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She Spoke at She Speaks

 

Luckily, I didn’t faint when I gave my 5 minute speech at the She Speaks Conference this past weekend.

Think I’m kidding?

Think again.

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 speech 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…

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