~Thomas Carlyle 1795-1881, Philosopher and Author
I’ve said this before, I’m a planner, organizer, prioritizer, and efficiency queen.
Except when I’m asked if I can do something, then I reply with an eager “Sure!” which is later followed by an afterthought of rambling, panicked questions “Um, what did you need me to do again?” “By when?” “Who will I be working with?” “Will I be paid?”
Case in point: the key note speech I gave last Saturday morning to a group 130 girls, aged 10-13ish, for the HGNA.org. I was approached in the fall after hosting a party for my young writers who successfully completed their first novel during NaNoWriMo.
A student’s mom asked if I’d be interested in teaching a class for the girls group she leads. “Sure!!” I replied.
Soon after, another mom of another student asked if I’d give the key note speech on journal writing for that very group. “Sure!!” I replied.
A month out to plan, I wasn’t even sweating. Yet.
“So, Kristen,” I asked the tall brunette with busy eyes and hands one Saturday during our FRoG sessions, “will this be a casual, ‘sittin’ in a circle-type’ of group I’ll be speaking to?”
“Oh, no, you’ll be on a stage with a mic,” she responded, eyes darting to her clipboard, the clock and the growing line of parents collecting their kids from Saturday morning workshops.
“Wow, a stage. And a mic. Huh. So, about how many girls are you expecting?” I asked weakly.
“Oh, we have 120 registered but can get upwards of 150 by the date of the Chick Chat event.” And off she went to deliver a blender to the culinary class.
Oh. My. God.
Journaling, journaling, what do I know about journaling? I write in one. I have some juicy entries from high school. No, not appropriate, Mar. I had a purple hardcover journal with stickers from grade school- that would rock if I could read something to these girls that I wrote at their age.
Digging in attics, storage spaces, basements and under beds, the planning went off with many-a-hitch. My grade school journal is MIA. So, some perv out there is reading how I swooned over the blonde-haired, blue eyed athletes of our small school, Matthew and Kenny. Huh, I married the tall, dark , handsome type, instead.
So, I had my little note cards, a rough outline and a sample of essay writing prompts on the ready. Kristen introduced me to the lively crowd of girls, all sitting at rounds of 7, decorating their new journals and buzzing with excitement about the day of events and entertainment ahead.
A small round of applause and the mic was thrust at my chest. “Good morning, ladies,” I belted out much too loudly. “I’m not used to talking on a microphone, so this is a bit weird for me.” Some snickers. “Well, I’m here to share a little story with you about this fight I had with my mom.” *pause* “But, I know you girls never fight with your moms, right?” Laughter!
I got through the 30 minute speech, as if in an out-of-body experience (heart pounding, lightheadedness, my feet now hovering above the floorboards) when a line of girls formed at the center front stage. They had their journals opened and were holding out multi-colored gel pens. What, the pens are leaking? I thought.
No, they wanted my autograph! I smiled and took each pen, scribbling things like “Be true to yourself” and “Keep writing” as if I did this everyday.
Everyday. Maybe someday. But without action, I wouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Don’t doubt yourself. Or if you tend to, just plunge headfirst – ask questions later. Then the doubt can’t sabotage your goals.