I've been excited to leave for the RWA National writing conference for about three years. This is my first big conference, and I know I'm going to have a great time.
So why am I so nervous?
I can't tell you what I'm even really nervous about. I'm an outgoing person. I like meeting new people. I certainly like talking, and I don't mind doing it in front of a crowd. I'm a seasoned traveler, with several major world cities under my belt. I like hotels, and I certainly love books, which is what this convention is all about.
But I think part of what has always bolstered my social bravery has been an idea in my head that if I manage to do anything silly or awkward, no one is going to remember me.
And this time around I want people to remember me.
That puts me in a little bit of a catch 22.
Because here's the problem. When I get around big groups of people, I always do or say something that is a little goofy. I can't help it. I'm goofy. I'll sing bad karaoke at the drop of a hat. I'll dance, even though I've never been gifted with good coordination or rhythm. I tell some awful jokes, I mean really awful. I smile too much, and when I do I scrunch up my nose. I just was never created to be elegant or graceful.
So now I've got a challenge, be myself while at the same time be conscious of myself. That's a difficult thing to do. I feel confident, but my heart is stuttering just a little every time I think about packing.
I've decided my best defense is a good offense. I'm going to pay close attention to others. I'm going to ask them about them. I'll smile, listen, and try to hold back my impulse to jump in with some corny story I've told a million times.
I think that will help. Now I just have to pray I don't trip over my heels and tumble down a staircase, or into a fountain.
If I want people to remember me from this conference, I want them to remember warmth, humor, creativity and graciousness. If I can pull that off, I'm golden.