Oh boy, looking back. I just answered a questionnaire for something. Two answers were about my speaking "career."
I’m making myself do school visits. I was petrified of public speaking. In college, if I was called on, my face would turn tomato colored, I’d sweat, and generally not participate. Somehow if you force yourself to do things you’re uncomfortable with, you can grow to like them or at least make them tolerable I don’t think I’ll ever love doing school visits (they’re draining!) but I don’t mind them anymore.
My first public talk was at a big B&N store. I’d never spoken to a group larger than 10 or so people and they were bussing in 200! I was told I needed to read my book and do a Q&A. Easy enough, I figured. Wrong! I was informed once I go tthere that I needed to talk for an hour! I was mortified. I had nothing prepared. Needless to say, the talk didn’t go well and I avoided public speaking for another 5 years after that.
When I was in school I didn't talk at all. Many people may have assumed I was stuck up or thought I was better than everyone else, but in fact, like most shy people, I thought everyone was better than me! That's why I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to be judged or made fun of. I slowly came out of my shell. Now people I know at work and my friends who didn't know me in college can't imagine that I was ever shy! For me that's hard to fathom because inside I will always be that shy insecure person. I think NYC sucks the shyness right out of you and like I said above, the more you make yourself do something the more comfortable with it you become.
After graduating I delivered pizzas for a year. I submitted my stories while working there. When it was slow I'd sit at one of the tables and take out my stamps and envelopes and put my "dear editor" letters in them. When I moved to NYC I hoped to get closer to my dreams. I worked at an art supply store and did more low wage monotony. I also got an apartment that I couldn't afford and my parents had to bail me out. At that point I swore that I wouldn't get published and I was destined not to do anything meaningful with my life. After all, how many "dear editor" letters could I send out? But after putting together my new and improved portfolio, complete with bubble wrap cover, something happened....