True confessions: Author anxiety and public events

Author anxiety
Author anxiety

Author anxiety and public events. The struggle is real. Whether you have a book signing, a speech or other public venue scheduled on your calendar, have a laugh and do as I say, not as I do did. 

Over the years, I have planned some successful soirees – our daughter’s backyard wedding; baby and bridal showers, holiday brunches and so forth. My expertise is not so much in the planning, as I’m happy to be the behind-the-scenes supporting cast. No one complains about issues at when you are serving them wine and chocolate cake.

But there I times that I have to strike out on my own, which can produce author anxiety. Especially as a midlife writer attending my first book signing.

Though I didn’t plan the main event I will be attending, I certainly had to plan for my own little part of this big day.

Am I anxious? You betcha! It is like the first day of school – excited to see everyone, nervous I will be making a faux paus or two.

The Girl Scout in me is doing my best to “Be Prepared.” The MilSpouse in me knows I can pretty much roll through anything.

So as I scrutinized myself in the mirror this morning, looking for blemishes and stray hairs, a few practical event-planning ideas popped into my brain. Though my dad used to mention I might be “a hard-head,” I prefer to think of myself more as a “hands-on learner.” Trust me when I say I have a Masters in How to Embarrass Myself and a Doctorate from the School of Hard Knocks.

Allow me to share what I have learned in life, should you need to represent yourself at a public event:

Facial waxing: Don’t do this the day of your event. A red, swollen lip will just bring attention to the fact you have waxed your meno-stache. Some beauty secrets needn’t be shared. Plus it affects your speech. Trust me, you will thank me for this.

New make-up: The day of your event is not the time to experiment with the latest make-up trends. One time, I thought adding a bit of blue eye shadow to my lower lid would make my eyes pop and look fab with my dress. Sadly, I looked like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Also, if you have never used eyeliner, THIS IS NOT THE DAY to try it. Heed my advice and eliminate stabbing yourself in the eyeball, making tears of colors streak down your face while sporting the Elvira look.

Workout routine: The day before your event is not the time to go the extra mile – literally or figuratively. I may have tried to do a plank one time, which may have pulled a muscle that I didn’t know existed, which may have prevented me from breathing properly when trying to talk in front of a small crowd. Maybe.

Fine dining: Stick to a what you know works well with your body. A new food may result in hives or digestive issues. And think about your favorite foods, like that yummy garlic dip with fresh-baked pita bread. Um, experience has taught me that the aroma of garlic seeps from every pore of one’s body. Though I’ve been told garlic is good for keeping colds and flu at bay, it is also good for keeping people at bay.

Clothing: Try on your outfit ahead of time, using a 360-mirror. And don’t decide to change your turtle neck after you have curled and shellacked your hair in place.

New shoes: Of course you need new shoes! Duh!!! That being said, test them first. Limping and wincing doesn’t make you look like a heroine, however, it may get you some sympathy sales.

Lugging gear: A few summers ago, I almost bought a collapsible shopping cart for going to our local farmers’ market. But since that would have given off an “old lady vibe,” I concluded that struggling with heavy plastic grocery bags that cut off the circulation in my hands would be the better option. I’m fairly certain that blue-tinged fingers without any sensation won’t allow me to sign any books, so I now use a carry-on bag with wheels to lug my gear.

Beauty sleep: “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. You need to be rested for your writers’ debut.” These are wonderful and wise words from my dear husband. After thirty-plus years, he knows the deal. That even if I look like I am asleep, my brain doesn’t disengage. “Do I have enough books to sell?” or worse, “Will I sell anything?” Or, “What if I trip in front of everyone?” Or, “What if I get a zit?”

Which leads me to my final bit of advice:

Breathe. Hah! How can I do that when I’m caught up in my brain’s “worst case scenario” escapades? When my frontal cortex goes into all out panic, I tend to forget to breathe. So, I will mentally note to make use of my lungs. And as a precaution, I will toss some relaxation-inducing essential oils into my carry-on bag. Who cares if it is a placebo effect? Whatever works, until I can get home and toast the day with a glass of wine. And some chocolate.

