I’m going to share a secret about myself. I’m a little shy around people I don’t know. So the idea of getting out there and marketing my work face-to-face scares the crap out of me. I imagine myself at an empty book signing, fidgeting and running off to pee every ten minutes. Even worse, making chit chat at a conference! I’m not a networker. Schmoozing isn’t my thing. I’m more likely to put my foot in it than be brilliant.
Funny thing is, I haven’t always been so painfully shy. Back in the day, working in retail and hairdressing, I had no problems talking to people I didn’t know, sometimes for a couple of hours at a crack. But there was a difference. In those situations, I was performing some function, so I didn’t feel so self-conscious. I had a job to do. Chitchat was part of it.
Recently, I’ve been contemplating my membership in WRWA. (Wisconsin Regional Writers Association) I joined a few months ago for the express purpose of networking with other Wisconsin writers. I haven’t done much with my membership yet. I joined the online forum, but it’s new and is visited only sporadically. I eavesdrop on the daily conversation threads. I considered going to the spring conference, but it’s an unrealistic 7 hour drive from home. So I set my sights on the fall conference instead.
Fall. How many months away is that? And coincidentally, fall is when my annual membership expires. Needless to say, I’m not making the most of my membership.
Yesterday, the WRWA president sent out an email, asking for someone to serve as fall conference registrar. Right away, it seemed like a good idea. But--another little secret--I sometimes bite off more than I can chew, so I thought about it overnight and talked it over with my husband. After reflection, registrar didn’t seem like the right fit for a writer with a little kid and two writing groups to keep up with. It’s unrealistic to expect I can serve such an important role when I’ve never been to even one WRWA conference.
But, as I saw the email in my inbox, I couldn’t let it slide. I emailed Robin back before I could chicken out. I told him I wasn’t able to serve as registrar, but I’d like to help in some other way. He seemed pleased at my offer of help. He forwarded my message to other officers, who are currently figuring out where I might fit.
So I wait to hear what opportunities lay ahead. And I worry about feeling shy and awkward. But I’m a together chick with a lot of heart and an unwavering love of writing. I don’t know what’s ahead, but I’m excited to find out. I’m sure I’ll be glad I sent that email.
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