First up, apologies to REM. Don’t sue me. It will be a waste of your time I can assure you. I’m an unpublished writer. Nuff said.

Secondly, I went to a writers’ conference on the weekend and I realised something. I’m really not good at this grand old, completely terrifying, monstrosity they call networking. (Cue scary music. Cut to B/W scene of old Dracula movie) which might well be a problem considering I’m going to self-publish in November. I have issues with the socials.

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I can see myself now, trying to self-promote, like a three-tailed mouse in a room full of mouse-traps and cats.

*squeak* buy my book…please…if you like…or not…your choice. Forget it, it sucks anyway. Bye Bye*squeak*

Mic drop.

The sales will roll in. Who could resist such a pitch? Show me the person who can and I’ll show you a rock my friend. I’ll be flicking the bird to my administrative job by Christmas. Book me a slot on the Tonight Show people, give Jimmy Fallon the heads-up cause I have ARRIVED.

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That is, if by arrived I meant arrived at the conclusion that I suck at small talk and have an incredible ability to wipe my mind clean of all interesting things to say when I’m faced with a room full of strangers. It actually is a full blown talent. It has taken years, YEARS of careful cultivation.  I feel as though I should be part of the X-Men or something. At the very least the Power Rangers.

STOP, giant invading alien, or I shall destroy you with my ability to morph into a mute at the slightest hint of conversation. STOP, I say.

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Think of the things I can do with this power. The endless possibilities of what can be done with the perfect blank stare, the hand-crafted ‘I have no fucking idea what you are talking about’ uh-huh, and my personal favourite the ‘Yes, of course I recognise all those authors names and books you are bandying about like little spitballs of superioritynod.

Think hard, really hard and get back to me cause I’m all out of ideas.

I was drowning at this soiree. Like, sinking like a stone. Like, I was all the way down with Ariel and that little crab guy Sebastien and we were all like, singing Under the Sea and like, laughing about how it’s so much better down where it’s wetter.

I miss those guys so much.

Dry land is not all it’s cracked up to be. Ariel. I won’t say it twice.

On dry land you have conversations like this –

Reasonably attractive published author. ‘So what are you writing?’

Me. Sip wine. Sip wine. Smile with darkened teeth. ‘Uh, words. It’s got a strong female lead and stuff.’

Reasonably attractive published author. ‘I need to go to the bathroom. Forever.’

Perhaps I have taken some poetic license with this actual conversation. Perhaps I have not. Perhaps that author is still in the bathroom. Perhaps my story does not have words in it at all. Point is, the small print of this writing-as-a-career thing is starting to come into focus. This is not just about me, my keyboard and that little creature in my brain that keeps wanting to spew out worlds that don’t exist until we both say they do.

This is why the X-Men won’t have me. I see it now. My superhero talent is…deep breath…completely useless.

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Yes, it is my little crustacean friend. On more levels than your sandy self will ever know.

While I waited for my new best bud authorial friend to come out of the bathroom, I did what I’d actually come to the conference to do. A fellow Melbournian writer, Madelaine D’Este, was making her debut – a double whammy – speaking on her very first panel AND about to launch her very first novella the following week.

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The girl didn’t even have a glass of wine. I was in awe. What tomfoolery was this?  She got in there and networked like a boss. Her dialogue was coherent and everything.  She flicked off those spitballs of superiority like she’d been born swatting flies.

And she was nervous as all hell doing it.

Did it anyway. And nailed it.

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And to top it off she’s given me an excuse to use a picture of Tom Hiddleston in my blog.

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Twice!

Boom. Life don’t get any better than this.

What was I saying? Something, something, don’t be awkward. Learn to talk to strangers. Network. Something, something. Don’t give up, get out there and keep trying. Got it.

Gotta go. Tom.