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WE ARE ONE

NOTE: This blog might seem like a me blog but there are important lessons to learn.

If you would ask any of my elementary, junior high or high school classmates, or teachers for that matter, to describe in one word what I was like in school, you’d probably hear the words quiet, nice, shy, friendly, helpful. I was the person who got along with everyone; Nerds, Jocks, Wall-flowers, Artists, etc. etc. Everyone seemed to include me in their groups, but I always stood on the fringe of their social troupe.

At that time, girls like me graduated and went to work in the mills, or became secretaries, nurses, store clerks, waitresses, teachers or housewives. I didn’t long to be any of those things. I wanted to be a writer. Fortunately, my school had a newspaper so there was a possibly that I might try on the dream, but remember I was shy. Of all the groups I mentioned above, the wall-flowers were my groupies. Then something happened. My parents said, if you want a car you need to get a job to pay for the gas, repairs and insurance. This was the inciting incident that changed my future.

I did get a job, through my aunt, as a waitress. Now waitresses are not shy people. They can be quiet, but being friendly and open earns you much better tips and believe me I learned that lesson fast.  And the next year, I joined the school newspaper staff and even managed to ruffle some feathers with one of my articles. (If you read my current bio, you’ve read that trouble is my middle name. I believable this when it all started.)

Jumping forward; I remain a wall-flower of sorts whenever I enter a new situation. My stomach is still a bag of nerves. I still tend to pick a corner away from the action and scope out the happening playing out in front of me.  I still watch the people who walk in the door with their heads held high, flashing smiles, and who jump right into the conversations of others and I wonder how the hell they became that way.

I remember walking into my first writer’s meeting and first writer’s conference feeling a nervous wreck. But then I remembered my first day working as a waitress, and how nervous I was. Then I recalled the more confident person I’d become when I left that job to go college. It took steps to become that person. They were hard steps to take but the rewards were so great.

Over the years through my careers as a mom, professional volunteer (25 years in the elementary PTO plus other orgs.), national restaurant chain area supervisor, a corporate secretary, and as a writer, I’ve amassed a huge number of friends. I count a number of my writer friends among my most dearest. My Ruby sisters and my sisters of the Pocono-Lehigh Romance Writers (past and present) and others, have helped me through the darkest hours of my life after losing my husband to cancer and then my father a year later the same way. It was because of these relationships that I was forced to look up from the dark hole of depression and see the light of hope. Hope that joy could still be found in life.

Writing has always given me joy, but being a writer and having the gumption to step into uncomfortable situations and meet new people has been a blessing. So, you introverts who are heading off to RWA National next week, good for you for taking that step. If you’re thinking of going to a meeting, workshop or conference, do it. Keep my story in mind and start a conversation with other wallflowers. Start your own gang. Introduce yourself to others while in line or sitting next to someone in a workshop. Exchange business cards, like them on FB or tweeter immediately, join a newsletter or two of those authors who impressed you.  Most of all, be you. Be genuine. And have fun!

 

LAST DAY TO PREORDER!

 

Autumn Jordon is award-winning sneaker wearing Ruby. She writes both romantic suspense/mystery and contemporary romance filled with attitude and laughs. In fact, her fourth release in a Perfect Love Series, Perfect Fall, releases tomorrow July 18, 2017. Preorder today at a special price. She’d love to have you join her newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com

14 responses to “WE ARE ONE”

  1. I’ll be at Nationals next week and I second what Autumn says. Just smile and be friendly–as much as you’re comfortable with. You’ll end up with lifelong friends who are also writers. And they’ll understand you in a way that your family and “normal” friends can’t.

    And congratulations on the new release, Autumn!

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    • Thanks, Beth. I know you’re a lot like me. We connected in New York. In fact, I just, this weekend, I found our picture while at dinner. We had a great time and that wouldn’t have happened unless we had said hello.

      Thanks for the book release wishes.

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  2. Vivi Andrews says:

    Great advice, Autumn. We all build our support group one link at a time and Nationals is a great – if somewhat daunting – place to start. 🙂

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    • Nationals is certainly daunting even for someone who has been there many times. If I were going, my stomach would be cramping now, a week out. But my anxiety wouldn’t keep me home, or hiding in my room. No way. There is too much to learn and experience.

      I really wish I was going. :>( Denver definitely.

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  3. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Your first paragraph really resonates with me, AJ. You could just as easily be describing me. And the career choices after graduating high school…they were all the same for me, too.

    As for writing in high school…I opted for the yearbook instead; writing blurbs for the pictures/events and doing some editing as well. I’ve dabbled in it ever since…but never thought seriously about it as a 2nd career (ha! more like a 3rd, 4th or 5th career) until a few short months ago.

    Great post and great advice for those attending the RWA! Well, not just for those attending the RWA but good advice for anyone when they are feeling like a fish out of water:)

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  4. Liz Talley says:

    Great post, Autumnn (and I like how your name perfectly matches your book ;))

    It’s so hard to tell someone that their first writer meeting is going to be FINE. Or that when they pitch to an editor, that the editor is just a person who gets gas when they eat dairy. It’s so easy to say, so hard to internalize, right? I am not by nature a shy person, but I am cautious which means I like the lay of the land before I “go in.” So I like to see my final destination before taking a leap.

    I try to remind myself that even if I jump and fall, that it’s okay. I can get up and dust myself off. The older I get, the more I realize this. Fall down, get back up. Mess up, do it again. Fail abysmally, find another path. It’s all about your perspective on who you are and what you want. I remind myself that almost everyone successful has a string of failures behind him or her.

    You can’t grow if you aren’t a little uncomfortable. It’s truly worthwhile to force yourself to do the thing that is in front of you.

    Loved this post, friend!

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    • LOL. Thanks, Liz.

      You’re so right. As toddlers we felt uncomfortable taking our first steps, but our sense of adventure called. Over years, we’ve reined in that sense, some more than others. Sometimes I wish was more like those who have given a lack rein to that sense of adventure and travel the world, jump from planes, or dive into shark infested waters to get a closer look at their life, but sigh I can only seem to go so far. Maybe in the next life. Maybe this is a lesson I’ll carry forward. In the meantime, I’ll push a little more here. I’m now able to get on a plane by myself. ;>)

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  5. Rita Henuber says:

    What a wonderful, lovely post. Thank you. Congrats on your new book and wishing you many, many sales.

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  6. Thanks for the inspirational post, Autumn! I’m sure it will resonate with many writers heading to RWA this month. And happy release day a bit early!!!

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  7. Elisa Beatty says:

    Very inspiring post, Autumn!!

    So many writers are introverts by nature, observing quietly while the world swirls by (*raises hand*).

    But we can learn to put ourselves out there in the world and take a more active role in SHAPING it.

    I became a teacher–a loud, enthusiastic, joke-cracking teacher–and my students all laugh when I tell them I’m actually shy.

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