yay! Have fun! When I was a kid, people THOUGHT I was shy, when in fact, I was just quiet. (Yes, really. Don't be smarmy.) While I prefer to have someone I know around when in a new place, I don't have a problem making my own space in things. Like Peadar, I don't get it--but I do know that it exists! Good luck! Be your charming, intelligent, wonderful self and you'll be the belle of the ball.
Mar. 25th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
I identify completely. I'm horrible at social events. It's not that I don't like talking to people. Once I meet a small group (one person being even better), I'm okay after a while, but that whole experience of walking in, of trying to strike up conversation, of too many people around (I get overstimulated too quickly!), it would have me wandering the parking lot too. (Even at family parties, I have to go off by myself after awhile--usually to do dishes, alone, quietly.)

I'm so glad you found some comfortable people to talk with, and yes, I wish you luck this morning for more good talks!
Mar. 25th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC)
I'm actually quite confident in a convention setting for the most part, but almost every con, I do experience a short period of "oh my god, I'm not going to find anyone I know and I'm not going to have any fun!" that lasts for an hour or two. This especially happens on the few occasions I go to a con without my husband. I call him at home and express the sentiment above, and he laughs and tells me I do this every time and just go out and have fun.

And I do, every time. So you'd think I could get over having that short period of insecurity!

On another note, I finally remembered that word I always mistype: I type "survery" for "survey" every time. I have no idea why that extra "r" keeps wanting to jump in there.
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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