Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

It's not a big secret that my number one fear (aside from cockroaches) is public speaking. I hate it. Hate. It.

That's one of the reasons I thought being a writer would be a great fit for me. Writer's write. They sit alone in a corner with their little notebook computer and allow their fingers to do the talking.

As usual, I was wrong. I have received more invitations to speak in the past months since I "officially" became a published author than I ever thought I would.

For example, I was invited to speak on a panel with four romance authors as a part of the 2007 Louisiana Book Festival. Myself, along with authors Anita Bunkley, Barbara Colley, Hailey North, and moderator, Chere Coen, talked about the Ever Changing Story of Romance. For months I got a sick feeling in my stomach every time I thought about the panel discussion, but once the day finally came, things went well. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I managed to sound intelligent and not hyperventilate. That's a huge deal.

By the way, the festival was fabulous! I felt like a rock star, and must give major props to my personal escort, Olga. She was a doll.

Here I am with Dafina author, Anita Bunkley.

Just this past Saturday, I had yet another opportunity to conquer this public speaking demon. I was the featured guest speaker at my local Romance Writers of America chapter meeting where I spoke on, what else, blogging?

I was a basket case on my drive to the meeting. Sure, I'd just spoken before a room full of people at the LA Book Festival, but there were three other authors sharing in the Q&A duties. In all honesty, I pretty much just nodded my head and smiled at the festival. This time, it was just me. By myself. Speaking for an entire hour! Talk about beyond nerve-wracking!

Amazingly, once I got started I realized it wasn't so bad. Okay, it was still bad, but halfway through I decided I could make it without losing my breakfast.

Does this mean I'm starting to enjoy public speaking? Not by a long shot. But, I do believe I'm getting better at it.

So, what would "stepping out of your comfort zone" be for you?