Last weekend, at the Mudgee Readers Festival in New South Wales, I had the absolute pleasure to sit in front of a real live audience and ask a real live author, sitting next to me on stage, questions about their book. How awesome, two of my passions, writing and reading all in the same experience and in the same room. And not just once but twice with author’s Summer Land and Jim Eames.
Sound nerve racking?
It was, but nowhere near as nerve wracking as it was the first time I agreed to do it.
Just one week from having baby Max and four weeks out from the Mudgee Readers Festival I thought it was a great idea to try something new. Quite clearly I had forgotten the psychoticness having a breastfeeding newborn and an almost three year old brings. I had also forgotten that Matthew was going to be in Sydney at the Bledisloe Cup on that same weekend. Cue frantic searching for babysitters, expressing milk, sobbing and sleep deprivation from baby and Mudgee Readers Festival preparation.
Forgetting all those things I said yes and I’m so glad I did.
I wouldn’t have missed the chance to try this new experience for the world. Today, one day post Mudgee Readers Festival (MRF) and a few revelations have been rolling around in my brain about my new experience in the audience and up on stage with the Authors.
Here are my top five thing to help you with feeling scared but doing it anyway;
- It’s okay to be nervous. Even authors get nervous and they’ve already written the book. I felt so much better that my holy grail, published authors, can succumb to shaky hands, sweaty backs, sweaty pits, fidgeting hands and faltering voices. So it definitely okay for us mere mortals, wanna be authors and sometime writers and it’s definitely okay for you, starting a new business, a new blog, a new career.
- Of course you’re different, we’re all different. There will be people out there who run their ‘In Conversation’ with an author differently to you. People who dress differently to you, who run their house differently to you, because they are different, we’re all different*. Pick up hints, tips and improvements from the way others do things but don’t lose your own style, your own way. How boring would the world be if we all did that?
- You’re not alone if you feel like you’re an imposter. I often and frequently do. Well Nigella Lawson didn’t start out as the domestic goddess, she was just a chick who liked to cook. Darren Rowse didn’t start out as the Blogging Guru. It all takes time. Whether it’s your first ‘In conversation‘ session with an author or the first time someone pays you for the cake that you made or the article that you wrote. You do know what you’re doing and you get better at it every time you have another go. Try not to get carried away thinking I shouldn’t be here, I don’t know enough, someone is going to catch me out.
- Do something that scares you as often as you can. Let’s face it, new stuff is scary but the feeling you get when you come out the other side is amazing. The first time someone asks you to design a logo and pay you for it, the first time you speak at a conference or going back to work babies. Sometimes the things you absolutely have to do are the things that scare you the most. As someone famous once said. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
- Don’t think about it do it. Ever had a great idea but it’s only been that, a great idea? You never put the wheels in motion, pulled your finger out and started it. Then next thing you know you’re living in a world of regret or worse still someone else does it and your forever lamenting about a missed opportunity. Just start, design some products, write a story or cook a cake for a community event. Do something however tiny that helps your dream become a reality. Doing nothing breeds apathy and disappointment. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You do it wrong and you have to do it again? So what you can only learn from your mistakes. The book won’t get written, your teaching career won’t get started if you’re still thinking about it. Start it, practice it, do it.
So next time you think about doing something new or someone asks you to do something you’ve never done before and it scares you a little, embrace it and breathe. Be scared and do it anyway
Jump right in with both feet, you never know you might find yourself sitting on stage with a real live author.
*In the interest of full disclosure, this great quote came from one of the author’s at the Mudgee Readers Festival, Fiona Holden, I think but I could be wrong. There were so amazing things being said. And I loved it. It summed up what my self doubting mind is often telling me. Me having a conversation with myself and often thinking I haven’t don’t something like someone else would. I haven’t done it like another student, another writer, another author, another facilitator would. Of course I haven’t and you won’t. We’re all different, we’re all going to do things differently and that’s okay.