Monday, May 7, 2012

Stamina Schmamina - Energy SOS

If my experience this weekend at the Virginia Romance Writers For the Love of Writing Conference is any indication, I am in serious trouble.

I've been attending conferences, both big and small, since 2007. As a natural extrovert who enjoys crowds, I always have a good time. But until now, I've always attended as a nobody.

That's not an insult to myself, it's just an observation. I've always been a face in the crowd, blending in and able to sit back and observe. Until 2010, I never even had to pitch. Mostly because I didn't have a manuscript TO pitch.

In other words, I was a person to whom no one paid attention. But this year is different. This year I'm a Golden Heart® finalist and I keep hearing over and over how we're going to be treated like rock stars. Agents and editors will want to chat. A packed schedule with dinners, a reception and the big awards night.

I thought I could handle all the fuss and attention until I attended the local conference for ONE day this weekend and was worn out by lunch. Plus, I had three pitches and was HORRIBLE during the first one. Bless that agent for her extreme patience and kindness. It was like an out-of-body experience. I was a wreck going in, freaking about my pitch as always, and rambled all over that poor woman before she could even sit down and get situated.

My brain was screaming, "Shut up and calm down. Let the woman put her purse on the floor!!!" but the mouth was off and running. I don't even know what I was saying!! She still asked for pages, but with little enthusiasm and I don't blame her one bit. She likely thinks I'm nuts and rightly so.

Thankfully, my two afternoon pitches went much better. I decided to forget about the pre-written pitch stuff and just wing it. Worked beautifully. Still not sure exactly what I said, but at least I came across as sane, clear, and calm. The agent requested pages and the editor made me feel great even though she said there wasn't much she could do for me. Oh but she was wrong.

What she did was boost my confidence and let me know my instincts about something were spot on. If I ever find a way to work with that woman, I'll jump at the chance.

But here's the thing. I was there for ONE day. Seven hours. And only had to drive three miles to get there. Yet, within minutes of walking into my house, I was sound asleep. I'm going to be in Anaheim for six days with maybe four times this level of activity. Not to mention jumping three time zones to get there then losing three hours (or more) on the way home.

Chances of survival are not looking good.

So this is what I want to know. How do you keep yourself up for an event of this kind? Be it a large family reunion, a work function, or even a long trip. Natural remedies to boost energy? Or maybe something to calm the nerves. (I'm REALLY going to need that.) I don't meditate but maybe I should try it? Too bad I don't drink anymore. (Which I'm sure puts a dent in my pirate reputation.)

PS: The conference was wonderful and I have to give a big thank you and kudos to all who volunteered to make this event happen. As an event planner, I know how stressful these things are. Amazing job was done by all and Cathy Maxwell gave the best speech I've ever heard. And I've heard a lot of them. Barbara Samuel's Voice workshop was the icing on my conference cake!


Maureen said...

Well, for one thing, I'll be there. You want me to be your assistant for the conference? I mean, I have the one day of presidential stuff to attend, but otherwise, I'll be your wingman.

Now, how did I manage at RT? I wasn't a celebrity, but I acted one. (Hoping the reputation will rub off, in a good way... Rub on?)

I trained. I walked more and more each day so I'd have more stamina. I ate really well the three weeks before the con. I used my sleeping pills that three weeks before. I sent stuff ahead of time so I'd have less to handle when I got there... I drank a lot of water.

And some booze while there.

So! You try to walk more and more. Use your Wii, dance to music on your iPod. Eat really healthy the weeks before. Send me stuff you don't want to pack...I'll bring it with me. And make some room on that schedule they hand you to go to Disneyland and ride some rides and scream really, really loud.

And when you get to the rock star you are! ;-)

Marnee Bailey said...

Boosting energy? Um, I'm listening.... :)

Seriously, I live on caffeinated beverages. That's probably not the positive pom-pom waving you were hoping for. LOL!!

Congrats on the pitches and the requests! Great job!

Marnee Bailey said...

PS, I'll play more when I get back from dropping the big boy off at pre-school.

irisheyes said...

First of all, you are very smart to start thinking about this now and not on July 20th! And I would second what Maureen said - eat healthy and exercise and build up your immune system so you don't get sick after it's all over.

