There wasn't really a prize for the Mslexia competition - except for the winner - but they have arranged a 'networking' opportunity. We are to be exposed to editors and agents en masse, and in order to further our fledgling careers, we are invited to a day long workshop in promoting our books. I can see this is a brilliant idea, and I'm looking forward to the workshop, but I'm not at my best in social settings. I suspect if you are an agent, this is probably your workplace, but I wonder how many authors can stride up to a total (and possibly better dressed) stranger and say 'Hi, I'm Reb and my book is about...'
Since I have an agent, I'm focusing on the editors, and I suppose, honing my skills in case my agent gets struck by lightning or gets bored with my writing. I just wonder how many writers are party animals? It just seems like a reclusive activity, well suited to shy woodland creatures who shrivel in the harsh sunlight of publicity. I'm sure there's a wide range of personalities, and plenty of natural extroverts also writing, but I've met quite a few of the retiring types. As someone with social anxieties, the networking party is one of my worst nightmares, simple as that. I shall start stammering, drop my drink (which will save me drinking it, which would be worse) and go bright red. I may be naked, without my homework...OK, probably not, but it may feel like that. I'll probably end up chatting to one of the caterers, starting with 'I'm not really a writer, I'm a psychologist' followed by her asking me if it's normal that her daughter wets the bed at three years, four months and eight days and telling me all about her postnatal depression. I suppose it's just two hours, but I'm really nervous about it anyway. Hopefully the workshop will help. At least I have met, in a cyber way, most of the other shortlisted writers.
I am grateful, I can see that if I didn't have an agent this would be a fantastic opportunity to impress one; I just think my writing is more impressive socially than I am.