Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Conference Anxiety (Hold Me)

I've been to a number of math ed or deaf ed conferences, but never a writers' conference. It's something I've been interested in doing, so I was on the lookout for a good one to start with. Something local. Maybe regional. If I could just find one with the right timing.

But no. Thanks to Peer Pressure Practitioner extraordinaire Mindy McGinnis, I'm kicking off my writers' conference experience at the winter conference for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in New York.

This is a good thing. I've been wanting to go back to New York since the first (only) time I went, when I was a teenager. I'll get to hang out with Mindy and MarcyKate Connolly. I'll get to meet people like my editor, my agent, and friends from AQC.

But I'm an introvert. And a worrier. So while there's a lot of anxious-excited going on, there's also plenty of just-plain-anxious.

A sampling:

  • My classroom. It needs to be ready for my absence. That means prepping the students and getting sub plans ready. Considering the other ninth grade teacher and I have barely been able to get ready a day in advance most of the year, this is worrisome.

  • Packing. I haven't gone anywhere other than between my apartment and my parents' house in years. My sister has half the stuff I might need, so packing for home never took much forethought.

  • My first flight in over seven years. I have no problem with flying. Delays leading to missing my connection ... that's gets me going.

  • Speaking of flights, I'm taking my first red-eye. I've never had any success at sleeping sitting up. At all. This could be interesting.

  • Getting around. Yes, I've been to New York before. Took the subway. Took a cab. But I was with a youth symphony group, so I was never in charge. Is it sad that the idea of hailing a cab makes me anxious? Go ahead and laugh at me.

  • On a related note, tipping. I come from a world where the only tipping that happens is at a restaurant (which I'm great at). Honestly, I rarely use cash these days. I'll need to figure this out.

  • Being social. Did I mention I'm an introvert? I have plenty of experience forcing myself out of my comfort zone, but it takes energy.

  • Oh, yeah. Energy. I have to go directly back to work just over twelve hours after arriving home. Survive Tuesday through Friday before crashing on Saturday (most likely).

Okay, this sounds dangerously close to complaining about something I really am excited for.

Just anxious, too.

Sometimes being a grown-up is overrated.


Riley Redgate said...

R.C., you're going to have the time of your life! Yaaaay!

And as for all those nifty little bullet points ... *prods* you'll get them sorted. Your overwhelming competence kind of makes any other option impossible. ;)

Mindy McGinnis said...

It's OK, I'm totally nervous about the "getting around" part too. I already told Liz Coley that I'm going to attach myself to her and be a puppy and make her take me everywhere with her once we leave the hotel.

As far as socially - you're with me. You're covered under my social umbrella.

Robin Breyer said...

NYC, huh. I'd want to wander around. I want to find where my ancestors lived (somewhere near Wall St.), I want to see the Library, Hamilton house, USS Interpid (with its intact SR-71 and the Enterprise). I'd want to catch a real Broadway show.

And you're telling me there is a writers conference to boot? I'd be too excited to be worried. I handled the Boston subway, I can handle the NYC one. I hear it is much better.

You guys are going to have so much fun. Don't stress too much. I wish I was going with you. But, alas, my day job prevents such fun. I am tied to my computer by the need to run a daily manual process.

R.C. Lewis said...

Riley, I'm sure I will, but that doesn't mean I won't have a panic attack (or three) before that. :-P

Mindy ... ditto what I said to Riley.

Robin, yeah, it'd be nice to do all those things. Unfortunately, it's going to be such a whirlwind trip with a lot of time already booked for very specific things, there won't be much space to go gallivanting about the city.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you'll stress. Then you'll survive and thrive. Then you'll be an expert for your next one.

I managed the trains and the subway and the streets of NYC all by myself, so if I can do it, you most definitely will kick it. There are websites with all the subway routes online, so the do-ahead-homework was easy. The signs in the subway stations were very clear. My introvert self got a little tense when the train stopped and the power went out while I was on the subway, but I reassured myself that there were much prettier girls around and no one would even remember I was there, so I'd be safe. (Whatever works, right?) No one was mugged even though the lights were off for at least 10 minutes. My worst goof was I got on a local when I intended to snag an express and skip the stops.

Anyway, you'll do great and Mindy will be your social umbrella. I bet you're right and the post-adrenaline teaching days will be the worst part. But you've handled that kind of thing before so you know you can do it.

Have fun!

Johanna Quille