Weekly High-Five Report


This next week is a big one for me. I’m attending the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Conference this weekend. Last year, I met my editor and agent there and within a little over a month I had a book contract.

At the conference last year, a group of us started talking about fear. We asked ourselves collectively, “What activity or experience would be most frightening to you?” One answered rock climbing, another said sky diving. One even looked at me, shrugged, and said the thought of strapping on skis and schussing down the slopes scared her more than anything else.

“What about you?” My new friend, Lorraine, asked. “Is there anything that scares you?”

I thought about it. I’d tried most of the activities the group had discussed, and quite frankly I didn’t find them too over-the-top scary.

“Improv.” I said. The thought of standing in front of an audience and trying to make them laugh makes my palms sweat.

So when Lorraine told me that she does Improv, and that I should join her, I smiled nervously. I’m a writer. I communicate best through the written word. I don’t, to be honest, even like talking on the telephone. I’d much rather have time to contemplate my words, to massage them into just the right meaning and phrasing, in order to evoke the proper response. And, of course, in order to avoid sticking my foot in my mouth.

So when Lorraine asked if I wanted to co-present a workshop for this conference on using Improv skills in boosting one’s writing career, I’m not sure why I wholeheartedly agreed. But here it is. This weekend I will teach others how to promote themselves and their writing through Improv skills. The workshop is aptly titled, “Self-promotion for the Introvert”.

You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with the weekly high-five report? I’m getting to that. You see, I’m crossing two things off my “scary-list” this week and that’s pretty high-fiveable, in my book. I’m confronting my fears of Improv and I’m talking about self-promotion. It’s almost a dirty word around our house, so just invoking the idea of promoting one’s self is pretty scary. But it’s a necessary evil in modern publishing.

I have a blog and a Facebook fanpage, an Amazon author page as well as a twitter feed and LinkedIn account. Oh, and I just got on Google+ just in case that becomes the next big thing. But what I thought at first was just murky self-promotion–a necessary evil in a world with low-budget book marketing campaigns–has turned into something else entirely. I’ve stepped into the Community (with a capital C) that bloggers always talk about. And funny thing is, I’m liking it. I’ve met people here and felt the support of friends and cohorts. It feels like one big high-five.

So with that in mind, this weekly high-five report is about conquering fear. High-five to me for crossing a few things off my “scary-list”.

Below, is a time-lapse video of some beautiful Patagonia scenery. For whatever reason, time-lapse videos are the new black. Everyone’s doing them. But this one is especially lovely. And the music isn’t bad either. So here’s some visual high-fiveability:

Patagonia Time Lapse Video from Adam Colton on Vimeo.

What about you? Have you crossed anything off your “scary-list” lately?

16 responses »

  1. wow! good for you! You just keep amazing me with your spunk and fearlessness! Hope you have a great time at the conference.
    I was actually on the improv team in highschool. I did enjoy it. But I will share a secret, something that scares me is the thought of turtles swimming under me. I live on a lake and I’m afraid to swim in it!

    • I’m impressed that you were on an improv team. Holy cow. That’s scary. As long as the water is clear, I’m usually pretty good in the water. But anything big lurking in the shadows is definitely scary.

  2. Ah, I’m slow to the game, went to the writer’s conf website and it’s closed now. Dang. I’ve not thrown myself wholeheartedly into the writing thing over the years because I’m single and it doesn’t pay the bills like technical writing/editing consulting. But this whole blogging thing is getting me inspired and excited to write regularly, and then I too feel the community from other bloggers that you mention – and you are a particular inspiration! Anyway, maybe I’ll catch the next conf, but I think by then I’ll be overwhelmed and working weekends again on another environmental impact statement. back to the blog at least….

  3. No one really gets the ‘blogging’ thing, unless they actually do it- then they’re like, “oh! it’s totally cool- I’ve ‘met’ some cool people.” I’m headed to the BlogHer conference this weekend in San Diego- going to hang out and meet some people, and go to some writing seminars. That conference you’re talking about seems interesting. When I’m done w/ school, I think I need to go to one of those also.

    As to the fears…I was reading, and thinking, “nope, skiing, climbing, etc, not THAT scary usually”. Public speaking used to be the absolute worst for me- but I’ve had to do it more, so it’s gotten (a bit) better. But when you got to Improv- holy crap, I literally had shivers up and down my arms. I would probably cry if I had to do that. Absolute nightmare.

    So GO YOU! Can’t wait to hear about it.

    • I’ve been intrigued by the thought of a blogging conference too. Good luck. Hopefully you pick up some great ideas–like how to come up with fresh and interesting topics every day. That’s my personal challenge. Crossing my fingers that all goes well tomorrow. My husband asked me if I would videotape it so he could watch later. I said NO WAY. The thought of a video catching all my ums and stalls is just too much.

  4. Kim, I agree with you wholeheartedly. As I writer and blogger, I’d much rather communicate via the written word than talk on the phone, or horror of horrors, speak in front of a group. Good on you for facing the fear. You’re a brave soul.

    • Thanks Wendy. At least this year I’m not pitching my book to agents, which, believe it or not, is even more nerve-wracking than speaking in front of a large group. But still.

  5. Love this post, Kim! I’m with you 100%. Rock climbing? Scary, sure. But public speaking? OMG. I always thought that, as a writer, my days would consist being alone and…well, writing. In reality, so much of it involves putting yourself out there, whether that’s starting a blog, sending out query letters, or networking in person.

    The good thing is that the writing community is, in general, awesome. Have no fear — they’ll be laughing at your improv scenes! (Um, hopefully you want them to laugh.) 🙂

    Have a blast at the conference!

  6. I’m surprised you have fears! It’s crazy how different are fears are. I’m into sports and outdoor adventure. I wouldn’t say I’m nearly as extreme as you. Some of the things you’ve done scare me, but I would say my biggest fear is blogging. I started a job in March of this year and one of our requirements is to blog about what we do and what we are learning along the way. My boss gave me a little slack and I had a few months before I had to start writing. Last month was my first post, and it is hard for me to get past my own insecurities about what I know and what I don’t know. Add to that the fear that my writing isn’t very good. Sometimes I take writing to serious and then my writing lacks personality. I know it probably sounds lame for someone like you who writes a post every day, when I am only required to write once a month (but will be once a week, as time goes on). But, I am facing my fear of blogging and I can see how it will be beneficial to help me process the things that I’m learning. So cheers to facing our fears, however different they may be!

    • Annalisa,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your fears. With writing, as well as blogging, the more you do it the better you get. Our writing brain is a muscle. Keep at it, and you will find your voice.

  7. Have a GREAT time at PNWA (like it’s possible to have a bad time…) CC Humphries is my FAV! he’s so adorable.
    I’m bummed to miss it this year, but figured I’d better keep my butt in the chair and actually have something finished before I chat up all the agents and editors.
    High 5!

  8. Pingback: WB’s Workshop for Writers & an Update : Inky Fresh Press

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