an odd question?

I have now done two ‘in conversation’ style events with debut authors and I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences. I’m not afraid of public speaking and as long as I feel prepared, in this case, having read the books, I feel totally comfortable. It’s important for authors to get comfortable with public appearances and speaking because it’s part of the marketing of books and if you want to make a living from writing, this is all part of it.

After the most recent event, I was chuffed when numerous people from the audience, as well as the organiser, complimented me on my interview. The author Nikki Mottram thanked me when she signed my copy of her book.

One lady asked me a question that I thought was quite odd though. She told me my interview was “as good as anything she’d seen at major literary festivals” but then asked me if “anyone I went to school with would be surprised” that I was an author and comfortable in front of a crowd.

A very interesting questions, considering that I am over 50.

I laughed and said “no, none of my teachers or school friends would be surprised at all.” I’ve always been confident and ready to get up in front of an audience. I had big plans when I was 17. I wanted to go to NYC, drive a fancy car, generally take over the world. Hey (shrug emoji) it was the 80s.

But then stuff happened.

Just before I finished senior, I met my birth family. I didn’t have the maturity to deal with something so huge. I had a bit of counselling but I didn’t really have the words to express how I felt… probably still don’t. When I think back, I felt I was the pinch point between two families, at odds with both at times and anything I said or did felt disloyal to one side or the other.

I wish I’d started journaling then. I think it would have really helped. I was intelligent and confident but I was also terribly, embarrassingly, immature. I can only imagine the truly awful poetry I might have written.

So, the answer is no. No one I went to school with would be surprised by what I’m doing now, but I’d prefer they don’t think I’m exactly the same as I was back then. Surely none of us are. Over the years, I feel like I’ve changed utterly, completely, and now I see that I have just become more myself.

I get the 3-2-1 newsletter from James Clear each week and I spotted this great quote recently. I wasn’t Valedictorian but I came close and sometimes I wonder “what I might have achieved” if I’d had a bit of direction and didn’t have some big chunky life speed-humps to navigate. I’m always so very impressed by people with proper actual careers, especially those who chose a path straight from school and stuck to it. Like my doctor who knew what he wanted to be from grade one!

Are you kidding me?

I only found my real passion five years ago but I am glad. I can’t imagine the trash I would have written if I’d started earlier. I am exactly where I am supposed to be

After graduation, the valedictorian will often get lapped by “average” people who better invest their time.”

“One of the most critical skills in life—and yet never taught in school—is choosing where to direct your attention.

James Clear

You can buy this anthology here.

On Saturday 15 April, Jen Swenson is presenting a workshop on The Importance of Being Seen. I’m so keen. I’m also presenting a mini talk on email lists for authors. I may feel uncomfortable about my appearance at times but I’m pushing through it and not letting it stop me from showing up.

I’m also presenting a mini-workshop on Jennifer Lynne Barnes’ concept of the Id List at the Rainforest Writers Retreat in June. The RWR is the largest writers retreat in Australia so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to get up in front of 60+ amazing authors. Thrilled and slightly terrified.