Outside of My Comfort Zone

When I first started attending writing conferences, I didn’t know anyone.  I wasn’t very good at networking, and, I have to admit, I was very tentative about my work and my visions.  I tended to assess the situation before diving in.

Working my way through each conference, I learned how to talk about my work. And, listen to others talk about their works-in-progress.  I volunteer where/when I can, I go out of my way to meet and chat with authors and agents, and generally have a good time.

Like any social situation, a conference, book signing or chance encounter with authors can lead to unexpected connections. I connected with the women who make up my writing group (go Sarcastic Broads!), and met some wonderful authors.  These connections provide me with support and inspiration.

During the last James River Writers I volunteered to be a driver for the conference speakers.  I had the privilege of driving the talented Ms. Leona Wisoker, author of the ‘Children of the Desert’ series (a must read).  We had a blast that weekend and have kept in touch.  She’s funny, inspiring and talented.  Willing to talk about business and life.

I met the HUGELY funny David Henry Sterry and his wife Arielle Eckstut.  What a dynamic duo.  Enthusiastic, observant and full of knowledge.

I got a chance to chat with Michele Brower and Becca Stumpf, two literary agents who are willing to talk shop.

None of these connections would have happened if I wasn’t willing to step outside my comfort zone and see the world.

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7 comments

  • The only failure in life is the failure not to try……………….

    I feel ya Leila, I felt the same way at the conference last year.

    Cudos to you and everyone for not letting their own insecurities prevent them from pushing forward. This business can be very intimidating but in the end it is no different than any new unknown adventure. The hardest part is taking that leap of faith. Of course it doesn’t get any easier from there! 🙂

    • Exactly! The adventure is endless in our pursuit of a writing career.

  • Wow, I’ve been thinking of a post with a very similar title! But it would be about blogging and putting myself forward in this public way.

    Stepping out of that comfort zone is hard. The time is coming when I need to start going to conferences, and it is going to be one of the scariest things I ever do! But reading about experiences like yours makes me think I’ll be saying “Why didn’t I do this earlier?!”

  • Leila you’re awesome! Going to conferences is a lot of work. You took it to the next level with all your volunteering and helping out. How amazing that you made those cool connections. 🙂

    • Thank you, my friend. I enjoy the conferences. Though I tend to get overloaded in the information arena. 🙂

  • I think that attending a function like this and NOT interacting always feels like more of a failure than not going, so congrats for finding the courage to take those steps.

    • Thank you kind sir. My first couple of years, I was a bit of a wallflower. Now? I’m enjoying everything.

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