A couple of years ago I went to a con and one of my favorite authors was there. She writes a very good urban fantasy series that it’s quite popular. She also has an okay following on social media, so I had been reading her tweets and following her journey as an author.
I was so excited to meet her. I figured she was geeky and loved similar books so she would be awesome in person too, right?
I went to one of her panels and there were several authors there, each good writers in their own right. It was a great panel, with a good discussion. I listened intently and followed a couple of the other authors, even added a book or two to my wish list.
Then came the Q&A and I asked one question that I hoped someone would have a good answer for : if you want to do cons, get tables, or be on panels, how do you cope with anxiety?
I’ve had anxiety issues for a while. Crowds terrify me, and it’s even worse if I am the center of attention, like being a panelist at the front of a room would be, so it was a valid question.
The answer I got? “You don’t. If you have that problem you’re never going to make it.”
And if course the person saying it was the author that I really liked.
The room got a little quiet for a brief moment, then another author on the panel said he actually had the same issue and gave me tips on how to deal with my anxiety at a con. They were great tips and I used them the next year…. When I was on five panels!
Screw people that tell you that you can’t do things because of your short comings. If a man can climb mount Everest with no feet, or a man completely paralyzed can write a book with just eye blinks, then you can do whatever it is you want to do.
Really, you might meet your celebrities one day, the men or women that made it before you, but they are not infallible. They might do something or say something rude. They might burp, or hide away from the public. None of that really matters. What matters is making your life your own. Following your dreams. Working hard and not letting stuff get in your way.