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?