As you read this, I am at a writing conference in Austin, Texas, sucking up knowledge and stealing tacos from a whole bunch of crazy talented authors. This is my second trip to this particular conference, and I am SO excited to see my gang again. We are planning meals and drinks and bookstore visits, and a trip to see the bats, and even karaoke. (Oh, right, like I’m really going to do that one. I’m so sure.)
I was not this excited last year. I had been listening to the podcast and reading the books for a long time. Something told me that these were my people. I desperately wanted to go. I just didn’t want to go.
Lordy, was I ever scared. When my husband dropped me off at the airport I sat in the terminal and cried. I ran through every single thing that might go wrong in my head. I’d probably get lost in the unfamiliar airport. Or lose something important like my luggage and my phone and my wallet and my shoe. Everyone in Texas would have a gun and maybe shoot me. Not to mention the biggest fear of all: every single writer at the event was going to be smarter, more accomplished, and probably better looking than me. I was nothing but an Orange County Housewife, and not even the kind with a TV show. The kind with a messy house and a messy life who sometimes eats chocolate chips for breakfast because she forgot to buy real food. I had NO business going to this conference with Real Writers. I started dialing my husband’s cell phone at least 50 times to ask him to come pick me up, this was all a horrible mistake.
But then I washed my face and got on the damn plane. And not one second of it was as scary as I thought it was going to be. None of the disaster scenarios in my head came true. Every part of it was good.
In fact, it was better than good. It was awesome. I made real friends who were kind and generous with their knowledge. Some of them have mentored me even though I’m a tadpole in the vast publishing ocean. And goddam, are they ever funny.
For the record every single writer at that conference WAS a million times smarter, more accomplished, and better looking than me. (True fact. Writers are sexy beasts.) I learned so much, and came home from that first conference absolutely on fire for my career.
And now, I’m doing it again. Even though I’m still freaking out.
Ohmygod so afraid.
But I have done it once, so I already know I can do it again. The confidence follows the action, not the other way around. Carrie Fisher taught me that.
I just had to get on that plane. I had to do it afraid.
What about you? Do you travel alone? Does it scare you? How do you convince yourself to try something that terrifies you?
Peace out, friends.