Becoming a Professional-- It's a Little Weird

Feb 25, 2014

I was lucky enough over the last two weeks to have two opportunities to teach some of the things I know about writing to a live audience. And let me tell you-- it's a little weird.

On the Queries panel with the lovely Peggy Eddleman
I actually LOVE teaching. I've taught preschool and I currently teach the adult Sunday school at my church. I also love to share what I know about writing to the world of the internets (whether or not that's a good thing depends on if I actually know what I'm talking about...). But for the first time, I sat on a panel at Life, the Universe, and Everything SFF symposium with other authors, introduced myself as an author, and taught/gave advice to a whole room full of eager writers. It was really cool, and really fun. And also weird.

Why is that, you may ask? Because all of a sudden, there was a table between me and other writers.

I'm still learning, too, after all. I went to some of the same panels and classes the other writers went to. But this year, some people saw me a little differently after seeing me on a panel. I was the professional, the Author-with-a-capital-A. Which I am, I suppose. I write professionally now, as in I get paid for it, as in I teach about it on the other side of the table.
I look so short next to Elana Johnson, Michael Jensen,
and David Powers King!

But in a lot of ways, I'm not any different than I was at last years' conference. I'm still writing books. I'm still learning about writing them. I'm still having confidence crises. I'm still making my husband roll
his eyes when I buy jewelry that reminds me of my book as a kind of talisman to wear while I write. So it felt a little weird to me to have people see me as the pro. I'm still just me. And I realized it's kind of the same with the authors I idolize-- they're still people, and they're still writers. Like me.

So, my friends, I guess what I'm saying is that not as much changes after getting a book deal as you might think. We're all the same on the inside-- we're all writers. I am curious, though-- which authors do you idolize, even if just a bit? Right now, I personally have a writer crush on Maggie Stiefvater. Go read The Scorpio Races, ya'll! It's brilliant. 

P.S. Did you know my first story I ever published was at age 16? And that, believe it or not, I'm still proud of that piece of crap? I wrote all about it here!


Small Town Shelly Brown said...

My author crush is Tom Angleberger. Mmmm, mmmm, love me some short MG!

Margo Kelly said...

I have two author crushes at the moment: Rainbow Rowell and Dean Koontz ... could they be any more different from each other? And yet I love them both.

Michelle Merrill said...

Um...that's a long list. Brandon Sanderson, Rae Carson, Maria Snyder, and of course Jane Austen, just to name a few :) Great post. And yes, I do idolize you a bit. Shhhhh, don't tell. It's just your in depth research and amazing thought processes that stun my simple mind!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I'm glad the conference went well! I wish I could have been there; I've always wanted to go to a conference like that. One writer I idolize is Dave Barry; I love how he writes about ordinary things but does it in a way that makes them hilarious.

David P. King said...

Great post, Shallee, and as always it was great seeing you again. My thoughts exactly on who you are as a person post-book deal. :)

MKHutchins said...

I felt this way at LTUE, too. It was kinda weird -- and also a lot of fun.

Julie Musil said...

Shallee, that is so cool! I idolize Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult. Gosh, their styles blow me away.

Naina Gupta said...

Well done on the conference. That's so cool. =)

Jessie Humphries said...

I know exactly how you feel about this. It's a huge jump from audience member to panelist. Scares the whiz out of me.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the ride!

I'm another one crushing on Rainbow Rowell right now, and Laini Taylor!

Mark Murata said...

I sometimes go to panels with new authors on them, because I like the energy they bring to the subject.

LisaAnn said...

This post is so fabulous. I wish I could have seen you on that panel... Bet you were brilliant! ;)

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