No I didn’t go on a zombie run or do a locked room breakout. I went to meet a bunch of authors and hear them read sections from their novels. All were from Bloodhound Books, and one of them was me.
Meeting authors doesn’t sound that terrifying does it? Well, in fact, it’s not. Even we crime fiction authors are actually a very nice bunch. In fact, it was a great night. All but 10 minutes of it were great. But there were those ten minutes. Ten minutes, when I had to stand up in front of 60 plus people and read out my own work – TERRIFYING!!!
Here’s the thing, I am afraid of people. It’s not quite the same as I’m afraid of spiders – I don’t squeal and shout “kill it!” when I see another human, sometimes want to, but generally, I don’t. Yet the fact remains – I am afraid.
I’m afraid I’m going to mess up. Make a fool of myself. I fear being laughed at, heckled, verbally attacked, physically attacked. I write crime so I spend a great deal of my time thinking about just how horrendous people are to each other. That’s what I fear.
I should add that this is related to my ever-present depression. Because of the depression, I have spent most of my life trying not to leave a mark. Hide in the shadows, don’t make a sound. For those who actually know me, and are thinking – what? She’s not like that – Actually I am. I learned years ago that that behaviour gets me nothing and actually hurts me, so I try to overcome it. Probably over compensate a fair amount. People assume I’m standoffish, well, they don’t assume it, they’re right – I am standoffish – until I get to know someone, then I can relax and be me.
But this is a confidence trick, inside I am still a scared little girl.
I also want to make clear that this is not just a vague nervousness, its real heart attack terror time. I worry about going into the office every day because of the number of people there so imagine how I feel when faced with a bunch of strangers. Anyone could be in that bunch – including the real-life serial killer let alone the ones in my imagination. Which means I was literally quaking in my Doc Martins, my heart was hammering like I had run a mile (like I could run a whole mile!)
So I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing this post – well it’s not that I want to mention that
LOCKED UP on will be released on 7th SEPTEMBER,
or anything. Well okay, it is, but it’s more than that. The author’s job doesn’t stop at writing a book, we also have to promote ourselves and our work, and shrinking Violets do not do that well. Which means I have got to face this fear and overcome it.
Next question – how?
Well, exposure therapy. Basically, I’m looking for open mike events to attend. I am going to go face my fear where it is ‘safe’ to do so. It won’t be easy or fun, but I have to do it and the more I do it, the more I can trick the audience that I have confidence, and then who knows, maybe one day I might even convince myself.