Tuesday, August 13, 2019

4 Ways to Go Beyond Prepared

Last Saturday I attended my state chapter's ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) meeting. I learned a lot and met new writers. What I want to share with you today is the golden nugget I came home with at the after meeting chat time. 

Caveat-I knew this--thought I had this--but didn't.
A woman picked up my book from the book table, gazed for a brief moment at the cover, turned the book over and began to read the back copy WHEN a second woman--one who had already read the book--shared what she enjoyed about the story. The second woman set her hand on my shoulder and said, "Here is the author, I'll let her tell you."


At that very second, Miss Introvert shoved her way to the forefront of my being, turning me into a mute. Did I have the answers? Only about a thousand. Did I know the story as well as my name? Definitely. Was I ecstatic that a reader became interested in the book and another became a cheerleader for the story? Absolutely. 

Then why did I not seem prepared or enthusiastic over this wonderful story?

Sigh. Because the introvert shoved her way to the forefront of my being. And I let her.

The key here is: that I let her.

We have a calling. Last week, Ashley talked about our Holy Calling. Scroll down to read her enlighting post. 

There are many tasks/people/events/life that squelch our work both around us and in us. There is one who works 24/7 to throw these things in our path, preventing the stories from reaching readers.

Our job: go beyond prepared. There is no MI6 "should we choose to accept it". We must go beyond prepared and fulfill our calling.


Here are four steps to help us put Miss Introvert in her place.

Practice pitches you plan to use at conferences, answers about your books/manuscripts, why you write in your genre, etc. Take them to the point where they become conversational instead of rote memorization. Story form is great when sharing your work with Jane and Joe America. 

I know. We have done this. A thousand times and yet Miss Introvert still pushes her way to the front of our being. SO. Here are some tips:

*Practice them with your family (This is so difficult!  They may tease, but it is done in love. When--not if--you master this skill, you will benefit so very much. They will invite you to practice again with them. Bring popcorn).

*Practice them with your friends (They are more compassionate. Sometimes too much--even when we ask them to give constructive criticism. But it is a great practice.)

*Practice them with your neighbor (This is a challenge. She/he may not know you are an author yet. But they will, right?)

*Practice them with a stranger. (Oddly enough this is obtainable. One day on Instagram someone wrote a post about a family member. The girl had a beautiful, yet uncommon name. The post struck me because the main character's name in one of my stories had the same spelling. In my comment, I mentioned my character. That I chose her name because of its beautiful sound and unique, yet simple spelling. The person replied with great joy and interest, wanting the link to my book to purchase it. I never expected that response. 

I must admit, practicing with a stranger was easier to do on social media than when sitting next to one on an airplane. I'll have a chance to practice that in September when I fly to the ACFW national conference. If you see me there, ask me how well I did. Hold me accountable. :)

How about you? How have you kept Miss Introvert from taking charge?

~Mary Vee
Photo Credit: Canva
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Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Glynis said...

This happened to me the other night and I froze just like you did! I was at a friend's house for a girl's night/happy hour when she introduced me as a writer and that I have a movie out. So of course someone says, "What's it about?" and I stuttered through a logline pitch that I've done a thousands times, but wasn't expecting to have to give. It was embarrassing!

So the Boy Scouts were right again--always be prepared! :)

Great post, Mary.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks, Glynis.
Write again to tell of the successful time. You've probably had many. Still it's nice to read about them. :)