I changed my diet about 6-8 weeks ago and started working part time. I have more energy now than I've had in the past 10 years! I fought it, but there's something to all that talk about eating right! I'm still working on the exercise aspect of it all :)

TerriOsburn said...

It would help if I had the name of the conference right. Fool For Love was the name of the contest, not the conference. So that's fixed.

I was doing really well on the eating healthier front, but you know what can throw that off? Lack of funds. Hit a rough patch which means I have a ramen noodle/mac & cheese budget right now. But I'm still trying. Nothing fried. Not eating out. I'm maintaining my weight so that's good.

I definitely need to stop putting off the exercise. Pooch and I could make two trips around the neighborhood instead of just one. And the Wii must be incorporated. I went out of my way to buy that Just Dance 3 game for Christmas, and we've never played it.

I don't remember being this tired back during M&M and the difference might be I was getting more sleep back then.

So Chance is right and so is Irish. More movement, better stuff going in. But what about the being "on" thing? I had an agent say she already knew my name before I sat down. Oddly enough, that threw me further into the insane clown posse mindset. She'd "heard" of me? Wha....?

I'm amazed that people chase fame and notoriety. Even this tiny bit is unsettling.

MsHellion said...

The cat picture is hilarious and what I'm feeling RIGHT THIS SECOND.

Exercise creates more energy. I don't know why, but it does. I suggest more daily exercise.

I also suggest more leafy green vegetables, but I might as well suggest you get a body transplant for all the effort you'll make that happen.

Sleep is also good and preferred.

I'd also look into getting a couple spare days after the conference to "RECOVER." Otherwise, you'll be a work zombie.

TerriOsburn said...

You can keep preaching vegetables but it's not going to happen. I'm 40 years old. I DO NOT EAT VEGETABLES. I'm not going to suddenly start. I take a Green supplement and can tell I feel better with it. But that's as far as I'll go.

But there's still the issue of the attention. I can't sit in the lobby as an invisible person. My name is out there. This is the classic case of careful what you wish for. I'm happy and excited to have the dream this much closer, but it's...WEIRD. LOL!

I have to be on, like a performer. THAT is more exhausting than I expected. And then there's the pressure....

MsHellion said...

I've never really known you to be off. You're an extravert, as you pointed out, and extraverts are pretty much always on, aren't they??

TerriOsburn said...

Even I can't be on full time at conferences. It's like sensory overload 24/7. You need the quiet, invisible moments to regroup. Not that I'm suddenly a Nora or something, but the invisibility is a bit less than before. I think the knowledge I'll be expected to "mingle" with agents and editors and be totally normal feels the most daunting. LOL!

MsHellion said...

:) Isn't this what bathroom stalls are for?

You mingle with them, I I know you'll be fine. :) In the meantime, be sure to carry a brown paper bag and an emergency dose of Xanex with you at all times. :)

Nancy said...

Terri, congrats on being a finalist and on taking advantage of pitch opportunities. If it makes you feel better, my first individual appointment was a disaster. I didn't have a turning point summary of the book prepared, and that's what the editor wanted. So I went through the entire story at about 200 words per minute. I suspect I came across as a lunatic.

The trick to dealing with big conferences, for me, is to take a breath when I need it. I go sit in my room and read one of the free books for an hour. I hang with friends, so I'm not on company manners every second. I try to get plenty of sleep, even if that means skipping the ungodly early (considering my late nights) conference breakfast. RWA is run by morning people. I'm not one.

If I miss a workshop, I can get it on the CD. Realizing this makes for a less frantic conference experience. Sometimes it's good to leave the hotel and eat breakfast or lunch among people who aren't there for the conference, even if that means missing a great speaker (easier to do at some conference locations than others). Sanity is more important.

Being a GH finalist adds to the insanity because there'll be a practice and a reception added to your schedule. Most finalists are friendly, but there's occasionally someone who just doesn't like other people. If you meet someone like that, let her snippiness be her problem. Shared nervousness can aid in bonding.

I won't be in Anaheim, but I wish you luck. Only one person per category can win, but lots of people can sell!

