I watched so many people taking huge strides out of their comfort zones. Whether it was the nervous newbie just turning up, an author receiving industry feedback, the person placing their pitch for all the world to see, someone opening a conversation with an editor at the party or even the keynote allowing themselves to be hugged by an over excited organiser (whistles nonchalantly). And if those things weren't knee knocking enough what about the brave individuals who live pitched to an agent panel in front of a packed audience? My collies wobble at the very thought!
Last weekend people put themselves on the line time and time again. They were prepared to be uncomfortable because the conference gave them a comfortable environment to do it in.
And the results? Fabulous friendships formed, opportunities opened, competitions won, manuscripts asked for, light bulbs switching on all around. It made me realise that just as we push our characters way beyond their comfort zones so stories can happen to them, we have to push ourselves out of ours so OUR story can happen to us.
This was my third year working on the conference committee. For most of the time I have been Co-Chair and, if the truth is told, it was never really my intention to have that role, I was pushed out of my comfort zone and it happened to me.
It turned out I could do it, mainly down to the fantastic people around me that have worked so hard to see things through. I am so grateful to them all, they have supported me but also shown me that comfy is not good. From discomfort I have developed both friendships and confidence that I will keep for a very long time.
Next year I am happy to let someone else sit in the un-comfy chair for a while, though I have no intention of leaving volunteering alone. You won't get rid of me that easily. But I just wanted to say, if you enjoyed the thrill of an uncomfortable conference maybe you could consider volunteering in some way to see what it will do for you.