I survived!

on January 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

I didn’t throw up and I didn’t pass out.  No one was more surprised than me!  Let me start at the beginning…

I belong to the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers.  It’s a fabulous group of women who support each other in our writing goals.  Every month, we have a dinner meeting.  The inspiration and motivation I receive from being with these remarkable women is priceless, and that doesn’t even include the wealth of writing and publishing information I have learned from the speakers.

Every meeting starts with a ’round the room’ opportunity to briefly introduce yourself to the group and talk about where you are in your writing goals and accomplishments.  I have belonged to the group for over a year now and I have never taken this opportunity.  Talking to the women seated at my table was pretty painless; there are about 8 of us and usually at least 3 conversations going at the same time.

January’s meeting started in the usual way.  Patricia’s working on a book she had set aside for quite a while.  Betty’s 11th book will be out on the 31st and we are all invited to attend the book launch.  Nancy is attending the Writers Unite to Fight Cancer conference in late February.  Then it was Maria’s turn.  She was at my table that night, instead of her usual spot.  We’re known as the ‘shy table’ because I’m not the only member that hasn’t spoken and we tend to huddle in the back.

Maria spoke about her book, then she challenged us shy people to get up there and speak.  I can’t remember her exact words, but I promised myself (and Susan, who was sitting next to me) that I would do it… next month.

The meeting continued and Larry James spoke.  I had never even heard of him, but I was immediately in awe.  He talked about networking and had personal examples to prove he knew what he was talking about.  He got a photo opportunity with Barbara Walters after being on her show, just because he asked!  Apparently she doesn’t do that.

As he winded down his very motivating talk, he offered a printed copy of his e-book to one of the ‘shy’ members if they would get up there and speak.  A woman at the table in front of me immediately jumped up.  What a relief!  She did great and we all applauded her.  Larry answered a few questions and then he changed my life.

He said he wanted another shy person to speak.  He offered the bribe to autograph his story in A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Susan (on my right) said, “Kitty, go for it.”  Nancy (on my left) said, “You can do it, Kitty.”  As Nancy said this, she bumped my elbow, causing my hand to go up a little… and I finished the job by raising it the rest of the way up.  Then I stood up and took a deep breath.

I wasn’t dressed as nicely as most of the women.  Everyone dresses so professionally; the beauty in the room would make any man stare.  My pants were baggy, my blouse was tight, but I knew the vibrant shade of teal blue looked good with my hair.  I put one sneaker in front of the other and was in the front of the room before I realized it.  I tried to swallow as I took the microphone Larry offered, but my mouth was dry.

I introduced myself… said I was working on my memoir and mentioned that I had recently joined Toastmasters.  Then I said I spoke to Patricia earlier about how grateful I was for this group of supportive women that she had brought together.  There was applause as Larry signed his story and I hustled back to my chair.  Larry answered another question and Patricia ended the meeting.  It was a blur to me.  My heart was pounding with excitement!

The women at my table complimented me, saying I did a good job.  Dee came over and asked about Toastmasters and also said I did great.  I felt empowered!  I went up front to purchase Larry’s networking book, and when I said “Thank you” I hope he knew it was for more than the book.

When I got to work the next morning, I asked to be put on the Toastmaster schedule to give my first speech.  I told everyone who would listen about my speaking in front of my writer’s group.  I’m going to be ready to speak when we go around the room at February’s meeting.  No… I’m ready now.

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