Just returned from the NCWN Fall Conference.
It was my first conference and I didn't set too many objectives for myself but I did set a few and (I'm happy to say!) that I met them all!
Objective 1: Introduce myself to five people.
Objective 2: Ask five people about what they are writing.
Objective 3: Read aloud from something that I've written.
Now, I'm kinda shy so #s 1 & 2 were intimidating.
Objective #3 was terrifying. I was signed up for a session on short story writing and the instructor asked everyone to bring a first page to discuss during the class. Now - while I have no problem sharing my essays and non-fiction writing with the general public - I've always kept my fiction writing private. But, I had a first page that I felt reasonably confident about so I printed it off and tucked it into my portfolio - just in case I felt brave enough to raise my hand.
Brave is a relative term, mind.
I volunteered. I never volunteer. My hand was shaking so hard that I could barely hold the microphone but I managed to get through the passage without rushing and my voice only cracked a couple of times. I actually found it easier when I imagined that I was simply reading an excerpt from someone else's story!
The passage was well-received and the discussion about it was extremely helpful. I had already been taking copious notes during the session but it was helped me tremendously to have specific feedback on something of my own.
Later that afternoon, another writer approached me and wanted to discuss what I had written!
I was over the freakin' moon!
One of my Mom's best friends is a writer. C was surprised to learn that I was attending the conference because she didn't know that I wrote.
C: "How long has J been writing?"
Mom: "I don't know. Since High School, I guess."
C: "What kind of stuff does she write?"
Mom: "I don't know. I've never read anything she's written."
I told you... I'm kinda shy.