Monday, August 7

The grassy berm


One of the cool things about being a writer is that most of the time, you're not walking carefully down the beaten track. You're skipping or often leaping from one grassy berm to the other. Sometimes you're tiptoeing down that crowned spot in the middle where you could very easily fall off. Every now and then, when you're standing in the shade of the maple tree near the corner deciding which way to turn, you spend so much time saying "what if..." that you miss the turn altogether and end up in an unfamiliar meadow. Not sure what to do or which way to go or whether you should go at all.

Saturday, Nan, Cheryl Brooks, Kathleen Thompson, and I were in the meadow. We comprised a panel at the Logansport, Indiana library, there to answer questions and talk about writing. I think we've probably all done it before, but not often enough to make it comfortable or familiar.

We had some moments. Kathi got there an hour early and
wondered where the rest of us were. When the time to start rolled around, we were afraid our entire audience was going to be my husband and daughter. We realized we actually had no
plan for how we were going to proceed, so we decided at the last minute--and a little beyond--what we were going to do.

Then people came in. We didn't fill the room, but those who were there asked questions and listened when we answered, seeming to appreciate the fact that we came from four different corners of the publishing field.

Although some of us sold books afterward, I didn't. I got to see some friends, which was great, but I didn't further my career or make dates for more author events. I was uncomfortable some of the time and glad when it was over, but wouldn't hesitate for even a heartbeat to repeat the experience.

What I'm wondering--and please weigh in here!--is why we are that way. What makes us choose the grassy berms over the smoothness of the road well-traveled?

Have a great week!


18 comments:

  1. Oh I wish I had an answer for that! Maybe because we writers push our characters out of their comfort zone so they can grow, we intrinsically do the same to ourselves? I'm glad you ladies had a nice time!

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    1. Maybe that's it. I know that song, "The Things We Do for Love," has become an earworm ever since I wrote this! :-)

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  2. Ava makes a good point ... and it's better than any answer I've come up with! I'm glad you had a good time!

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    1. She does, and she's right when she mentions growth--it would be so easy, and so much more comfortable, to not venture onto the grassy berm, wouldn't it? But not good for us.

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  3. Yay you for stepping out of your comfort zone!

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  4. I think we all come to a point when we realize we won't sell books until we sell our selves. No matter the fact we're introverts on some level, as all writers are, we want to get or babies out into the world - even if that means stepping out of our comfort zone.

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    1. You're probably right, but I know I still look for ways to avoid it. :-)

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  5. Stepping out of a comfort zone is scary, and I usually have to be dragged kicking and screaming from my rut. But when I do venture out of my safe place, I'm usually glad. And like you, Liz, I'm usually glad when it's over! Good for you for venturing out.

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    1. One plus on a thing like this is that it's always fun to be with other authors, when you don't have to explain a single thing you say because no matter how different you all may be, they always get it!

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  6. We have to step out of our comfort zone to grow. I had to learn to talk to people at Handsome's conference. There are so many; yet over the years, many translated to tons of friends.

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    1. I'm sure you're right. I think part of it with me is something a friend of my husband's mentioned: being enough. I admit that's a personal problem, but it's one I sometimes have!

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  7. It's our nature to create worlds where we're more comfortable, so when we have to be in the real one, it's hard, but it's good when we do it. I was on the grassy berm too, Liz, but very glad to be there with you and the others. And I did sell books, so that part was cool, as was supper after! ;-) Hugs!

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  8. Oddly enough, I wasn't nervous, possibly because I've been to so many events lately, my brain is too numb to care. As a writer, I've lost count of how many meadows I've wandered through. But it's nice to know that, at least this time, we wandered through that meadow together. ((((HUGS))))

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  9. Your observations are good and on point. It is just the nature of the beast where creation of a written work is a solo performance art. Putting yourself out there can be flop sweat under an unfriendly (or unknown) public. Yes, writers adapt and weave a story but with time to plot.

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    1. It is a solo art, although I must admit some of my favorite writing times are spent brainstorming with Nan.

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