TerriOsburn said...

Nancy - I have learned the "You don't have to attend every workshop" lesson. In the last couple years, I've attended very few, partly because of being disappointed so often. But I'm one of those who is afraid to miss something so my brain is already in "I have to go to that and that and that..." That crazy game has to stop now.

Good idea about disappearing into my room. That has been a haven for me in the past. And Chance is right in that I WILL make time to blow off steam in Disneyland. This 2012 class is so amazing I'm thinking I'm lucky to have finaled with this bunch. Not a bad apple among us as far as I can tell, which will make it even more fun.

I'm not even thinking about winning. Just finaling feels like a win. You get to bypass most slush piles, agents are more patient (see horror story above), and other writers take you more seriously. That's all good stuff.

Oh, and I could see if this had been my first pitch ever, but I've done this before. Just no excuse. I really don't know what happened.

Wish you were going! Looks like most of the people I know won't be there. LOL! Poor Chance really is going to be my lifeline!

Janga said...

I echo what everyone said about the exercise and sleep before the conference, Ter. I also found back in the day when I was attending conferences that getting out of the hotel and into the outdoors helped. Deep breathing works--especially if excitement causes you to hyperventilate. And be careful not to get underhydrated. Best advice I've seen--dark chocolate is an energy booster. Have a piece.

I'm sorry you were energy-depleted, but how exciting that you are now a name. And, oh, I envy you the Barbara Samuel workshop on voice. I quote her every time the subject of voice comes up.

TerriOsburn said...

The workshop was amazing, Janga. I told her I was going to work on my pitch but I'd be listening. (I was the workshop moderator.) She just smiled and said, "No you won't. This is a very interactive workshop." And she was right!

And every timed writing exercise revealed more and more about ourselves and our voices. I didn't really learn anything new about mine, but several had voice epiphanies. One called her husband and said, "So it turns out I write dark, epic stories." He laughed and said, "I could have told you that."

We're always the last to know! LOL! Get outside. Fresh air. Plenty of water. Adding these to the list.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I am going to 4th, or it 5th, the exercise and drink lots of water suggestions. Water is really key to staying energized.

Even more so, is giving yourself permission to just be. Don't second guess yourself and be ready for any and all opportunities but in an easy way that doesn't' cause stress.

Lastly, take deep breaths and let the world revolve around you for once. Oh - and hopefully I'll be there too to offer some help. :) Deep Breaths! Lavender oil to rub on your wrists isn't a bad idea either :)

TerriOsburn said...

Let the world revolve around me? You mean that I don't have to be the one pushing it like some giant merry-go-round? LOL! That's a totally foreign concept to me. :)

I hope you'll be there! And lavender oil, huh? That would make me think of my grandmother, which would be soothing by itself.

Maybe by the time I get there, I'll have figured out a way to just sit back and enjoy this. It'll take some effort (see "pushing" comment above) but I can do it.

MsHellion said...

Of course, water! I really need to drink more of that!

I want Terri to share more about the voice class. Besides, "It didn't tell me I didn't already know about my voice." *LOL* Yeesh.

Ooh, Sabrina, I LOVE Lavender Oil!! :) Good tip!

TerriOsburn said...

I can do that! Okay, here's what you do. Get yourself a timer. Set it for 2 or 3 minutes for each writing prompt then write without lifting your pen. Even if you write "I hate this and it's stupid" just keep writing. (That's right from Barbara and I thought it was funny.)

I'm only going to include a few since you really should take her course if you get the chance and I don't want to give it all here for free.

Write about the house you lived in when you were 7.
Start with "I am 18 years old..." and keep going.

When you read these back, pay attention to your observations. Are they dark or light? Which senses did you mention the most? The smell of the curtains? The color of the walls? The sound of creaking stairs?
Or did you write about the people? Relationships and interactions as opposed to the scene around you.

The one that gave most people their epiphanies was the list of top 10 favorite movies. You time that as well so you're forced to write the ones that immediately come to mind. When I read mine aloud, Barbara (knowing my love of all things Crusie) said she could see how Crusie and I are alike.

Yep, totally made my day. LOL!

