Being on a Panel

Picked this illustration because it was the third thing that came up when I googled "awkward" in an image search. Because awkward was how I felt for most of today.

Okay, so just got back from the "Push to Publish" event with Philadelphia Stories, a day-long writing retreat. I was supposed to pretend that I was the expert. This means that I was one of the editors in the "Speed Dating with the Editors" portion of the day and on two other panels, "Is the Short Story Collection Dead?" and "Writing for Blogs." I was more nervous about the first one because it seemed like we should all just show up and vote "yes" or "no." But it went pretty well, even though I felt like a total phony--giving advice about submitting your work when I haven't sent out a short story in, oh, I don't know, two years? Strangely, the first panel went better than the second one--I was more confident about talking about blogging but there were two really professional bloggers on my panel, one of whom brought her laptop so she could show everyone our blogs while we spoke. Once I realized she was going to do this, I wanted to leave. My blog lay-out sucks. The content might be okay, but the lay-out is completely amateur. So, I stumbled along, trying to say something intelligent about how it's important to keep a blog as a writer, because it's another way to force you to write...And then I just decided to shut up and let the experts speak. I attempted to nod in all the right places, even though I didn't know what they were talking about most of the time.

Met lots of people I liked, and a few I didn't particularly like because they fit the pretentious writer stereotype which includes:
1. Wearing a cape.
2. Name dropping other writers as your bff's.
3. Ignoring the coughing and shuffling of the audience who don't really care to hear in detail about your personal experience, because what you have to say is more important than anything else in the world.

I'm bad at this kind of thing. I'm bad at self-promotion. The book dude did have copies of Wonderful Girl and I talked one person into buying a copy, but couldn't bring myself to mention the book in either panels. I am even reluctant to like add a link to Wonderful Girl here--this is how I know I will never be wildly successful. I'm too apologetic about asking people to pay attention to me.

Did work up some courage to talk to one of the literary agents who also happens to work at Drexel and is on the board of The Painted Bride Quarterly. He gave me his email address and so I will try to follow up.


Cecily said…
Dude, I thought you were great. And Christine leaves me in the dust too--she's a social media geek and was talking way over my head most of the time. I just kindasorta know some of what she spoke of. LOL.

I think your layout is awesome! Your blogroll is great too--I LOVE Go Fug Yourself and will totally not name drop the fact that one of them reads me. Heh.

Someone was in a CAPE? And I missed it? Sheesh.
Aimee said…
I know you didn't cut and paste this response...Yes, there was a literary editor in a cape. Can't believe you missed it. I truly did love your letter to John McCain. What will we do if he somehow, mysteriously, wins?
Michelle Wittle said…
You will follow up with the PBQ. I will make you do it. I will bug you day and night until I know that you have done it.

Also, have a book, you have been published...most of the attendees can't say that, so don't sell yourself so short.

You do need to promote yourself. It is part of the writing community.

I think it all boils down to one you want to be a writer?

Stop reading this and email Dan...NOW!!!!!!!
Love ya!!!!
Aimee said…
Omigod, you're right! I'm emailing him now.