© Lynne Cobb – 2016

If you have any tips to share, please do so in the comment section! Also, if you think my experiences will help someone plan for an event, feel free to share using one of the social media icons on this page.

 Not able to attend the book signing? Here’s a link to Feisty after 45. 

feisty-book-signing

Back to School Almost 30 Years Later

Back to School

Back to school!

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.  ~Sydney J. Harris

It’s that time of year again, when summer winds down and fall takes over with the excitement of cooler temperatures, vibrant colors and the promise of delicious cider.

Previously I wrote about our youngest child beginning college and starting her new chapter. As she began hers, I knew that I, too, would begin mine. As an “almost-empty-nester,” I am writing new pages as I navigate this season referred to as midlife.

I have often thought that fall felt more like a fresh beginning than January’s start of a new year. Maybe the life-long conditioning of new beginnings due to the start of the school year has something to do with the feeling.

My own memories of fall have, for the most part, been good ones of fresh starts, new dreams and the old, decorated cigar box filled with bright crayons, sharp pencils, kid-sized scissors, pink erasers and mini bottles of glue. (My personal favorite were the pencils that were red on one end and blue on the other. Are those even a thing anymore?) I also remember my mom walking with us to school to see the class lists posted on the doors. The excitement and anticipation could either provide a moment of elation or anxiety, depending on your classroom assignment.

After twenty-five years of “first day” traditions, it is weird to be out of the loop. Click To Tweet

I hold tight to those childhood moments, and to the moments I experienced with my children. This is the second year that I am not sending children off for the traditional “first day of school.” I admit, I miss going out and purchasing new school supplies, finding out who the teacher will be, and snapping photos of the day. After twenty-five years of “first day” traditions, it is weird to be out of the loop.

But nonetheless, this fall is pretty darn exciting. I’m not sure if my adult children will get up early and come stand on the porch for a photo. Well, maybe if I bribe them with coffee and cinnamon rolls. I’m willing to give it a shot. If not, I will just have to take a selfie of myself on the porch. Hahaha – no! Because in addition to most of my brood returning to college this fall, yours truly here will be doing the same.

Back to school.

After a hiatus of about thirty years, I start my classes today. I am pretty darn excited.

No, I won’t have an old cigar box filled with supplies. I know I won’t be sporting a new backpack, but I will have my new laptop. No, there will be no locker for my books, so I am trying to organize the office to be functional for both work and school. No, I won’t have to go clothes shopping or look for cool and cute dorm room stuff.

But, what I do get is the satisfaction of completing something I started 36 years ago – my journalism degree. I have absolutely no regrets that I left school to get married, travel as a military spouse, be a mom times four (see, I can still do math) and have the opportunity for all the other experiences I have had thus far. I have lived in and traveled to places some people only dream about.

So why finish the degree? One, because I can. Two, because I want to. Three, because I need to.

  • I can, because I now have the time. All four children have graduated high school and have completed or are completing their secondary education. I know it is not going to be easy, but it will be easier than when I tried to return to school fifteen years ago.
  • I want to, because it was a promise I made to myself and my husband when we married that I would, one day, finish my degree. His encouragement keeps me going – especially when I had a panic attack after reviewing the syllabus!
  • I need to, for myself and my adult children. I want them to see me finish what I started. I need them to set goals and strive to achieve them, no matter how long it may take. I need them to see that it doesn’t matter what age you are; it is still difficult to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.

I need them to see that when life gets in the way – whether by your choice or by no fault of your own – you have to keep pushing and trying no matter what.

I need them to see that in their own lives, when a chapter ends, a new one begins – that each ending is a new beginning.

I need them to see there is a value in continued growth, no matter your season of life.

So, here’s to an exciting new school year to all – no matter how young or old you are!

