Being the new kid

Good news: It’s 5 AM and I’m already up, so you get a blog post today.  Bad news: It’s because I’m still upset over that issue.  If possible, it got worse yesterday.  (There’s still a little light at the end of the tunnel, but it could quite possibly be a speeding train…Well, I can only do what I can only do.)

Today is the first day of my first writing conference.  I know absolutely no one there and all I can do is flash back to being the new kid at school.  (There was a point where I was the new kid at four different schools in three years.)

I remember showing up each time and looking around nervously, hoping that I’d chosen an outfit that, if not cool, would at least not make me the immediate target of nasty looks.  (And generally realizing at some point later in the year that, as usual, I was a bit in my own world when it came to choosing outfits…)

There’s always a choice to be made.  Do you try to talk to the people who already seem to know each other, hoping that one of them will invite you in to their group? (And thereby subjecting yourself to all the group drama.)  Or do you wander over to the other person who seems to be alone hoping that they’ll be a decent person to hang out with? (And hoping that they’re not on their own due to an unfortunate body odor issue.)

(Or, option 3, which I sometimes take in short-term social situations, which is to sit there in my own world and generally ignore everyone.)

Chances are I’ll be hanging back on this one.  I like to observe and I’m going to be generally cranky for the next few days due to lack of sleep and annoyance at real life.

So, if you happen to be at a writing conference this weekend and see someone sitting alone in the back row, there’s a good possibility it’ll be me.

And because I hate to leave you with nothing of value, a good post I read the other day by Chuck Wendig: The Death of Genre: Drifting Toward a Post Genre Future.  I liked it.  Maybe you will, too.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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4 Responses to Being the new kid

  1. Keri Peardon says:

    I can’t give a lot of advice, as I’m an introvert and have a bit of social phobia, BUT, as I understand it, a lot of writers are introverts, so you may find there are a lot of people kind of hanging back and not socializing. And I tend to find those to be people I can interact with well because they’re low-key, like me.

    You might want to watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk on being an introvert. ( I found it rather uplifting, because she’s right that society puts a lot of emphasis on being social and working in groups, and that’s not always the best way to accomplish something. I really want to read her book; it’s on my wishlist.

    • mhleewriter says:

      Keri – Thanks for the link! Sorry I didn’t thank you earlier, but it was an insane few days (and not just because of the conference.) I CAN talk to people, I just don’t always like to. Kind of like the not wanting to be a member of any club that would have me. I don’t understand when people want to talk to me so I kind of wonder what’s wrong with them if they do. 🙂 (I have issues…)

      • Keri Peardon says:

        I can talk to people, too, but I’m almost never the instigator of conversations (and when I am, it’s usually when I see someone who looks even more lonely and out of place than me).

        I’ve been told I’m interesting to talk to (yea liberal arts education!), and I like to talk once I get started, but I have a limited amount of “people time,” and when that runs out, I’m ready to run out.

        I used to have a coworker who seemed to always be going out and who had a list of current friends two or three times longer than the list of friends I’ve had my entire life. Just listening to everything she did with them made me exhausted.

      • mhleewriter says:

        Exactly! I’m good for three or four nights out in a busy week, but then I need alone time away from people. And I much prefer the one-on-one dinner with a good friend to the posse at a club or bar.

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