Step out of your comfort zone

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As I stated in Tuesday’s post, I spent last weekend at a writer‘s workshop on the lovely Georgian Court campus. It was three days of panels, workshops, discussions, tours and networking. Although I came home with a raging headache and feeling completely depleted (who knew sitting on your ass could be so tiring?), I’m very happy I went and had the experience. It was informative, interesting and I made new friends! Who doesn’t need new friends? Even Mark Zuckerberg still accepts new friends (okay…I just looked, he actually only takes subscriptions, but you get what I’m saying!).

Here’s the deal though: I almost didn’t go. In fact, I didn’t register until less than a week before the start of the workshop.

I find, the older I get, the harder a time I have with meeting and interacting with new people. It’s especially bad when there are groups of people there that already know each other. I feel if I jump in on a conversation, people will look at me weird like “who asked you?”  I’m better than I used to be, but I’m really pretty shy until I get to know someone and as a writer, I’m very much an observer and am quite content to sit alone and watch what’s going on around me. Some people see that kind of behavior and feel sorry for me, but don’t. Where do you think I get a lot of my scenes and dialog from?

Anyway, my mom was the one who got the email from GCU about the workshop and she forwarded it to me with a little note “if you want to attend, we’ll treat you as a birthday gift”. Which was awesome of them, but stripped me of a possible excuse not to go.  I told her I’d think about it but wanted to ask a couple of guys in my writing group if they would be interested in going. I contacted my two friends thinking safety in numbers! At least I’d have someone to talk to. Sadly, neither could make it. There went that idea. I debated it, worried about sharing my work with professionals and people who probably have been writing for far longer than me. I worried if they found out I was self-published that they’d look down on me and make assumptions about the quality of my work.  I worried I’d look like the sorry loser in the corner who was too shy to join in.

After staring at the registration page, I finally typed in all my information and hovered my mouse pointer over the “register” button. I clicked it before I could talk myself out of it again. I got confirmation and it was a done deal. No turning back allowed.

When Friday came, I was nervous, but surprised that I was calmer than I had expected. People were friendly and there were all different levels of writers there, including those who haven’t even started a project yet and were just curious. I found it easy to share  work with my peers, although I admit I was nervous one of the panel would tell me perhaps to pursue a different career…(okay, I know my writing isn’t awful and they were all very nice and encouraging, but those are the kinds of scary scenarios that were going through my head).

I left the weekend with a lot of information and feedback, some goodies included signed books and fliers for local groups. I made friends with a group of women who are working on YA and Chick Lit novels and we are going to work on forming our own little group. I would have missed out on some great people and advice on my work if I didn’t take the chance and step outside of my comfort zone.

Sometimes you have to be willing to take risks to better yourself. Even if it doesn’t work out the way you planned, at least you won’t be sitting around wondering “what if”.

Have you taken the chance and attended a workshop or a writer’s group?

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6 responses »

  1. I’m so glad that you decided to go! I made new friends, too–and I’m really looking forward to getting together and WRITING on Saturday. (Sorry about your headache, though.)

    • I’m used to headaches, so no worries :D

      I’m excited to get together on Saturday too! I’ve got a couple of things I’m working on and I also travel with a surge protector so as long as I can snag one outlet, we will have room to plug everyone in! :)

      • and we can always use our blood for ink….or ya know..be a bit more sanitary and use coffee grinds or something :P

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