MsHellion said...

I just listed my favorite 10 movies. Half are epics. Half are comedies of some sort. So I guess my voice is Epic comedy.

P. Kirby said...

Um...well, after my little bout of panic attacks and constant anxiety, I made a few small changes to the old "lifestyle."

Number one. I remind myself to breathe, since I'm in the habit of holding my breath all the time. It's weird, but it's really helped a lot. I also upped my exercise a bit and I'm snacking on more fresh fruit (I know. You hates your veggies). Also upped my dosage of fish oil supplement. After about a month, I'm feeling pretty good. (Well, today being Monday; I'm edgy. But that's because this job, which I HATE always sets me off.)

As for remedies, in the mornings, when I'm nuttiest, I sometimes take some kava kava and passionflower. Seems to help. (The kava was recommended by a doctor.)

But...I'm always wiped after any long social occasion. Even though I'm an introvert, I do enjoy getting out an interacting with real humans. Nevertheless, it's strain on my hermit-like self.

Coming up for me, Art in the Park...once a month, a whole day of sitting in a booth and making nice with potential customers. Whew!

TerriOsburn said...

Hellie - Just gave you feedback on your list in an email.

Pat - Kava Kava? What is this? I have plenty of supplement stores around here so I can probably find it. And I do like fruit. Not very disciplined about it, but I eat bananas, apples, grapes, and oranges. Must increase those in the diet.

That's very smart about the breathing. I had to introduce Barbara Samuel WHILE I was on the upward panic attack thing. I was a DJ for 8 years so talking into a mic to do an intro is as easy as anything for me. But the entire time I was reading that intro, I couldn't catch my breath. As if I were holding my breath and still trying to talk.

Must breathe. Remember to breathe. (Scape said that too, didn't she?) Okay, Chance, remind me to breathe!!!

Good luck with the art show. You're stuff is so purdy, I'm sure it'll speak for itself. :)

Maureen said...

Okay, I've been at conferences with you...Orlando, DC...M&M! and you are never invisible. You know everyone, everyone knows you. The difference with Anaheim is everyone will be congratulating you!

I imagine this will mean the simple 'being there' time will be less. It's Anaheim, it's July, it won't be murderously hot, or humid. Get outside more. Breath outside air.

I know vegis aren't your friend, but eat more fruit, more fiber, whole wheat!

And we'll scope out some quiet areas to run away to...

P. Kirby said...

Terri: Kava is sold as either a tincture or in pill form. Should be easy to find in any natural foods or health food store.

If you Google, you'll find some studies linking it to liver problems. But..the doctor (MD) who recommended it, scoffed at that, saying that you'd have to take gallons of the stuff to damage your liver.

I find that breathing "out" is the issue. So I concentrate on breathing out, since my body demands "in."

And thank you!

TerriOsburn said...

Maybe it's the expectations, Chance. Now people think I'm good. On some level. I should have something worth talking about and reading and though I think I do, that's still a lot of pressure.

I'm good under pressure, most of the time. But I usually deal with pressure that comes out of nowhere. No time to think about, just react. This seeing it coming a thousand miles away is something quite different. LOL!

Maureen said...

Ten movies I like?

I counted the series as one, so four PotC movies, three Lord of the Rings, two Sherlock Holmes, three Bourne movies, a few epic effect movies... I think I'm into epic adventure...ya think? ;-)

TerriOsburn said...

That's it, Pat. Breathing out. I'll catch myself holding my breath all the time. And I stay tense. I'm tense in my sleep! This being the case before my life kicked up a level. LOL!

Another reason I think meditation would be good for me. Wonder if the library might have some videos on meditation. Though I bet they're on YouTube, huh?

Googling Kava now!

TerriOsburn said...

Chance - Exactly. You're like me, it's pretty obvious before you make the list. And there were at least three others in the workshop who were the exact same as you. Loved EPIC stories with giant sweeping arcs. That's great if you like that sort of thing, but I can't imagine trying to write that. Which is why I find Rowling so fascinating.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I might have to try the top 10 movies thing - I feel like I would be all over the board and it would change from week to week! LOL.

