The National Romance Writers of America conference is the last week of June in New York. It is happening right now. As I write this, I still have five days to go before the big event. Which translates into semi-panic mode: what to bring, what to wear . . . what will happen?
This is the time – for me – when several of those little demons start to raise their heads. I know that I’m not alone in this. Like many writers, I tend to view myself as an introvert. I am a bit shy and it is not easy for me to introduce myself or start up a conversation with a total stranger.
It’s a conference. A big one. So there will be a lot of networking and socializing taking place. There will be agents, editors and New York Times best-selling authors. I am currently unpublished. That brings up another fear – what if I’m not good enough?
I have two writing personas inside of me. I named them. Desiree is my diva. She is awesome, fun and daring. Mildred is my inner critic. She is uncertain, highly critical and an absolute killjoy.
As writers we can be our own worst critic. We can sabotage ourselves in seconds flat. When my fear or lack of confidence starts showing a little leg, I have a question that I like to ask myself. When I’m eighty and I look back at my life, how am I going to feel? Did I go for it? Or did I let my fear and Mildred take control?
I am going to be published. Hopefully sooner than later.
So, in New York I am going to bring my business cards and say “Hi”, introduce myself and ask what they write. That person will more than likely ask what I write and . . . bam, I’ve done it. I’ve had a conversation with a stranger. I can do that.
When Mildred begins to whisper, I’m sending her to her room. There are lots of unpublished authors at this conference. We are all there to learn and network and find that magical opening. I am not alone. I plan to remind myself of that often. I will carry a little card and pull it out if I have to.
By the time I’m eighty I plan to throw myself a big party. Desiree will be my co-host. I have no doubts that I will have numerous discussions with Mildred between now and then. I will probably find various different coping mechanisms with her along the way, but I’m not going to let her win. Or allow fear to hold me back.
This is my plan and I’m sticking to it.