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.  ~John Dewey

© Lynne Cobb – 2016

Have you thought about returning to school after your children graduated? Or, did you? Share your experience in the comment section!

 

 

 

 

Why It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas

Christmas tree

The decorations are up. The baking is done. Candy dishes are filled. Presents are wrapped. It is the eve of the holiday, and yet, all I hear is, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas.”

In our area of the country, there is no snow. Yet. We have a 50-50 chance that we may have a white Christmas if this depressing rain turns to snow. Is that why it doesn’t feel like Christmas? I have lived in places that it never snows, so I don’t think the icy white stuff has anything to do with the feeling.

Continue reading “Why It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas”

Caring for caregivers

140-book-juggling.imgcache.rev1375741594591.web“I’m pleased to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.”

As my father’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed, I, along with my siblings and our spouses, began to be more involved with Dad’s caregiving in an effort to help our mom. Dad was prone to wandering and wasn’t sleeping through the night, leaving our mother exhausted. We would take turns watching him so she could get a break or go to her own medical appointments. Additionally, I accompanied my parents to Dad’s doctor appointments, because the input and moral support was a benefit to my mother.

Continue reading “Caring for caregivers”

Slang used today and words I should not say

wpid-2014-11-14-13.02.19.jpg.jpeg“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.” – Carl Sandburg

As a writer and an avid reader, I find words and language usage fascinating. Just call me a word nerd. Admittedly, as I have entered the digital age, I find myself being a little more lax in language and grammar rules. Some of my participles dangle, and sometimes I end sentences with a preposition and I often find myself starting sentences with “and” or “but.”

Continue reading “Slang used today and words I should not say”

Menopause transformed the bedroom into a brothel

wpid-2014-06-27-12.17.31.jpg.jpeg“Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.” – Mae West

Yes, peri-menopause is making me a changed woman. It is doing things to my body and brain that I never knew it could. It is also changing my house. How, you ask? Because menopause is transforming the bedroom into a brothel.

But, not in the way you would think.

Continue reading “Menopause transformed the bedroom into a brothel”

When minutes add up to years

 “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.”Albert Einstein

Doing my “bicycle exercises” is definitely helping the health of my legs; the same legs that now feel like rubber. The burn in my muscles lets me know I am making progress. The other day, from my vantage point on the floor, I was certain I had been peddling away for hours. Laying on my exercise mat, I glanced over at the clock. Surely I had made progress, and was inching to the two-minute mark.

Nope. I hadn’t even completed one minute of peddling. Continue reading “When minutes add up to years”

Reflections from three years of blogging

Flower arrangement

“I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” – Michael Arrington

It is hard to believe, but I am celebrating my third year of blogging. On April 22, 2011, I hit “publish” for the first time, not knowing where on earth this blog would go.

My initial thoughts in creating a blog were to chronicle my dad’s Alzheimer’s disease, and seek as well as offer support to others dealing with this dreadful disease. But his illness progressed much too quickly, and I shelved the blog for a while, as we dealt with doctor appointments, emergency room trips, hospitalizations, nursing home care, ICU, hospice, arranging a funeral and ultimately saying our farewells in July of 2011.

I was so busy and stunned from my dad’s death that when I did return to the blogging world, I used my blog primarily as therapy to deal with my profound loss.

In three short years, we have learned to move forward without Dad, which hasn’t been too easy. Every holiday and family event still feels empty to me. But we always toast Dad and know that he is in attendance, just in a different form. I still see him in dreams, and he has a way to send me a message from heaven every now and then.

Once I returned to writing on a more regular basis, I developed a blog following, which is very humbling to me. I truly appreciate all those who read my essays and posts, and I have been able to branch out and get a few sponsored posts and product reviews. It is always fun to test things out and share my findings with my audience. Some of my product review highlights include my time spent as a Verizon Brand Ambassador, and also tasting foods and addressing issues in order to help others along.

