I suspect it’s because they always felt like I was walking through a foggy cloud of nerves. As a kindergartener, I was entering a new world, learning a new language, and all I remember is my teacher showing me how to tie my shoes. Of course I had plenty of first days of school, and I was oftentimes the new girl, worried about whether I’d fit in or wear the right outfits. And college…well, it was such a huge campus I thought I’d get lost in it.
You’d think that after so many firsts, I’d have figured out how to handle the nerves. After all, isn’t every new endeavor in life a lot like the first days of school? We’re a mixture of excited and intimidated at the thought of meeting new people, anxious to learn new things yet scared we might fail, and always ever so obsessed with fitting in.
I felt this way the first time I attended a writer’s conference as an author and was asked to speak in front of the 200+ writers in the audience. I felt this way when I first learned I’d been chosen as a 2014 Deb, honored but also nervous about being trusted with such a long tradition by such a talented group of writers. And I feel this way still sometimes, when I think of my launch into the publishing world.
But then I remember: I’m only nervous because it hasn’t happened yet. I keep thinking I need to take steps to become “ready” while forgetting that the most important step is one none of us can do ahead of time: the doing.
Things are always scary when they’re mixed with the anticipation of the unknown. Once they actually begin, we become so busy living it, enjoying it, tackling it, that we rarely give a second thought to nerves. This is how it worked with that writer’s conference I spoke at, and it’s how it worked once I started getting to know the Debs.
No amount of planning could have prepared me for the thrill of the actual moment when I looked around and thought, “This is so much better than I ever imagined it could be.”
I suspect my publishing journey will be the same. Only this time, I’m embracing the nerves and pushing away the foggy clouds. I want to remember every single first along the way.
How do you deal with nerves when you’re approaching a new first in your life?
Photo credit: Dave & Margie Hill / Kleerup