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September 15th, 2009

Topic Tuesday

Let's discuss . . .

. . . Conferences.

I will be attending the SCBWIAZ Welcome to Our House conference on September 26th (In Scottsdale, Arizona). I realize this isn't a huge conference like the Summer or Winter SCBWI events, but dang it, it's the first conference I've ever been to (because it is the first conference I could afford) and I'm nervous.

Okay, technically I'm terrified!

What's there to be afraid of? Let's see . . .

People will be there

People I don't know

People who might talk to me

People who will expect me to talk back

When I'm nervous I babble

When I'm nervous I babble

When I'm nervous I babble

Seriously, It's like some horrible magic spell comes over me and my mouth won't close and my voice goes on and on and on and I see people looking around to escape and and though in my mind I'm screaming, "Shut up! Just shut up!" . . . I can't stop.

Now, there is a solution to this little problem, and I've employed this defense mechanism often. I don't talk to people and if I'm asked a question, I answer with one word comments. However, this makes people think I'm stuck up . . . which I'm not. I'm just nervous and shy and don't want the magic mouth to get me in trouble. ;-)

When I attended the ANWA retreat back in July, I was pretty quiet for the first little while until I felt comfortable enough with those around me to speak . . . and it helped that I knew one of the people in attendance (she introduced me to people and drew me out of defense mode). Still, the retreat was three days long and I wasn't really comfortable until the final day . . . even then, there were only a couple of people I talked to (and some of them I babbled to who probably thought I was an idiot). *sigh*

That was a retreat with only fellow authors in attendance. This is a conference type setting where agent/editor people will attend and it's only a one day event.

Yeah . . . I'm on the verge of a panic attack and the conference is over a week away . . . not a good sign.

I feel like I'm going to a brand new school in a new town. What if people don't like me? What if I wear the wrong thing? What if . . .?

I'm sure you're wondering what you can do to help . . . and if you're not, what kind of friend are you anyway? Can't you see I'm distressed here? ;-)

One thing has helped me in the past. The more I know, the more prepared I am, the calmer I am. When I'm calm, I'm better I am able to control my magic mouth.

Soooooo . . . I want you to tell me about your first conference experiences. Were you terrified? Nervous? What was your conference experience like?

What should I expect? Do people take laptops or paper and pencil/pen for note taking? What advice or items did you find helpful?

 

Write on.