Luckily, I didn’t faint when I gave my 5 minute speech at the She Speaks Conference this past weekend.
Think I’m kidding?
There was REAL concern…
Although this was like… the nicest writers conference I have ever been to, it was by far the most exhausting. I dern near withered and floated away from complete, adulterated FEAR from the very idea of standing in front of an audience of 500 – ok so really it was only about 8 ladies but still, it felt like 500 – and spill my innards. Ironically enough, my speak was on – you guessed it ….FEAR!! I racked my brain on what to write and changed my subject 4 different times. I even emailed the speaking coach and asked could I simply observe and come back next year for my speech. Her answer? No observing…
Finally, the moment of doom ascended upon me. I talked too fast. I forgot key points. I gulped on my own spit at least 3 times, (which I’m sure was very distracting not to mention quite gross)
But……………….. I did it!
Just off the top of my head this is what I learned at the She Speaks conference:
- You ( meaning me) are good to be out of town for 5 days. Don’t think you are being smart by packing 3 separate trips in 10 days. Come home. Rest and recharge. You almost ruined your very expensive writer’s conference experience due to the fact that you SUFFER from terrible homesickitis. It’s just who you are and you must never forget: you are no more than a coupon – One that expires in five days after start date.
- Liz Curtis Higgs is the bomb. Study her. She is fabulous.
- You really can’t serve two masters. The grief you put into trying to decide whether or not to bring your self help memoir book proposal to the conference was wasted. You are happiest when you are writing and living in Bella Blue’s world. And that is ok. Even pitching your memoir to the girl sitting next to you at dinner took you back to a very insecure place that you are not ready to share. It’s ok to stick with your happy place.
- For the second time now, somebody has pointed out that while sharing your story, they laughed at your jokes and self-deprecation but when you slipped up and actually let them peek into your private world, that was the ‘meat’ that reached out and grabbed them – it was just a sentence here, an emotion there – THE REAL YOU IS WHAT THEY WANTED. Ugg.
- If asked to make a speech, make sure you talk with the decision maker to know their specific needs. Write it. Practice it. And then, put it down. There was absolutely no need to rework, revise and rewrite the crazy thing 5 times. You agonized over this thing for at least 2 weeks. FYI: Your family will appreciate it next time they are mercilessly trapped with you and your whimpering in a very small condo while in Hilton Head Island….
- When signing up for a writers conference take note to the advice: Rooms are chilly. Bring a sweater. Thinking that your very cute sleeveless Lily Pulitzer dress will miraculously grow inside heaters; thus keeping you warm….well…it ain’t gonna happen.
- Pay attention to your ‘used to.’ “I used to dance. I used to exercise……” Let His light burn, but pay attention so you won’t burn out!
- Whatever you do, don’t lie when telling your story.
- Show. Don’t tell. Example: His hands were trembling, the papers in his hand quivered. Instead of: He was scared as crap.
- Edit. Edit. Edit
- The highlight of the message is not about you – until you love your people and your story more than yourself, you are not ready. It’s ok to not be ready.
- Enjoy Jesus. Give the Lord your first moments of your day. It is a gift you are giving yourself.
MONUMENTAL: Luke 6:45 For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Lastly, I learned that when you rush home to see your sweet children with the utmost, highest hopes of a warm, delicious meal waiting on you; on a crisp clean dining room table in a cozy and very clean home… don’t be surprised and alarmed to find this instead…
It is truly disconcerting when one sees himself living the life of a lil purple dragon…In my case, his name is Spyro and he’s the character in a video game my son has owned for years. Spyro’s main goal in life is to chase talisman and orbs all while dodging green frogs, flying square shaped objects as well as some kind of winged pig looking thingy. His main goal is to conquer RIPTO – an orange fat blob with a strange looking horn on his head. Spyro has to either shoot it, charge it or dodge it. I’m either charging when I should be shooting and dodging when I should be charging. When one is 44, somehow it is not very fun to watch yourself dressed as a lil purple dragon running slap dab into ginormous boulders and sailing right off a very high cliff; thus missing your target completely and having to start all over again. Finally, right when you think you’re steady on your feet, you’re actually tumbling over the edge of the cliff; where your lil dragon nose heads straight into the bright blue sea.
To me, It’s exhausting.
To my children, it’s pure, unadulterated delight. They think it is knee slapping, gut wrenching delishisness to watch mommy blow fire from her purple nostrils, (when there’s nobody within a good ten feet to even be singeing) pummeling full force towards my desired enemy (usually something very big and very blue) only to zip right past him and alienating the wizard who is trying his best to give me his advice and dole out a few tricks to help me.
Truly. Mind numbing. And yet, the story of my life.
Need an example?
I was settling in with our new home, in our new life with a new set of rules. I’ve picked back up Bella Blue and I’m moving and grooving with my writing. Bella Blue makes me happy when I sink into her world and I gave myself the deadline of finishing book numero 3 September 1, 2015.
Then I charged right into a big blue thingamagiggy: She Speaks Writers Conference.
I was so excited to be going; it’s been awhile since I’ve been to a conference. “It will be life changing!” I told myself, “Do it, Sissie, head in that direction!” I gleefully exclaimed. “You might even be able to ‘book it up a notch and throw some fiery fabulousness on one of their agents and or publishers!” Me and my purple wings flapped mightily as we checked out the box that read ‘make publisher/agent appointment’
And then it came: the big ole bolder: the detailed list of all the agents and publishers that would be present and what they were looking for. Not one of them wanted anything to do with a children’s book…..
BUT … what the agents and publishers were looking for was something I did have: a self help or memoir. I’ve already written about 80 % of the thing. I even wrote a 22 page book proposal. So what did I do? I hurled Bella Blue slap over the edge of a cliff and in true Spyro fashion, I began dodging Bella Blue isms and charging after my self help memoir. In the last 6 weeks, I’ve probably spent about 300 hours perfecting my self help memoir, she was SO close to being ready.
But then, I finally slowed my lil purple dragon pace to a stop and really began to think about what exactly I was charging straight for. The book may be ready but AM I READY?! Did I really want to do this? An I actually ready to share my story?
Me thinks not right now…..
Instead of being discouraged and frustrated with myself for getting so completely off course, I’m going to take the rest of the time off until after my She Speaks Conference. It is the summer and my children miss me. I have been in total Spyro mode for the last 6 weeks and it’s time to quit flapping my dragon wings and just…well just..be…
Izzy wants to go kayaking. Jake is coming home for the rest of the summer. Our family beach trip is the next week. Sometimes, a lil purple dragon has rest her fiery nostrils and reassess her priorities.
And then…. come back and kick Ripto’s booty!
Rules to live by…
But the greatest of these is love…
~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
- If you have to hide it, you shouldn’t be doing it.
- Wait 24 hours before making a purchase.
- Slow down and think things through. Give yourself this luxury. This way, you are setting yourself up NOT to fail or have regrets.
- Imagination is 10 X more important than willpower.
- Vividly imagine your future. Keep your prize out in front of you. Create references where none exisit – meaning visualize your future. Back up with absolute and active faith.
- Focus on people and things that empower you!
- Be assertive!
- You have plenty of time to do all you want to do/accomplish
- You are meant to be a Barnabas.
- Things really do happen for a reason.
- You were put on this earth to do great things.
- You are your own person and can take care of yourself.
- Follow Peace, Love, Happiness
- There’s always a way to turn things around if you’re committed.
July 4th is my New Years Eve ….. It’s a new year with a new set of rules to live by … Life is good and free and we happy!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17