In March I’ll be embarking on an adventure into the arid desert with little but my laptop and tea kettle in hand. This adventure has been many, many months in the making and I am not setting off on my own. I may be traveling at the comfort and whim of Southwest Airlines and not aboard a hot air balloon or the Nautilus, yet I expect nothing but a most challenging and rewarding five day journey.
My destination? Las Vegas. Shiney, sparkling, neon Las Vegas where anything can, and nearly should, happen. Because what happens in Vegas will end up in my novel and I could use the content.
I’ll be shacked up in one of the monolith hotels on the strip with 7 other writers, all Bransforumers, writing our little hearts out and talking shop into the wee hours. We’ll take breaks to attend shows and eat and sight-see too. I’m crossing my fingers I can drag a couple of them off into the desert with me to seek enlightenment and a sun tan. But really we’re mostly going to the craziest, liveliest city in the states so that we can hole up in our hotel rooms and write in our pajamas.
I’m nervous like I rarely ever am. When this plan was six months out it was a lot easier to be bright eyed and excited. Now that we’re creeping into just less than 4 weeks and I’m starting to think OH HOLY CRAP. These wonderful people whom I’ve grown to really love and look up to are going to come face to face with me and they are going to have to learn the hard truth – that I’m just a normal, geeky girl.
That’s the funny thing about the internet and blogs in particular. It is easy to look at the people we love to read and see them as something more than ourselves. They must make the best decisions, have the greatest ideas, enjoy things ten times more than I do. It’s not true, not by a long shot. I fear what will happen when the real me and the online me have to merge bodies. Like some kind of lame Sci-Fi Original movie. Will one me devour the other in mortal combat or will there be a personality soup of both sloshing about inside my head, causing me to fritz out sometimes like a poorly programmed robot? Or will I discover that online me and real me aren’t so different after all?
I have no idea. This isn’t a situation I’ve ever been in before.
It is also a very public debut of my writing. Some of my adventure friends are going to be critiquing my work and others will get snippets as we do little workshops together to improve our craft by stealing the very best of each other’s talents and incorporating them into our own genetic make-up. They are going to get to see me procrastinate by staring aimlessly into space while I try to figure out what would my hero do if I gave her a blow torch. They will see my weird writing tics, my orderliness of my tea just above and to the right of my mouse, the way I tug my hair gently when I’m thinking or pull it up into a nervous pony tail over and over again as my frustration mounts. Or how I decide I have to go to the bathroom when I just need to get away from my computer for six minutes. Even if I don’t really have to go.
I’m nervous. Like stomach butterfly nervous. Like first date nervous. Like second date nervous. I feel like I’m going to land back in Omaha after a week to discover a massive smear campaign across the blogosophere – BLOGGER LIES ABOUT BEING COOL. NEWS AT 8.
And forget the people. This is five solid days of writing. All morning, all day, all night. I could accomplish HUGE things during this week, but what if the sudden freedom to be successful blocks me up so badly that I end up drooling and gibbering on the floor in the corner of my hotel room instead? These thoughts terrify me.
It doesn’t help that I’ve already started having nightmares about the event. Ok, just one nightmare. In my nightmare Las Vegas I ended up showing up and discovering there were several author and YouTube celebrities attending. And I was wearing my gym clothes. After I’d gone to the gym. So there I was shaking hands with Nathan Bransford, smelling like a girl who hasn’t washed her gym socks in a couple of weeks.
Later in the same dream I ended up speaking to a group of my favorite people without any pants on and while I spoke I kept thinking, “Oh god, please don’t let them notice I’m not wearing any pants.”