I went to the Long Island Romance Writers’ Luncheon yesterday. They put on a REALLY fun event, and my to-do list includes a thank you note to the coordinators. That couldn’t have been easy but they made it look effortless. That’s the mark of talent, IMHO.
The event made me face an interesting aspect of my personality. We got there really early, so we were invited to look around the tables and see where we wanted to sit. This is a nice option because we in the VFRW Seven were first to choose which editors and agents we wanted to talk to during the luncheon. I know one person who sought out her chosen editor and planted her purse in the chair next to the editor’s, much like Neil Armstrong planting a flag on the moon. Hey, it worked for her.
Since I already have an agent (yay!), I wasn’t looking to sit beside one in hopes of making a connection. I was looking for editors so I could pitch any one of my stories. I wandered around the tables a few times, read the names on the place cards (for the invited guests), knew a few, didn’t know most. Many were from houses that weren’t looking for my genre, unless I start writing erotica. One or two names were very familiar from reports about RWA National, in RWR Magazine, or just by reputation. At one point I saw a few familiar (and well known) names at one table, and I put my purse down. Then I was paralyzed by an intense, overwhelming thought screaming in my head, “I don’t belong here.” The sad thing is that I wasn’t thinking about the table, I was thinking about the whole event.
Sadly, I picked up my purse and moved to another table. (All told, I chose and then un-chose a seat four times.) Another friend was sitting at a table with an editor and agent, and I wanted to be somewhere with someone I knew, so that if the conversation stagnated, at least we’d have something to talk about.
I don’t know where that “I don’t belong here” idea came from, but it was disturbing. On the other hand, now that I know it’s there, I know how to conquer it. Ignore it. Whenever I find myself facing fears of inadequacy, all I have to do is stop listening to them and do whatever it is I want or need to do, and I come out of it quite certain that that negative inner voice was dead wrong. Believe me, it’s a lot easier than it sounds, if there’s something you really want or need. As Jen and I were saying yesterday on the train home, we’ve learned in our wise old age that we regret more what we didn’t do, as opposed to what we did do.