Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG: Be Brave

 
It's the first Wednesday of the month, so you know what that means ... it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting. IWSG was created by the awesome ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can find out the other members of the group here.

On Friday and Saturday, I attended the 2013 Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. This year the conference was special to me because I was on my first panel. My panel was about blogging. Sounds easy, right? I blog all the time, so I know what I'm talking about. There was only one problem.

I'm shy and have social anxiety issues. Okay, maybe that's two problems.

By Friday afternoon, I was nervous and wondering why I said "yes" in the first place. But I went to the conference that night and got my presenter name badge and typewriter charm gift. Well, that was pretty cool. I put on my badge and instantly started searching for someone I knew. I found a few people, and I even talked with people I didn't really know. It wasn't bad. There is something about having a presenter badge that makes it a bit easier to talk to people. Perhaps it is the fact that they see you as someone with experience, so it helped me have some confidence I didn't have going into the conference.

So far, so good. Friday night went well, and I wasn't too nervous about Saturday and my panel (last panel of the day).

I arrived Saturday and found more people to talk to. The classes were awesome (I'm going to talk more about them tomorrow). I was still a little nervous, but having that presenter's badge helped. I even sat at the cool kids' table at lunch, or what I thought of as the cool kids' table.

But by the end of lunch, the nerves were attacking me. I had a bad headache by the time I walked back to where they were having the classes. Instead of attending the next class, I took some Ibuprofen and had some quiet time. I read emails and some blog posts. By the time we were supposed to head to the next class, my headache was gone. Phew!

I had two more classes and then it was my blogging panel. Everything went smoothly. Then, it was time for my panel. I could do this, right?

I walked with confidence to the table where the four other people on the blog panel sat. Our moderator stood at the podium. I sat down and somehow being on that small stage made my acting training kick in. I positioned myself in a relaxed pose, or what I hoped looked like one.

Then, we started and I could barely hear the question or answers over the roar of the blood running in my ears. My heart pounded so hard when they got to me (I was fourth to answer the questions). I almost forgot the question a time or two. But I think I sounded coherent.

At the end, a few people came up to me, and I gave them my business card.

Was it scary? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes!

Wait, did I just say "yes" again? Yep, I guess so. So despite my insecurities, I found the courage to be brave. So if you ever have a chance to be on a panel, take a deep breath and say "yes." You won't regret it.

What are your insecurities?

33 comments:

Rachna Chhabria said...

Cherie, like me you too have anxiety issues. I am happy that it went well for you.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Way to Go Cherie!!! You did it!!! You are strong and courageous and that's awesome! (BTW I wasn't sure anyone else got that lack of hearing due to blood pounding in the ears kind of nervousness - so thanks for sharing)

mshatch said...

I would've been nervous, too. Yay you for overcoming your fear!

M.J. Fifield said...

I'm so glad to hear it went well. The idea of doing something like that scares me to no end, but if I had had the opportunity, I'd probably say yes. It is important to do the things that scare us.

Callie Leuck said...

That does sound scary - but fun!

farawayeyes said...

Interesting how different we all are. Public speaking and interacting with people really is not one of my fears, but putting my writing out in the world for scrutiny IS.

Candilynn Fite said...

A big WOW to you facing your fear! I bet you were amazing. Just think, you were asked to be on the panel. Not many of us have had such a fabulous opportunity. :)

I'm the weird sort who loves public speaking, especially if it's about something I love. Now, put me in a room of folks I don't know, and tell me I have to walk around and mingle...you'll find me in the corner, observing the room. Mingling with strangers, there's my insecurity.

Way to go, Cherie!

Camille Picott said...

Congrats on successfully facing your fear! I totally know the "blood roaring in ears" syndrome. I've also experienced the "I'm so nervous I gasp for air when I speak" syndrone. :) But you're right, they are great experiences, and the only way to get better is to keep doing them.

Gwen Gardner said...

I have anxiety issues, too, Cherie. You were so brave to get up there and do it anyway. Like they say, "Feel the fear, and do it anyway." Yeah - I know a lot about that.

Al Diaz said...

Dragon is so very proud of you, Cherie. I do admire people who face their fears and conquer them. It feels good, doesn't it?

E.J. Wesley said...

