Monday, 8 August 2011

Don't Think, Just Jump

Well, I'm back from my first Writer's Conference, which was equal parts amazing, stimulating and exhausting! My goal was to learn as much as possible about the craft of writing and the industry of publishing and to pitch my project to  agents and editors. This pitching business, as you may imagine, is kind of nerve-wracking. Cold-selling is never fun, but it's even harder when you are so intimately involved in the product. When pitching memoir you are not only pitching your voice and storytelling skills, but also, as the main character, your life. No pressure or anything.

My philosophy on doing frightening tasks is to jump right in without thinking too much. Which is how I ended up in an Albanian refugee camp when I was 19 or in central England with no job, money, friends or family (barring my new husband) when I was 25. These are two decisions I'm very glad I made, though if I would have thought too hard about what I was getting myself into I may not have made those jumps. Thinking -- though not without its merits -- can be an incredibly dangerous procrastination tool.

One tidbit I took away this weekend was that, over his typewriter, Ray Bradbury posted the words "Don't think." From Bob Mayer's excellent talk, I was also encouraged to lean into fear, because action is the only way to grow courage.

So, this weekend I leaned right in and approached as many people as possible to tell them about my book. I submitted my synopsis to a synopsis boot camp to be torn apart, America's Got Talent-style. I put myself out there. Though it was scary at first, it certainly became much easier by the end. And I was really encouraged by response, the crazy reality that my book just may be interesting to other people.

The pro-activity also introduced me to some new writer friends, such as the lovely Alexis, a Young Adult paranormal fiction writer also living in Seattle, and Heidi, an inspirational girl from B.C. who is writing a memoir about a car accident that killed her best friend, burned 52% of her body and required the amputation of both her legs below the knee. But you'd never know it from Heidi's bubbly personality that she'd gone through all this. I just watched a video that tells her story and definitely encourage you to do the same.

Sometimes jumping right in without thinking isn't always the best tact, but this weekend it was well worth it.

What about you? When it comes to approaching something outside your comfort (something you know you need to do), do you generally think first or just jump right in?


Claire Carey said...

Love this post! You were SO brave! I am so impressed with your willingness to put yourself out there.

alisha said...

Thanks Claire! I'm so proud of you too, Ms. Finalist. :)

Jenny said...

I can't wait to hear about all the details! I'm proud of all three of you (A,C,&J) and don't think I could have had the courage to do it (or the skill to write a book for that matter, but that's another matter all together).

I think I'm a dive in girl, but I think it has to do with my fear of trying too hard and failing...I think if I just go for it (whatever IT is) I won't feel too bad if it doesn't work out...hmm, maybe I should examine this more...

alisha said...

I think you're a jump in girl too Jenny, and I can't recall you ever failing either. :)

Heidi said...

Thanks for this Alisha!! It's been a whirlwind of crazy since I got back and am finally getting a chance to read your blog. You are the sweetest!! I can not wait to hear about what's next for you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails