Vickie Fee

Fun, Fearless Scribe?

In her guest post on the Chicks last week, talented author Julie Hennrikus shared some insights about moving past our fears. She posed a question that got me thinking. Do we push ourselves on a regular basis to do things we didn’t think we could do?

I’m not as brave as my protagonist Liv McKay, who plans killer parties while tracking down murderers. And I’m a bit of a lightweight compared to Julie who pushed herself into completing a half-marathon! But I have surprised myself since finally getting published 21 months ago.

SpongebobScared

As an author, I was overjoyed to finally be published. (Something that was a long time coming for me, as for many writers). There’s a certain amount of fear knowing I’m now contractually obligated to write the second (and third and fourth…) book in a series. A certain amount of self-doubt still creeps in when I face a blank page and blinking cursor.

But for me the bigger fear—the thing I didn’t think I could do—was promoting my book. Doing presentations and book signings. You know, actually talking to and in front of live people. I’m much more comfortable sitting at the computer, talking to my imaginary friends, er…characters.

My husband, who knows me well and for more than thirty years, told me a few months after the first book came out that he was surprised, and impressed, to see me push myself so far outside my comfort zone to promote the book. It seems my fear of not selling any books is greater than my fear of public speaking and interaction, if only marginally. But even I can tell I’ve gained some new confidence. Listening to the recording of my first radio interview, I sound profoundly nervous. In my second radio interview, I sound a little less nervous. Less nervous is a good thing because, as my husband notes, I talk in slow motion when I’m nervous. (Part of this, I think, is I’m worried some people won’t understand my Southern accent, so I hyper enunciate).

WriterWeird

Despite a bit of newfound moxie, I remain socially awkward and prone to embarrassing moments. Case in point. At my literary agency’s reception at Malice Domestic this year, I managed to accidentally brush my hand across a picked over plate. A napkin wasn’t adequate, so I may have made use of an extra water glass as a finger bowl. (Author Barbara Early may have suggested this, but I’m not placing blame. I’m more than capable of embarrassing myself without any help). As I was pulling my fingers out of the glass I noticed my agent, at the other end of the table, looking at me and shaking her head. (You’ll note I didn’t say she looked surprised. For that matter, neither did any of the dozen authors at the table).

I used to be terrified in social situations and couldn’t have imagined hawking my book in front of a crowd of strangers. Now I do it—and sometimes even enjoy it. There was a time I doubted that I’d ever find an agent. Now, not only do I have an agent, but I can embarrass myself in front of her and laugh about it. Sort of. So, no matter what you think you cannot do, chances are you can do it if you truly want to. (Although I still can’t fold fitted sheets. But I’m at peace with that).

Share a proud moment when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone, or one you’re working up the courage to tackle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Fun, Fearless Scribe?

    • Thanks, Barbara! You have funny, personable, and charming in spades! BTW, unlike my hand-in-plate move, your cleavage drop was very discreet — well-played. 🙂

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  1. You guys are too funny! I’ve got a 20-on-20 session at Bouchercon this Saturday that’s requiring all my courage. Maybe some of you will come by, 1:00 in VIP. Familiar names and faces make all the difference, don’t they?

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  2. The great thing about being a writer is that you can just be yourself when speaking in public and people will understand. I think readers and writers naturally “get” each other. I never cared much for presenting to large crowds as an editor, though…never slept one wink the night before, drank tons of coffee, and shook all over the place. I probably made zero sense, too.

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    • Lisa, you’re funny, smart and genuine and have a way of putting people at ease. I’m sure we rarely look as nervous to others as we feel! At least, that’s what I tell myself.

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  3. Weird thing about me is I have no problem performing in front of a group. I can lecture, I can act, I can read, i can make an ask of myself, I can even cook for y’all and describe what I’m doing while I make magic in a pan.
    But for the life of me, I cannot make small talk one-on-one. I am no social butterfly, despite having a cheerleader and football star for parents. When you see me at Malice next year, I will be the grey-haired, larger lady in the corner, trying to fade into the wallpaper. Seriously.

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  4. Vickie, I’m sorry I’m late to the party, but great post! You wouldn’t at all know you’re awkward in social situations. I was a theatre person and I’m an extrovert, so I’m usually the reverse. You have douse me with cold water to get me to shut up. But my first Malice, when I didn’t know a soul, and was wandering around like a displaced person – that was when I really felt awkward.

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    • Kellye, you are totally rocking it with promotions! And you had an actress do your reading at one event, right? That’s pretty smooth! (When I’ve been pressed to do a reading at a presentation/signing, I’ve read like two paragraphs. I felt that was about as much as me, or the audience, could bear!)

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