No Ask, No Answer

If you met me while planning our fourth OWC in five years, you might wonder if I was always such an outgoing, promotional creature. It’s been a long journey from the university student who shook so badly that she couldn’t get through a presentation to where I am today. And, you know, that conference tagline—word by word—has special meaning for me.

First, I told my “back-then” self to slow down. To take overwhelming situations, one word, one sentence, one interaction at a time. Slowing down actually gave my mind the chance to catch up. And you know when you get nervous, your brain rattles and races? Mine did, too.
Once I got my pacing right, I could relax. My calmer self could actually enjoy speaking to a gathering or asking for a favour. Before I knew it, I was drafted into a volunteer organization. Fine, I thought. I’ll just camp out here at the bottom of the totem pole. This was not to be. I inched my way up to the position that booked talent. Yes, I asked people for their time. And they often said yes. Imagine! People wanted to play along if the event looked like fun. They wanted to give back to the community. This I learned; then I learned to use it.
On the very first OWC committee, I booked speakers and instructors and panelists. Huzzah! I had nothing to fear. If the candidates couldn’t come out to play, there was always the next time. But most often, they agreed. Success after success and now I’ll ask anyone for practically anything.
Inviting authors, editors, publishing professionals and agents to the greatest conference in the known universe is easy. Each year, I rise to the challenge of bettering myself with the program that I put together. You simply won’t believe who we’ve got this year.
Man, next step: ask for money!

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