Really proud of you for facing down a couple of your fears Cherie! I used to be terrified of public speaking, and really overcame it when I stopped thinking about it as talking to strangers.

Now, I approach it as if I'm talking to good friends coming to me with a problem. A problem I'm able to help them with, and dearly want to do so. I'm a naturally helpful person, meaning I enjoy doing for others, so this did the trick.

A friend with a problem I can help with isn't going to care if I stutter, or lose my train of thought. They're going to listen and appreciate that I'm trying to help them.

Looking forward to hearing more about your classes!

nutschell said...

congrats! speaking in public can be terrifying at first, but once you get warmed up, it's totally fine. Congrats on slaying your first panel!

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Heather Holden said...

I'm shy and socially anxious, too. Glad to hear this panel didn't end up being totally mortifying for you, despite these traits, even if it did have its nerve-racking moments!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

But you'd do it again - that's awesome!!
Don't worry, public speaking isn't my gig either.

Nicole said...

Way to kick that anxiety and enjoy the experience!!

Jai said...

Congrats on being brave!! I am looking forward to hearing about the classes.

Julie Flanders said...

I was so excited for you just reading this! I would have been having the exact same anxious reactions and I'm not sure if I would have overcome them. Kudos to you for being so brave, awesome story. Yay! :)

Patricia Lynne said...

Oh, you are brave. I'm not sure I could do that. I have trouble talking to people online. Although, once I get over that initial scary hump, I have an easier time doing something.

Elise Fallson said...

I am so glad you went through with it Cherie! Awesome. Doing a Q and A format is not easy and I think it's more difficult than just presenting a topic. Answering questions in front of large groups of people is so nerve racking, partly because it's not easily prepared, unless you've been doing it for a while. But you did it and I'm sure you were great! Can't wait to hear about the classes. (:

M Pax said...

Cherie, you're so knowledgeable, I'm sure everyone was dying to talk to you. :) I'm glad you got through it all successfully. Next time will be easier right?

I share in your anxieties, but the more I do something the more comfortable I get with it. I even like public speaking now.

Cathy Keaton said...

You ARE brave, Cherie! I've always hated public speaking like The Plague, although I used to be able to make myself do it when I was younger when I had to. I can't even do that anymore. I'm worse in my old age!

Congrats for facing your fear and meeting it with grace and dignity. I wish I could do the same, but sadly, I'm a too big of a chicken.

Allison said...

Well done! I would be a nervous wreck too... I hate speaking in front of large groups of people. Even small groups of people.

Allison (Geek Banter)

sjp said...

Congrats! I love jumping into possibly terrifying social situations and just winging it :)

Michelle said...

YAY!! well done! I've just enrolled in an 8 week speaking class ... ikes! time for me to get better at it.
xx

DL Hammons said...

Even though I'm introverted and shy, I know I could do that. If I'm talking about a subject I'm 100% voiced in, and a topic I love, it wouldn't matter who or how many we're in the audience..

Good for you for fighting through that! :)

Trisha F said...

I would have freaked too. I had to do a presentation for work recently and yeah, totally freaked.

Rachel Morgan said...

Wow, well done! I would have been completely terrified too! But, like you, I also would have said yes to doing it, because it sounds like it was a great opportunity :-)

Clarissa Draper said...

I would be so nervous. Social situations are not my forte. I'm glad it went well and can't wait to hear more about the conference.

Arlee Bird said...

Congratulations for passing the trial by fire experience. Glad you didn't get burned by it and are ready to face future opportunities with more confidence.

Lee
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog
Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Denise Covey said...

Good for you Cherie. Who wouldn't have anxiety in that situation? Erk!

Lexa Cain said...

Congrats on being on a panel and getting over your fear! I'm sure you did a great job, and it's always good to increase your visibility. :-)

J.L. Campbell said...

Like you, I'm not much for being 'on stage' so to speak. You got through that okay, so bully for you!

J.C. Martin said...

It's funny, I won't bat an eyelid if I had to stand in front of a class of kids to demonstrate/teach a Science experiment, or if I had to instruct a group of students in kung fu. But the thought of any other form of public speaking petrifies me! Had stage fright at mt book reading at the local library, but after the first few shaky minutes I got well into it--even enjoyed answering the audience questions! Hopefully it'll be the same on my (first ever!) panels at Crimefest this year.