I never used to be like that. My freshman year of college, I attended school in Florida, and I flew back and forth several times over the course of the year. It never bothered me then. In high school, I went to Australia and switched planes multiple times before reaching Perth. Didn’t bat an eye.
Now, it’s all I can do to stay calm. The older I get, the more mental I become.
(Side note: my coworkers and I were talking about this the other day at work, and one of them said that the reason it’s probably an issue now is because I’m more aware of my mortality. When I was young, the world couldn’t touch me. But now, I have different priorities—kids, family—and losing them or having them lose me is probably where the fear stems from.)
Despite this fear, I sent in proposals for two separate conferences that will be occurring in the fall. One is the Long Beach Indie Film Festival in Long Beach, California, and the other is the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Right after I hit send, my stomach started tingling and I became anxious. What was I thinking? I can’t go to these places. I’ll have to get on a plane! I’ll have to be in a big city! I’ll have to speak in front of people!
Then I took a deep breath and told myself to calm down—which only slightly worked.
The reason I put in proposals for these conferences was because the world isn’t going to come to me. People aren’t going to find out who I am just because I have books on Amazon. Sure, a few might, but I want to increase my readership. To do that, I have to tell people about what I do. I have to get out there and show them what I’m doing.
I’m fully aware that this may not lead to book sales, but it still gets me out there. People will still be able to see my name and know that I wrote something. And, on top of that, I like talking about what I’ve done.
I picked these specific conferences because they focus on film and scholarly work. My presentation is based on my book Life Lessons from Slasher Films. I am incredibly proud of the work I put into this book, but I rarely have a chance to show it off. I felt that these two venues gave me the opportunity to do just that.
It’s scary as hell, and I’ll probably wind up having a panic attack at some point, but I need to step back for a minute. First of all, I haven’t been picked yet. There’s no guarantee I’ll have to present at either of these conferences. The first step was to make the effort, and the second is to wait for a response.
Despite my fear, I really would like to get out more. Even though it scares me, I really enjoy presenting and getting people involved in discussions. The workshops I’ve done around the state of Wyoming have been fantastic, but this gives me a chance to branch out. Being at the conferences also gives me a chance to network with others who think like I do.
There are far more pros to going to these conferences than there are cons, but convincing my brain of that is sometimes difficult. I just hope that I get the chance to go. If you would be so kind as to wish me luck or cross your fingers or sacrifice a chicken so I get picked, I would really appreciate it.
UPDATE: I received an email this morning informing me that my proposal had been accepted for the Long Beach Indie Film Festival. Wooooooot! This is going to be fun!