Friday, October 1, 2010

comfort zone

So tomorrow I'm going to the Minnesota conference for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in St. first ever conference for writing, and I'm nervous!

I'm excited about listening to the speakers and learning about writing craft and the publishing process, and I'm very excited to meet more writers from Minnesota who are on the same path as I am.

But I'm nervous, too--mostly I think because this will be the first time I'm officially going somewhere as a writer.  Like, if I introduce myself to someone, I will be telling them that I write books for young adults--this is what I do.  This is real.  And that's kind of a step outside my comfort zone, to be honest.

Being an aspiring writer is walking a very fine line between being hopeful and being delusional, it seems to me.  So although I may talk about my writing with people who know me and know I write, there's always that measure of uncertainty when talking to new acquaintances.  What does it mean when you tell someone you're a writer?  What are they thinking when they nod and smile?  Is that bemusement in their eyes?  How long will you get into the conversation before they ask what books you've written, where they can buy them, how their uncle wrote a book and self-published and have you thought about going that route instead, since it seems like you've been working at the traditional publication route an awfully long time...

Even after getting an agent, even after selling my book, it still seems like a dream that might disappear if I breathe on it too hard, if I look at it directly.  My friends, my mother maybe, might bring it up to someone they're introducing me to--"Did you know Elissa's a writer?  Did you know she has a book coming out?"--and it still makes me feel shy and uncertain.  What questions will they ask?  How much do they want to hear?  Being a writer, talking about being a writer, is still this sort of half-secret mumble-mumble-blush-smile yeah, wow, it's REAL! kind of moment for me. 

So I'm excited, and I'm nervous.  I hope I'll learn some great things that I can come back here and talk about, and I hope I'll step outside that comfort zone and meet some terrific people, too.  (And also, I'm hoping to buy some good books from awesome Minnesota writers!)