If I timed myself and put some pressure on for what I remember right off the top of my head:

After The Wedding
Galaxy Quest
Thomas Crown Affair (new one)
Love Actually
Star Wars Trilogy (original)
Rat Race
Gone With the Wind
Hell Boy
Indiana Jones (Original Movies)
The Princess Bride

OMG I know I left off so many, or would change out 50% of these!

MsHellion said...

Don't worry, Scape, I had the same situation, but Terri found a perfect theme in mine. I think she'll find the same for you. Some of these look like ensemble movies--so maybe you like writing ensemble books (a la Eloisa)??? You also seem to like epic adventure of some kind or the other. :) Clear cut good guys and bad guys. Heroes who are MANLY. Hans Solo, Wesley, Indiana Jones,...but then funny enough, you like the ambiguous guy. Thomas Crown hero...Rhett Butler. Or maybe the unpredictable hero??

TerriOsburn said...

I'm going with smart for Scape. You like intelligent stories that make you think but you don't mind a little action either. And you like a twist. Thomas Crown and even Love Actually have good twists. The Princess Bride seems like a simple story but it's so intelligently written. You also don't mind larger-than-life. The sweeping aspects of Gone With The Wind, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars show that, but even these are complicated and smart movies.

I'm guessing even Galaxy Quest, Rat Race, and Hell Boy have these indicators as well, but I haven't seen those.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Hellie - HA! Almost every single one of those movies features a cocky, self-assured hero who is sarcastic. Interesting. :)

TerriOsburn said...

In other words, it's a good thing you're a plotter, Scape. :)

Maureen said...

I think Sabrina's list shows a romantic core. Most of the movies I picked have a more generalized romantic theme...but she's got some definite romance movies...couple romance. Not a man and his ship, like mine.

And gods, the new Thomas Crowne is an awesome movie! Should have been on my list... ;-)

TerriOsburn said...

A smart alpha with charm? Who doesn't like that?! LOL! But notice the smart part is still in there. Let's face it, Thomas Crown, Rhett Butler, Dread Pirate Roberts (Wesley), and Indiana Jones score high on the intellectual meter.

TerriOsburn said...

Remember, we're talking voice more than genre or story core. I haven't seen Scape's work, but I bet there's a lot of witty, intelligent dialogue.

MsHellion said...

Now I wish I had put a few movies in my list that had witty, intelligent guys. *LOL*

Maureen said...

What bugs me is I don't have more witty, intelligent women in my movie list...though I did include Practical Magic. And the heroine in the Mummy movies is pretty fast on her feet...

TerriOsburn said...

Mo - I'd say your woman are smart and can take care of themselves, but your guys are really take charge. They step up and I wouldn't necessarily call them braver or more capable than your heroines, but they certainly hold an equal footing.

You're a woman of action. There's nothing wrong with that. Hard to throw out a witty line with a knife in your teeth while you're swinging from the rigging. LOL!

Maureen said...

Hee, hee!

TerriOsburn said...

Hellie - You too are a woman of action. Show me that you give a shit, don't sit here whining out love poems at my feet.

That's totally you. LOL!

P. Kirby said...

Terri sayeth: Maybe it's the expectations, Chance. Now people think I'm good.

You are good. Own it.

Top ten movies....?
How to Train Your Dragon; Master and Commander; Serenity; Galaxy Quest; The Princess Bride; Pitch Black; The Incredibles; Tombstone; Stardust; Gladiator; Lilo and Stitch; Nightmare Before Christmas; LOTR... oh, wait..that's more than ten. And I didn't even get to the comic book movies like Iron Man and Thor.

I have no idea what to make of that, except that I like SF/F and H. I Am Geek.

Maureen said...

Great list!

Lots of anti-heroes there...

Maureen said...

Pat is right... You are good. Own it.

TerriOsburn said...

Sounds to me like you like to play with the world, Pat. Change it. Add to it. Morph it. Also some darkness in there but humor as well. I LOVED Stardust. Maybe Sci-Fi with a little tongue-in-cheek.

And I love how Princess Bride keeps coming up even on drastically different lists.

P. Kirby said...

Yeah. I love anti-heroes.

