I live in a small town of about 13,000 people. Okay, maybe it’s not that small, but it’s still just 13,000 people. We have all the conveniences of a big city; grocery store, movie theatre, hockey arenas, soccer turfs, swimming pool, bowling etc. We also have a great library that really tries to help new writers. For two years they’ve had writers-in-residence programs, and they also have guest author nights. In the past, when I’ve gone to those events, I’ve sat in the back and just absorbed the information. I didn’t tell anyone I who I was, what I wrote, or that I was even a writer.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw an ad in our local paper advertising an “Aspiring Author Night”, it was geared toward those who have an interest in writing and wanted to get together to discuss books, writing, networking, whatever. I cut the ad out, sent an email saying I would be interested and waited until the second Thursday in the month.
The day came and I realized I had no idea what time the meeting started. I emailed the contact name, but she didn’t get back to me. I looked at the ad again, but no time was mentioned. It had been a busy week and I really didn’t feel like going, but after my husband’s urging, decided to go at 7:30. I walked into the coffee shop and there were two different groups sitting on opposite sides of the store. One group was looking at art, so I continued on and went past the other group. I recognized one lady as the owner of the book store, this was the group. Seven people sat around three small tables, plastic cups filled with an assortment of chips, pretzels and cheezies sat on each table, and I didn’t know anyone. I kept walking by.
I went to the back of the shop and took a deep breath. Then I decided this was my chance to find my voice, to see if I had it in me to discuss my book with confidence. So I sat down introduced myself, said what I wrote and that I had finished my book and was now in the final stages of editing. They asked questions. I responded with clear concise answers, and actually had everyone’s full attention. I told them about my blog, about networking, and what I’d learned about being published. I actually felt knowledgeable.
It’s so easy to communicate on my blog. I can think about what I want to say, write it down, edit it, but when it comes to speaking to a group of people, the palms start to sweat.
I am getting better at it, and like with anything, practice will only make it easier.