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

8 ways midlife is like being a teen again

midlife is like being a teen again

midlife is like being a teen again

The other day, I ran to the local pharmacy to grab contact solution. What should have been a quick trip took a wee bit longer than I planned.

I find that the beauty product aisles beckon me, like a siren calling sailors. Click To Tweet

Since embracing my natural color, I have worked with my stylist to make sure my hair is up-to-date and that has led to a whole lot of time spent in the hair care aisle of my favorite stores. Yes, stores. Plural. Because no matter where I find myself shopping, I have to check to see what is available for my lovely locks. And then you just might find me wandering over to check out the lipsticks, gloss and mascara on another aisle. Whether I am at the hair salon, drug store, health food store or the mall, I find that the beauty product aisles beckon me, like a siren calling sailors.

Continue reading “8 ways midlife is like being a teen again”

Battling with grays and strays

gray and stray
Battling with grays and strays

Grays and strays – just another dandy way that menopause shares its, dare I say, hair-raising, life-altering change.

About three years ago, I colored my hair for the last time. The gray was in for the win, and my scalp became irritated from the dye. My last, paid-for hair hurrah were highlights and low-lights, which camouflaged the incoming gray. Midlife was sucking the life right out of my melanin production, creating a source of natural color streaks. Albeit gray in color, the strands contrasted with my brunette beginnings, thus giving me, um, a new type of highlights.

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Oh the irony of the timing of “Make Your Dreams Come True Day”

Make Dreams Come True
Take a chance! Make Dreams Come True!

“Make Your Dreams Come True Day” is today!

Seriously, it is! I was Googling, “fun observances in January,” and ta-da, I found out that every year, January 13 is the day set aside to assess your dreams, goals and so forth. Makes sense to observe this in January as we begin a fresh new year.

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Hooked on clickbait

hooked on clickbait
hooked on clickbait

The reason for her rant? Just one minute in and you’ll see…

“I was scrolling on the Net one day; In the merry, merry month of May. I was taken by surprise, with so many headline “whys;” Scrolling through the Net one day…” – Lynne Cobb

When she sees clickbait, she instantly…

By nature, I have always been inquisitive. At the ripe old age of, um, 11 years-old, you’d find me reading the newspaper, with a keen love of the Dear Abby and Ann Landers’ columns. The headlines would attract me, and I couldn’t wait to read the sage advice of these opinionated ladies.

Of course, I loved the opinion page, too. Raging debates among readers, especially in sound-off type columns, were another addiction of mine. Catchy deadlines would draw me in, so, it is really no surprise that now, with the world at my fingertips, I am never more than a click away from reading some crazy content.

Headlines have always befuddled me. I love to write, but finding the perfect headline can cost me hours of thought time. And now, as I prepare to lead a social media class for boomers and beyond, I find myself getting hooked on headlines that I know are going to disappoint me, and waste my time. Yet, I can’t not click…

When you hear the reason why she wrote this…

If you didn’t know it, clickbait is the term used for headlines that lead one to read the most insane copy posted on the Internet. For those who need a definition, here you go:

click·bait: /ˈklikbāt/ Noun; informal (on the Internet) content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.

So while I have been diligently searching for some examples of clickbait to use in my presentation, I have kind of become a statistic. And a junkie. My name is Lynne, and I am hooked on clickbait.

I mean, who wouldn’t click on jewels like these:

  • The crazy food that will make you lose 15 pounds in one…
  • She discovers her husband doing this, and what happens next…
  • The secret that dermatologists don’t want you to know is hiding…
  • He grabs a microphone and what happens next…
  • The top 12 reasons why you should…

It used to be the off-the-wall Websites that used this nonsense to grab readers’ attention. But recently I have even seen major news organizations use this tactic! Ugh! Please make it stop! Though, to be fair, if the strategy didn’t work, they wouldn’t be using it.

You will not believe what blogger discovers during important…

Admitting that you have a problem is the first step in healing, right? So, knowing that I can’t always control my finger from clicking, I have resorted to hiding my mouse and tying my arm behind my back, then using a blindfold bound around my head. Ok – not true. But sometimes I really do close my eyes and scroll past the temptation. Instead of actually clicking the story, I peruse the comments to determine if reading the content is worth my time. Then I develop another problem – I get sucked into the comments sphere! Help!!!

When soul-searching her problem, what she does next inspires…

 Okay. So I admitted that I can’t come up with awesome headlines, and that I am a sucker for clickbait. But what I discovered about myself in the process is so awe-inspiring! So remarkable!

 She realized she could drive traffic to her blog with one simple hack…

 Really, it’s true! Every headline on this page, I made up myself! So I can write to my heart’s content, slap some silly gimmick headline on it, match up my SEO and be viral in a moment! Woot! Yay, me!!!

What she shares with her readers will bring you to…

Seriously, I wouldn’t do that to you. Yes, I want to be a rich and famous, well-known writer. So, no, I won’t resort to these guerrilla tactics to get likes and views and all kinds of accolades. I will go back to wasting precious hours working on the perfect headline. Unless, of course, I just go and click over here read for a moment and get distracted for some, um, inspiration….

© Lynne Cobb – 2015

Have you fallen victim to clickbait? Are you, dare I say, hooked? Share your experiences with the rest of the world in the comment section J

Props for Menopause

Props for Menopause
Props for Menopause

“I love to come in and play with a wig or glasses or clothes. I love using props. I’m from the Peter Sellers school of trying to prepare for the character.” – Dan Aykroyd

Ha – you’re probably thinking “Props for Menopause” means this essay is all about a big thumbs-up for this crazy change in women. Ummm – no. Far from it. It’s about props that one needs to survive this change of life.

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Great father and great memories

fathers day card

“This is the price you pay for having a great father. You get the wonder, the joy, the tender moments – and you get the tears at the end, too.” – Harlan Coben

I’ve come to the realization that Father’s Day will always be bittersweet. The first few years after my dad’s death were really difficult, and you can tell by the type of posts I wrote that I was really grieving.

Not to say that I am not still grieving – I think that will last forever. But the pain isn’t the “punch in the gut” grief like it used to be. Continue reading “Great father and great memories”

It must be true. I read it online.

It must be true. I read it online.
It must be true. I read it online.

 “Knowledge is good.” Emil Faber – Faber College – Animal House

This morning, as I was drinking my lemon water (I read online that this is good for you), I started reading all kinds of neat new tricks for every ailment and flaw under the sun. As the last shot of lemon water sent a sour shiver down my spine, I reached for the coffee, and then started my routine of quenching my thirst for knowledge. Continue reading “It must be true. I read it online.”

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.”

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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.

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