Being A Writer When You're Not Actually Writing

So this week I was on the Sunshine Coast, at the Voices on the Coast Literature Festival. This was the view from my window in the morning:
Over three days I got to hang out with some lovely authors I'd met before, and made friends with some I didn't know. I gave six talks to groups of sweet and responsive kids, several of whom bought my books afterwards and got me to sign them, and some of whom told me that they had already read one (or more) and really loved it (or them). I arrived home last night exhausted but very happy.

The weird thing is that I have done quite a few of these events now, and every time, before I leave, I get so nervous that I throw up.

It's not the public speaking. I love talking about my books! That's fun.
It's not the socializing (though I am shy and I do get anxious before meeting new people).

I thought about this really hard and I realised what I'm most nervous about before these trips is the actual travelling. What if I can't check in; will I be able to find the bus at the other end; what if I don't know when to get off? It's the same if I'm driving myself to a gig. I fret about whether I'll get lost; will I make it there on time; will I find a parking spot, and if I do, will I be able to get into it?

What this fear boils down to, is that I will get into trouble somehow and have to Ask A Stranger For Assistance. This idea sends shivers of dread down my spine. I know it doesn't make sense, but there you go.

On a related but slightly different topic, it so happens that while I was away, I was reading a book about introverts (drained by spending time with people) and extroverts (energised by spending time with people): Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking. I suspect that most, but not all, authors are introverts. So at the end of a day spent talking about ourselves or giving workshops, chatting to people we don't know well or have only just met, and mingling with festival organisers and sponsors, it's no wonder that we all stagger off the bus and collapse in a catatonic heap, unable to speak or move. It's a lovely experience, but, boy, it is fatiguing.


  1. My biggest, most paralyzing phobia is a fear of awkward social interactions. Honestly, it stops me doing things I know will make me happy.

  2. Same. It's so ridiculous. We need to do a course or something. But that could be socially awkward...