Sunday, November 19, 2006

How Thick Is Your Skin?

I love entering a room of Rotary members, or a full room of working women who have come just to hear me speak during their lunch. Any writer would appreciate the attention of 200 folk gathered at a hotel for a seminar. I've spoken to groups as large as a 300-400 people. Delivering a speech to that many souls is exhilarating, and yes, a bit nerve-wracking.

But I need to tell you of the lesser events. Of the disappointments. Of the events that humble your spirit, let you know just where you fall in the scheme of things. For to say every place I go is an event, a success, a triumph ... I'd be one foolish writer. One hamburg short of a happy meal. For this blog to be real, you need reality. So ... here you go.

The past couple of days I've spoken at two different libraries. One with an audience of two, and today's audience ... five (one was my husband.) Is it exhilarating and nerve-wracking? No. Obviously, not. But as a writer promoting her first book, I've learned not to take it personal. Many factors are involved. But you're there to get the word out. Even if only to ONE soul.

So, you throw away the speech. Today was really ... pleasant, because not only did I read from the book, of the five in the audience two were writers. We had a great conversation about writing and encouraging each other. The library had set a table with snacks, juice, and soft drinks ... so we enjoyed ruining our supper while we talked.

Was it a waste of time? Some writers would definitely think so. But, I sold six books from those two sparse audiences. It more than paid for the gas to get there. Sure, I could've used the time to be home writing, but I've got a book that's in the process of being promoted. I'll go wherever and whenever to do that. And if only one person shows up, that one person may lead to more book sales than you could imagine.

You have to have a thick skin as a writer. A thick skin not only to ward off rejection and criticism, but showing up to read and talk about your book to an audience of ... one.

Here's a quote by Srully D. Blotnick for every writer to wrap their head around and never forget. "What looks like a loss may be the very event which is subsequently responsible for helping to produce the major achievement of your life."

An old Appalachian song my grandma sang and played on her banjo was, "Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life ... it will help us every day, it will brighten all the way, if we'll keep on the sunny side of life ..." (Don't know who wrote the lyrics, but it's an old song and maybe you've heard it ...) Just remember to sing it during those times you need to thicken your skin.

Blessings to you and yours.

1 comment:

Dena said...

Great attitude, Pam! I'm a firm believer that whoever shows up at an event is who was meant to be there--be it 5 or 500. You never know what message you may have people need to hear.