Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From Conventions to Confessions

As October's Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting is upon us, the foremost thought in my mind are writing conventions--or, in my case, horror conventions.

Now, our paths are as varied as the experiences that have brought us to the point we are today. Some of you may have attended many conventions and conferences, some may have tried either one of them, or maybe, like me, neither.

Invariably, we all have heard of what a great resource this events are for building confidence, work on our craft, develop our selling aptitudes, and networking. However, I'm convinced that like any other experience in our life, the more you do it, the better you know how to take advantage of it. So, here is what I propose: I'll tell you my story, my reason for haven't attended one of these events yet, and I'd love to read of your experiences. Good, bad, or your own reason for still haven't tried. My goal is to make of this little entry a well of do's and don't's that will enrich all of us, helping first-timers and veterans alike to take full advantage of the unique opportunities that conventions bring.

In my case, I've been trying to pull resources from everywhere to get myself into one of the many conventions my publisher attends, but alas, the cost of feeding a family and paying a mortgage proved too much to allow space for another career in this family, other that my husband's.

I don't have any more copies of my book to sell on my own, and I simply can't pay hotel and food for the whole family, even if it's only for two days. Any of you mothers and fathers reading this will know that the most modest road trip with two young kids can add up quickly. "Then go by yourself!" you say...well, that's where my real problem comes in: Fear.

I'm afraid I'll look like an idiot who doesn't know what to do, where to go, what to say, or where to stand; completely out of place. Who will I talk to or what about? You see, I'm a shy and insecure person though most of my family and friends would consider me outgoing and easy to make friends. And I am. I'm all of those things. I'm shy and awkward with people I don't know and have a horribly hard time making small talk or saying hi for the first time, but if you come to me and start talking, I'll engage in an easy conversation and might even end up making a new friend. Still, I wished I had a writer buddy close enough for us to attend together. You know, like a comfy blankie.

I keep reminding myself that as the year began, I made myself a promise that this year I would challenge my fears and move out of my comfort zone. And even though chances are slim, I will still make my biggest most honest effort--and savings--to attend AnthoCon in Portsmouth, NH, the last 2012 convention for PostMortem Press. Wish me luck!


Lynn Proctor said...

i do wish you luck if you want to attend--but don't worry too much that you may be shy or any other things that you may not like about yourself---all of our differences make us who we are---and hey--yes there were always literary groups, but i bet one can still make it out there without joining in the conventional way, if it is meant to be--happy writing :)

Gina said...

Thanks so much Lynn. A little encouragement goes a long way! And you're right about making it. My mom used to tell me: "A good parrot is green everywhere." I just have to remember that more often. =)

Lexa Cain said...

You should definitely go. And shy and awkward is refreshingly humble. I'm put off by slick, smiling charmers who don't come off as confident, just seem as though they're trying too hard.

If you go, please come back and blog about it and don't forget to take pics! :-)

Yolanda Renee said...

Most of us are there with you, shy, backwards, the wall flower.

Go, learn, enjoy and write about it!

Lauren said...

If you come in with a map in your hand, looking scared and confused, you'll fit right in. Latch onto another scared-and-confused and play together.

Take a can of pringles with you and offer them to total strangers. You don't have to say a word! :)

Gina said...

Thanks Lexa, it feels a little better to know others find my ways normal! ;) I most definitively will take tons of pics and share my experiences with you, as always.

Yolanda, I really love that expression: wallflower. What a poetic way to refer to what many consider a character flaw. I truly feel like one sometimes.

Lauren, you might be onto something with your Pringles idea! I must try it! XD

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'd go with you if I could. We'd struggle through our shyness together. My biggest obstacle has been money. I have saved enough, but invariably something breaks down a few weeks before I'm do to sign up and voila, monies spent. I attended a writer's retreat once and I'm here to say, GO! You'll meet like-minded people. You'll be happy to know most are as shy and insecure as you are. They just want to hang out with other writers like you do. Afterward when you get back home, you'll be laughing with your family over your prior trepidations. Why was I so worried? you'll be asking. Your family won't know either, they'll just be glad you're so rejuvenated and refreshed and raring to go.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Gina.

sjp said...

I always find the best way is to jump straight into it :)

Gina said...

Aw, thanks Joylenne! I wish you could go with me! I'm sure I'll think it was not that hard after I do it. Thanks for the encouragement.

SJP, I guess it is like getting in a cold swimming pool, if you jump is much easier that go down the ladder... XD Thanks!

Tia Bach said...

I went to my first writer's conference after I published my first book. I seem to do everything out of order. This post really spoke to me because I was terrified. What if they asked us to write something and share? What if they asked a question and I couldn't think of anything to say? I even had the "show up at school naked" the whole week leading up to the conference.

But I survived. Not only that, I left there really jazzed and feeling more like a writer than I had previously. Life has prevented me from going to another, but now I can't wait.

Wishing you a conference soon and many moments of feeling writerly while you are there.

Nicole said...

Good luck! I've attended a couple conferences this year, and people are always nervous at first but end up loving them!

Gina said...

Thanks so much Tia, your words make me feel much inclined to actually do it!

Thanks Nicole. I guess we all get the heebie jeebies, right?

Mrs. Jones said...

I know exactly how you feel. I too have two children and too many bills to be able to take my family to any writers conferences anywhere.

I actually have never gone to ANY kind of writers conference/convention at all, and since Im fairly new to all of this, I really never knew anything about these until recently, when I decided I MUST attend at least one.
Now I have to FIND some (or at least one) to attend, and then i MUST find some way to pay for it too!!

Oh the struggles of the writer!!

I wish you great luck though, I hope you CAN attend it and will be SUPER confident and land some amazing contacts for you to use in the future!!!

Gina said...

Thanks! I'm crossing my fingers for some miracle to land me the money I need for the conference, but I think I'll have to tough it out and attend by myself. Bringing kids six and seven to a horror convention just doesn't seem right...

Hope you get a chance to try an event soon!