Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Facing Fears

On Friday morning I'm going to New York for the SCBWI winter conference. I'll get up, pack the last few things, drive out to the airport and fly ALONE all the way across the United States. When I get to New York I'm going to have to find my way from the airport to the hotel ALL BY MYSELF. Then I'm going to spend the entire weekend with three girls who I email daily, but I've NEVER MET IN REAL LIFE.

I'm a little nervous. Can you tell?

I haven't ever done anything like this. I always travel with someone. I don't think I've ever been on an airplane without my mom or my husband. I've never been to a writing conference. And I've never been all by myself in New York City.

But, I know it's going to be good for me.

If you are writing and planning to pursue publication you've probably done, or will have to do, a lot of scary things. These are just a few:
--Writing, rewriting, and rewriting a book
--Letting someone else read your writing
--Joining a critique group
--Listening to your critique group
--Querying agents
--Getting rejected
--Getting manuscript requests
--Having to talk to agents on the phone

And that's just the beginning. It's quite an adventure.

Every new step has been a little scary for me. I've had to put myself out there, and I never know if other people are going to love or hate (or worse, be indifferent to) what I write. But, it's been a great experience so far. Sometimes the only way to progress is to push ourselves to the next level and do something that scares us.

Do you get scared sometimes too? Is there a step on the road to publication (or after publication) that makes you nervous? Are you going to do it anyway?

40 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

Oh, yeah!!

The first time I offered up my stuff for crit & the first time I offered a crit on someone else's work both terrified the pants off me! I'm getting better, but each new step is scary!

You're going to have SUCH a good time! I'm jealous :)

Paul Greci said...

Great post, Natalie!! My book is on submission right now and I am nervous that it won't sell and I am nervous that it will sell.

It's been a great adventure so far and I remember feeling nervous at all the points you mentioned above. I was nervous, but at the same time very excited. You are right. We need to push ourselves, get out of our comfort zones. It sounds like you are taking a big step this weekend. I think that's great and can't wait to hear about your experiences. You'll have a ball, and if you're a little nervous or scared sometimes, just remember that it's a very natural and normal feeling to have when you are doing something new. (When I was teaching I got nervous at the start of each school year even though I'd been teaching for years.)

If you didn't feel that way at least a little bit it might not even be as fun or exciting. I'm rambling now. Have a great time!!

Vonna said...

By far the scariest thing I've ever done of my own free will was letting people read my first novel. I decided I might as well jump in the deep end, so I handed it out to my book club: seventeen readers all at once. I thought I would die.

VR Barkowski said...

Just the word self-promotion terrifies me. And each time I send out a query? I worry about what I'll say if the agent calls and offers representation. Will I stammer and blather so much they'll change their mind? It's hard not to be afraid of the unknown, even when we're doing or getting something we want.

But never fear. You are going to have an absolutely magnificent time at SCBWI, Natalie. I'm so excited for you!

Shelby said...

oh it'll be SUCH an adventure!! I'm so jealous!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I don't think it's possible to be a writer and NOT be afraid at times. Enjoy your trip, Natalie. :-)

destrella said...

So excited for you..... some day that will be me...... gulp! :O)

Julie said...

I share your fears! I've never flown or traveled anywhere by myself. It's something I want to learn to do.
Letting people read my stuff has been a huge leap for me...and you guys are the only ones who've read any of my fiction! And that's just snippets, from the blogfests.
Soon, though, soon. :)
Have fun in New York! It will be liberating, I'm sure.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

You'll be fine! Don't worry and come find me and the First Novels Club Girls...we'll be carrying totebags!

Aubrie said...

Good luck! I know you'll have a good time. :) You can do it!

Tamika: said...

I'm going to my first critique group next week! Eek! But I'm ready to go all the way!

I'm sure you are going to have the time of your life. Before you blink you will enveloped with people that share your interests. Laughing, talking, writing in a frenzy of fun!

L.T. Elliot said...

It is scary but you're doing so splendidly. Have a WONDERFUL time in NYC and at SCBWI. You'll get along great with your crit gals so don't worry. As for me, I may be terrified but I don't ever want to back out!

Susan R. Mills said...

I think fear and excitement are the same thing in these instances. They both give you energy. I hope all goes well, and I have to say that I'm a bit jealous. Enjoy the conference.

Mary Campbell said...

I've been to a few writer's conferences, but they were in my own state. Traveling to New York City all by myself would be scary. I know you can do it though. You'll be with friends. Good luck.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'm going to be querying in a month and I'm petrified. PETRIFIED.

I never do things that I could get rejected for- I'm a play it safe kind of girl. So this is big. Really big.

But I know it will be good for me!

Thomas Taylor said...

The very remote possibility of having to do public speaking. Shudder*

Have fun!

Tabitha Bird said...

I get scared all the time. I like standing on the edge of my dreams. It also freaks me out!

I travelled all over the world without my husband.We lived in Hong Kong at the time and he couldn't get away on many holidays, so I went without him. Sometimes I went with friends, sometimes alone. Here's what I discovered: traveling alone and with some one both have there advantages and disadvantages. The upside of being alone is you can go anywhere you fancy and feel free to get completely off track! Obviously company is nice too.

And don't worry. As long as you don't plan on running through central park at 2am by yourself I am sure you will be fine. I have found most people to be very friendly when you ask for help. So ask heaps. I loved NY. Let me know if you ever head this way LOL! I want let you get too lost :)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I'm heading to two conferences this year and that is new for me. I have a freakish thing inside that rises to fear. I'm grateful for it.
~ Wendy

Hardygirl said...