Maybe that's my thing: shades of gray. :)


Janga said...

My top ten movies:

The Graduate
To Kill a Mockingbird
It Happened One Night
The Princess Bride
Big Fish
Howl's Moving Castle
The Philadelphia Story
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Love Actually
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

I think the list mostly shows that I'm old and out of step with 2012.

MsHellion said...

I think it means you're classic, Janga, you love classic storytelling. :)

TerriOsburn said...

Not at all, Janga. You're like me, it's about the relationships. Nothing other-worldly per se. Though Big Fish has some interesting scenes. LOL! Still, it's about his relationship with his father. You're interested in people and the choices they make. Most of these have deep characterization and they're complicated people.

People matter to you. That's very similar to the ones on my list.

Stephanie St.Clair said...

I say enjoy the rock star life! You can always sleep when you get home. :-)

I have no doubt you will end up with several more requests before the conference is done. I'm not going this year, but my fingers & toes are crossed for you!

TerriOsburn said...

I more used to being in the rock star's crowd, Stephanie. LOL! But that's true. And I can sleep on the plane! (I'm going through Vegas. Are there slots at the Vegas airport? Anyone?)

Thanks for the crossings. The requests do come easier these days, and it feels good to know the document is ready to go. I kept hearing people say, "I have three requests now I have to get home and finish revisions." Never has being DONE with revisions felt so good.

Okay, I've never really been done with revisions before, but this is a feeling I could get used to. :)

Maureen said...

I agree, Janga...this is a classic list. Plot driven, incredible dialog...fabulous characters!

irisheyes said...

If you fight with the veggies, Ter, but take a veggie supplement, don't sweat it! I've mostly changed my diet to include tons more fruit - like fruit only meals. Beef up on the fruit - it's good for you, gives you healthy sugars and energy and keeps you healthy. The DH made the switch and we've both gotten healthier (he's lost weight and gotten off several heart meds). So, if you like fruit, that's the way to go.

My movie list:

The Philadelphia Story
It Happened One Night
A Sure Thing
Pride and Prejudice
Big Jake
Love Actually
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Sixteen Candles
Circle of Friends
A Walk In the Clouds

Kind of all over the place but mostly romance and comedy.

irisheyes said...

Ooops! I put 11 instead of 10. I typed so fast, I didn't want to stop and think about it. LOL

And all the suggestions to take a break and go someplace (especially with a trusted friend *Maureen*) is spot on! Do you like massages? Those do wonders for me. Even if you won't do the whole body thing, stopping in and getting a neck and head massage can really revitalize!

I'm going to look up Kava Kava too. I'm on so many quirky supplements it's not funny. And I'm always interested in what other people find healing. (Now that I'm feeling good and have energy I don't want to let it go ever again!!!!)

TerriOsburn said...

11 is fine, Irish. LOL! First of all, you're clearly a hopeless romantic. In fact, I've seen every movie on your list but one and many of them would make my list as well. You're another one who likes to see the underdog come out on top. (This was Hellie too.)

You like unlikely couples and intelligent dialogue. Though your sense of humor might lean a little left of what I would have expected. Way to keep the mystery about ya, lassie. LOL!

TerriOsburn said...

Oh, and more fruit. Yes, I need to do that. There's an orange in the fridge. Maybe if I have a snack tonight (I'm trying not to snack after dinner) I'll go for the orange instead of a piece of break or a bowl of cereal.

irisheyes said...

This new diet my brother turned me on to is great because it's mostly fruits and veggies and the author says to throw out all the rules you've learned before about when and when not to eat. If it's fruit you can eat it anytime even before bed. We've been doing it, cause the hubby is a huge night snacker - I just make him eat fruit after 6 and he's still losing. Not just weight but belly fat, which has been his big problem, pun intended!

irisheyes said...

Yeah, I'm a huge fan of intelligent witty banter. I love Cary Grant. I think I own most of his movies. I'm a big believer is humor in my romances. I could add When Harry Met Sally and The Proposal to that list without batting an eye!

I'm surprising you, huh?! That's fun to know. I feel like an open book most of the time :)

TerriOsburn said...

When Harry Met Sally was #1 on my list. :)