Monday, December 10, 2018

TRIBE OF MENTORS Q.5: Most Worthwhile Investment

Welcome also to the latest installment of my TRIBE OF MENTORS by Timothy Ferriss series.

Earlier posts:
Q.1 about books
Q.2 about best purchase under $100
Today's question:

What is one of the best and most worthwhile investments you've ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

So many things come to mind! And they all have to do with educating myself about writing. There's my SCBWI membership, and all the conferences I've ever attended... the Artist's Way support group I joined a few years ago... the writing retreats with sweet friends... the website, the bookmarks, the postcards... BUT... if I had to pick one thing, it would be this: learning to be an effective public speaker.

No one tells you when you say "I want to write and publish a book" that a big part of that life is sharing yourself in a public way -- especially when you write for kids.

The year LEAVING GEE'S BEND was released -- my first novel for children -- I gave over 100 presentations! I presented at schools and book festivals and quilting groups and writing groups and teacher/librarian/educator conferences. I'm a shy person who would much rather be behind the scenes than onstage, so this wasn't easy! However, the more I've done it, the better I've gotten at delivering the message I want... and not just delivering it, figuring out what it is in the first place. :)

possibly my first school visit
as a children's book author
Being able to talk about books is a whole separate skill set than writing them. I'm still learning. But I can do it now without quaking or being sick, which is a huge improvement. I've successfully addressed students from Kindergarten all the way through college... writers of all ages... even auditoriums full of middle schoolers, which is still the most intimidating! BUT. Some of my most meaningful interactions have been with middle schoolers. And it's those connections that make facing the fear, creating the presentations, working to get better at it... all worth it.

Also: something that's helped me on this public speaking journey and in all areas of my life: a regular meditation practice. I use Headspace. Check it out!


  1. I wish you could come speak to our students! I'm so impressed with how you have taught yourself to be an effective public speaker. Thanks for sharing that journey!

  2. I remember when you spoke to our gym full of middle schoolers. You had them in the palm of your hand. And speaking in a gym with kids on bleachers has to be one of the most unfriendly settings ever. And then our small gathering of book club students who got to meet with you later that day - precious memories. So glad you've faced this fear and stepped out to share your journey with so many writers, young and old.

  3. After probably 30+ years of swimming, I invested in the time it took to completely take apart my stroke and put it back together again. (w/help from TOTAL IMMERSION by Terry Laughlin). I'm a stronger, smoother swimmer because of that.


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