I have had the opportunity to share my faith and opinions, lots of opinions, and even share some of my crazy science experiments.

I also dabbled in a little travel, and would love to dabble a bit more! Part of my blogging life has included my military spouse trials. During part of this three-year blog journey, my Army reservist husband was stationed overseas on an unaccompanied tour, and I had the opportunity to travel to London to see him. Then he, along with our oldest son, deployed at the same time. I thought I would lose my mind, but I was able to write and had a good core of family and friends who kept me going strong until they both returned home, safe and sound.

Some days it just doesn’t seem possible that time could fly by so quickly. Since I started my blog, our youngest son has graduated, and our youngest daughter is finishing her junior year of high school. Our oldest daughter is now in our shoes, seeing how quickly time flies as her little ones grow by the minute. We survived severe summer storms and winter’s Polar Vortex – among other things.

Reflecting over the past three years I realize how immensely blessed I am. In addition to a wonderful family and great friends, I have a great support in the writing and blogging communities. I have taken a few refresher courses in writing and blogging; had blog posts featured on Midlife Boulevard, BlogHer and Vibrant Nation; I picked up part-time writing jobs and found friendships with fellow bloggers and local writers. So many positive things have happened just because I have put myself out in the blogging world.

I have read, and been advised by blogging experts that I should focus my blog and position myself as an “expert in the field,” which is kind of difficult as a “Random Rambler.” My interests are all over the map. I like the freedom that rambling gives me – to choose any topic and go with it! But as I contemplate their sound advice, I think I will eventually have to settle with a theme; maybe “Wise Random Ramblings,” incorporating all my sound advice from a half-a-century of life? 🙂

And, from the bottom of my heart – thank you so much for reading and following my blog. When you read, comment and share my post with your friends and family, it means the world to me, and motivates me to keep on writing. It feels more like conversing with friends, and I just love that.

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

 

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Boomer Products – Let’s Shop!

“I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” – Tammy Faye Bakker

When I was contacted by Tonya from TheBoomShop.com, I was excited to learn that there is an online shop with Boomer Products – just for us baby boomers. After “window shopping” the site, I decided I would take Tonya up on the offer to share my opinion of this store with my readers, and was compensated with a gift card.

BoomShop-Products-SM  772x431According TheBoomShop‘s press release, Boomers are the largest demographic for online shopping. It makes sense to me, as we’re a pretty busy bunch, with careers, caring for family – both younger and older loved ones, running households and more. Plus, we have grown wiser, and value our time, and can search and shop online faster than running to the mall. And, some of us have knee issues, which makes online shopping even more appealing 🙂

Anyhow, once on the web site, I was greeted by a clean design and easy-to-navigate departments. Welcoming me to the website was this quote: “Our quest is to search the world & create a collection of products that make your life simple, effortless & comfortable.” A non-cluttered site, in my opinion, is a great start.

The online store caters to the 50+ crowd. What I was most impressed with were the kitchen items – everything from gadgets to small appliances to cookbooks to accessories. In the Home department, I saw wellness mats. If you have ever stood in one place for a long time, think of how lovely it would be to have one of those cushion-y, anti-fatigue mats! Plus, there were several other departments, such as Health and Wellness, Fitness and Recreation, Sleep Science and several more. Look for a Nutrition Department soon. And yes, there is a sale section, too.

Several name brand items are available, and I found that the prices were inline with other stores – online and brick and mortar. TheBoomShop has a “no hassles” return policy, which makes online shoppers happy, and free shipping on orders $49 or more.  Also, the check out process is very simple! Basically create an account, shop-til-you-drop, add your credit card info and you are done.

Check out TheBoomShop, as they are giving my readers a 15% discount by using coupon code 99124. (Valid until June 21, 2014). My order should be arriving in a few days! I am sure you will enjoy this new online store geared for boomers.

Happy shopping!

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

Did you checkout TheBoomShop? If so, let me know what you think in the comments section.