Thursday, November 19, 2009

Finding Your Voice

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.

21 comments:

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I'm proud of you! It's scary to come out and tell people you write, talk about writing, and let them read your work--especially in person. I'm glad that was such a good experience for you and I pray it leads to some great writing relationships!

Mim said...

Wow! You were so brave. I must say that I probably would not have gone back. I've gone to a few writing events put on in the area, but I've always hung towards the back and not pushed myself to speak.

Networking is so important. Good job!

Dara said...

I'm the same way. I get really nervous speaking in front of people...especially if it's about my writing.

Renee Collins said...

I don't mind talking in public, but like Dara, I get super shy when it comes to talking about my own writing.

Way to go!

Carolyn V. said...

Have awesome that you did it! Yay! I struggle with that too. Especially if I am doing by myself without some there to lean on. Good job. =)

Susan R. Mills said...

That's great! Good for you. It is hard to talk to people face to face. Even today, I had lunch with my mom and she started asking me questions about my writing, and I stuttered around. Yes, even with my mother!

Patti said...

Kristen: It's definitely getting easier and maybe that's because I'm more confident about the book.

Mim: Push yourself to do it.

Dara: I absolutely hate talking in front of people I don't know, no problem with people who I'm comfortable around.

Renee: It's hard to admit your a writer unless you have some publishing credentials. At least that's how I am.

Carolyn: Support is awesome, unfortunately the majority of my support comes from you guys.

Susan: Sometimes family are the most intimidating.

strugglingwriter said...

That's awesome! I was very nervous the first time I went to the local writer's meeting and also my first critique group meeting.

Heather Sunseri said...

Good for you, Patti! Did you meet anyone interesting in the group? I think it would be cool to know a fellow writer/blogger/writer friend face-to-face.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Good for you! With this whole NaNo thing there are lots of "write-ins" where writers meet up at local coffee houses and bookstores, but I haven't got up enough courage to go to one yet. Kudos my friend. :)

Jessie Oliveros said...

Way to come out! I am usually pretty shy when it comes to talking about my book, too. I liked the detail about cups full of cheezies. You are truly a writer.

Paul said...

Good for you for putting yourself out there. That must have felt good!

Amber Lynae said...

You are very right that it is hard to gather up the courage to speak up. Congrats and conquering that hurdle. It sounds like it felt amazing.

Heidi Willis said...

How brave! I would have kept walking, I think. Or not gone at all.

But you... I'm beyond impressed.

Maybe some really great relationships will come out of this, too.

Tabitha Bird said...

Good for you! That is very brave :)

Weston Elliott said...

Kudos for going! I'm with some of the others, I wouldn't have bothered if they didn't care enough to even list the time.

I'm one of those who can talk anyone's ear off if the subject matter is something I really believe in or feel strongly about. Unfortunately, my writing is not at the top of that list. It's climbing the charts, though, and it does get easier.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm impressed - I like to think I would be brave like that, but I'm not so sure. :) That's how we get the word out, though. Good job!
www.shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com

jenniferneri said...

Good for you Patti! I remember the first time attended a meeting of such, it was so hard to get talking. It is difficult to make the transition from writing in solitude, but sounds your there - blogging, critique group, and this meeting! Must feel great!

lotusgirl said...

That's great, Patti! Way to come out of the closet! I can't wait to read your stuff.

Carla Gade said...

Good for you! I find blogging a way for me to build my courage in sharing my writing. Doing it in person is another deal. But once I joined a writing group that was so wonderful!

Terri Tiffany said...

Good for you for following through! I would have been too scared!!
Thank you for stopping by my blog. I always love to meet new writers since after all, we are in this together.