Facing Fear Has Its Rewards

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Stephen Mooser, Co-Founder SCBWI

At the end of April, I flew to Massachusetts to speak at the NESCBWI Conference with Stephen Mooser, about treating your book like a product. Before I get into the details, I first have to share my ride there.

It started with an early morning taxi drive to the Orlando International Airport. Now mind you, I haven’t flown since before 9-11, so I experienced a bit of culture shock when I walked in the terminal. Long lines of people. Uniformed guards. Pat downs. I was already nervous because I HATE flying, but this had my heart rocketing. I joined the herd wondering when I’d left America. While I appreciate the safety, it was definitely jarring to say the least, especially when everyone started taking off their shoes.

“Do we all have to take off our shoes?” I asked the man in front of me.

He nodded, and I unlaced my sneakers. As we approached a turn in the looping line, a man pointed at the woman and her kids a couple people ahead and began to herd us into a separate line. I’m not gonna lie. I was scared. Could these people arrest me just because? Actually, they were trying to even out the lines by opening a new one. The writer in me, however, was looking for conspiracy.

Realtor of the Year
My sweet husband

A half hour before I took off, I popped a Dramamine. Yup, I get motion sick: air, sea, car, even walking too fast. By the time we boarded and were ready to taxi, I was a nervous wreck. I put my headphones on and listened to music as we took off and my head spun. I spent the next two-and-a-half hours with my head buried in my chest, feeling every bump and dwelling on my husband’s face to keep me calm.

We safely landed, and I had tears in my eyes. HALLELUJAH!! I got a call from the girl assigned to pick me up and told her I’d be a few while I picked up my bags. I waited, and waited, but no black suitcase matching mine showed. The machine shut down. I went to the staff.

“Excuse me, my bag didn’t show.”

“Did you check it at curbside or the gate?”

“Curbside.”

“Oh, those don’t always make the flights.”

Seriously? I had less than 2 hours to get to the hotel for my 2:00 class and my bag with all my stuff didn’t make the plane? One of the employees went searching through all the unclaimed bags on the conveyer, which pissed me off…as if I didn’t know what my own bag looked like. Sure enough, he returned with a forest green suitcase bearing my face on the luggage tag.

“You gotta be kidding me,” I said. “It’s green?”

“Happens all the time,” he said, humoring me I’m sure.

Embarrassed, yet relieved, I asked them if I could chalk it up to Dramamine and they said yes. Jeesh. So I finally made it to the hotel, with less than an hour to spare, freezing cold in the 45 degree weather with no jacket. I changed, freshened up, and began preparing my classroom. After that, it was awesome. I shared marketing tips and strategies with a class of nearly 50 writers who graciously thanked me for all I had shared. Their feedback was positive and really made the fact that I had braved death to share it, worth every terrifying moment. Plus, I love knowing that what I have to say helps others.

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The rest of the conference was like a paid vacation, and I spent my time writing, meeting authors, and working out in the gym. No kids. No one asking me for anything. No interruptions. Heaven.

There’s more to this adventure, and I’ll share that soon! Happy Writing!

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Facing Fear Has Its Rewards

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