Out of the Zone: Doing Something That Scares You
After completing the writing of this post I decided to check out my favorite blogs to be sure I hadn’t missed anything. What I found was Sioux Roslawski in a dog costume. This is not to be missed, and that’s one of two reasons why, after reading Sioux’s post, I came back to my own post to add this paragraph. The second reason is because in the way of “collective mind” type stuff, my blog post mirrors hers in that our mutual focus this week concerns stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Of all the billions of topics we might have chosen, we each opted, individually, for the same one. I think it’s cool when stuff like that happens.
Also, I’m not sure which of us is channeling the other, but if I have to channel someone, I think she’s pretty cool. I’ve already warned the hubster that if I develop a sudden fondness for Crocs or come home with red hair, he might want to host an intervention. You just never know about these mind meld situations.
Anyway, here’s my regular post. 🙂
As you know, I’m a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and its Georgia chapter. The local chapter has monthly meetings that include workshops—always worthwhile—and an annual conference here in Atlanta in the fall. Since I’ve attended the national conference the last three years in a row, I haven’t participated in the Georgia Romance Writers gathering. That will change this year.
The December 2015 meeting workshop was presented by author Nicki Salcedo. She offered a lot of inspirational words and suggestions for the New Year, things like finding an accountability buddy to stay on task with one’s writing. But that’s for a different blog post. The one thing she said that lodged itself between my ribs, and the topic of today’s post, was this: Do things that scare you.
That’s a helluva thing to say to someone who couldn’t even read the first few chapters of The Shining. Just knowing it was going to scare me was enough, thank you. I don’t ride roller coasters either. Or go through haunted houses at Halloween. It isn’t the actual doing of the thing that scares me witless—it’s the waiting. My imagination is worse than anything that ever transpires. And besides that, I’m a happy-bunnies-and-cute-kittens kind of gal. “But you write Romance,” you say. “What’s scarier than that?”
Well, I’m going to tell you.
In the spirit of doing something scary, I submitted a workshop proposal for the aforementioned Georgia Romance Writers annual conference. That may not sound scary to you, but it is outside my comfort zone since I’ve not attended the conference before, haven’t seen the numbers of people present, and my imagination will run rampant between now and then over all the stuff I might flub up. But no sweat, right? Submitting was the scary part, and that doesn’t mean they’ll accept it. *wipes brow* Close call, that one. But now I can say I did my part, jumped into the do-something-scary end of the pool.
Except . . . they did accept it. And now I have to actually, you know, do it. Ruh-Roh.
Here’s the weird thing: Giving the workshop, talking in front of a group, doesn’t scare me in the slightest. I know from prior experience that once I get started yammering away—especially since I’m passionate about my subject—it’s all cool. But the months/weeks/days preceding the actual group facilitation? Like waiting in line to check into the Bates Motel. *hand to forehead* Do I have a fever? I think I have a fever. Or possibly food poisoning. Yeah, maybe it’s food poisoning because, you know, the old gullet isn’t feeling too great. I better not get out of bed. Do you think anyone will notice if I just stay home?
You get the drift.
So, now you know my deep, dark secret. The scariest part of things for me is the build-up. The long wait. The anticipation. Others thrive on it and say they’re “excited.” Forget that. I just want to curl up with a bottle of wine and a box of Godivas. Preparation will diffuse some of my
abject terror nerves, things like working on the handouts and presentation points, because, as mentioned above, I love my topic. And in spite of my horror discomfort, I am genuinely happy to offer the workshop and to be of help to other authors. That part isn’t scary, it’s exciting. But the waiting . . . gak!
I’m presenting in the capacity of my work as an editor, having run into a number of authors over the last months who hired the wrong type of editor under the misguided belief that all editors perform the same tasks. The problem was their misinformation about the different types of editors and who does what. So, I’m pleased to impart useful information. The workshop is titled: Which Witch is ‘Wich? Why You Need an Editor & Which Type to Hire. I wish the conference was tomorrow so I’d already have all the dreaded waiting out of the way and could focus on having fun with the workshop and attendees, but it isn’t until October. *sigh*
The point of all this, of course, is that stepping outside our comfort zone, deliberately doing things that scare us, is a way of stretching and growing, allowing us to learn and to meet a variety of different people. Sacrificing our stagnant comfort to the Altar of Fraidy-Cat also opens doors of opportunity, both to help and to be helped. Stepping through that door might bring disappointment, but even that is a learning experience, isn’t it? And more often than not, the things that scare us the most, the things we force ourselves to do, are the things that make us stronger or net the largest return, emotionally and circumstantially.
What scares you? When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone, and what were the results? Loaded question: Do you think I’m nuts because it’s the waiting that makes me crazy and not the actual doing? Are you that way too?
See you next week!
P.S. Help! Love Built to Last is only 11 reviews shy of the magical 50. If you’ve read the book and haven’t already done so, please post a review on Amazon. If you’d like to read and review, or know someone who would, let me know and I’ll forward the .pdf ARC to you in exchange for an honest review. Those reviews are crazy important, Buttercup! Please help me reach my goal of 50! Thanks. 🙂
In need of a professional editor? Please visit me at Ricard Writing & Editing for details regarding services and rates.