I am so "nervous Nellie", but SCBWI Conferences are really fun. And, you get to be with people who are doing the same things that you are doing--so there's LOTS to talk about.

Enjoy!!!!

And, get in the regular taxi line (for a yellow cab) at the airport baggage claim.

sf

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh yeah, I am a big scaredy cat. But you will have a blast because you will find a lot of kind writers out there to friend you!
Enjoy!!

Voidwalker said...

I think the one thing that would have me shaking in my boots would be success. I'm sure I'd know what to do if I was rejected....same thing as always, keep writing. IF I were to get published, I have no idea what I'd do then... now that's a bit nerve wracking for me. :P

V. S said...

So exciting!!! Good luck!!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I definitely get nervous. Here's to a life-changing weekend!

Linda Kage said...

I'd be way nervous if I were you. But all the way throgh NYC only to meet people you've never face-to-face met before? WOW. I'm in awe.

But you're right about the writing stuff. I've done all but one of those and each step is quite intimidating.

You'll do fine!

Jessie Oliveros said...

Wow, what an adventure. I hardly do things alone, too, so I feel for you. I guess I sometimes think ahead (REALLY ahead) to if I was published, could I travel? I don't think I could give a lot of time to that. I mean, I think I could, but I don't think I'd want to be away from my family very much. So I guess THAT makes me nervous.

Elana Johnson said...

All of those things are scary. I don't think I've ever traveled anywhere by myself either.

I'm waiting for the next stage of scary: submissions. *shudders* I'm already having nightmares.

B.J. Anderson said...

Awesome post, and yes, I have been scared by those things before. I remember my first airplane ride alone and it was terrifying, but so liberating. I thought, I can really do this, ALL BY MYSELF. You will do fantastic. I can't wait to hear how it all went.

Amy Tate said...

Oh my goodness this brings back the sweetest memories of last year! Natalie, when I flew in it was crystal clear and the Statue of Liberty waved at me. I was scared too, but in a good way. I had never stayed at the Hyatt before either. Warning...there are eleven elevators in the lobby! It took me forever to find my room. Once I got in the elevator, I started watching CNN. (Yes, I'm from hick town and we don't have CNN in elevators...we have only ONE stoplight.) I got so caught up in the story that I forgot to get off on my floor. Be sure and order yourself room service at least one night. It was so fun to not have to cook! After the first night of the conference, I put my jammies on and ordered room service. Then I climbed into the window seat and watched the taxi cabs below. There must have been 70 or more. I was so high up that I couldn't see the sky - only the tops of the buildings. Soak up every minute. You will have the time of your life, girl!

Melissa said...

I'm scared of being a failure at writing, but I'm also scared of being successful, if that makes sense. But this has been my dream since I was in middle school, so I'm going to stay in for the long haul.

Have fun in New York! I really wish I could go too...maybe next year:)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Yes, but we will be waiting with bells on at the hotel for you to arrive! :)
I was terrified yesterday when I sent 60 pages of my WIP to be read by a VIP writer. (cough-cough). Facing fears makes you stronger.
And NYC will be a blast! :)

staceyjwarner said...

ah Natalie...you are a adorable! I love that you have never flown by yourself. Just think how much this will enrich your writing!

I'm not sure what my fears are in regards to publishing...I see it as one big adventure.

much love

Patti said...

I get scared all the time.

Once I had to fly to Paris all by myself and find my hotel and spend the whole day alone while my husband took a later flight. Scared the heck out of me, but once I was there it was exciting and I was proud of myself for doing it.

Erica said...

Oh for sure, all of it is scary and new, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I crave change yet I'm scared of it - it's a strange combo...

I guess I learned at an early age about trying new stuff. I flew on my own from MI to CA when I was 7 years old. It was a straight flight, but I was alone. You can't progress without change!

Have a wonderful and safe trip. Yay, can't wait to hear all about it ;o)

Jessica said...

I feel nervous every time I have to query/check status with agents/editors. As in sick to my stomach, hands clammy nervous.
Aren't you meeting up with Karen and Megan R? I've never really e-mailed with them, but I did meet them in person and they were SO nice and easy to be around. It'll be even better for you since you have a cyber relationship with them.
:-)
Have an awesome time!!!

Kelly Lyman said...

You are going to have an awesome time!!!! I can't wait to hear all about it. Good for you to take charge and do something a little scary- it's good to do that every once in a while- we always learn something about ourselves when we do! (I need to take this advice myself...).
Have a great time! And, if you get lost...there are police on every corner who you can ask for directions ;)

Kristin said...

Natalie, I have an award for you at my blog! Great post about facing fears.

Jen said...

I'm happy I stopped by to follow you!!!

First off - Yay for firsts! I'm sure you'll do fantastic flying, getting to the hotel, and going to the writing conference! GO YOU!!!!

Great post about facing fears head on!

Lisa and Laura said...

SO JEALOUS! You've got to hook up with the FNC gals. There are going to be so many fun people at this conference. You are going to love it! We want a full report so we can live vicariously through you.

Shelli said...

dont worry - you are going to love and meet wonderful people. Plus your so adorable - who wouldn't love you! have fun!

Diana Paz said...

Wow, good luck! You are awesome for being so brave, and I bet you're going to find out you had nothing to worry about :)

I can't wait for when you post about everything you did and learned (also jealous!!!)