I’ve been waiting for registration to begin for the Writer’s Police Academy since last year. It’s a great opportunity to learn from the professionals what really happens at a crime scene and the detailed process of an investigation. The conference provides ride-alongs, trips to a shooting range, jail tours, step-by-step workshops on how to process a crime scene, dispose of a dead body, undercover work and microbial forensic. You get the idea. The list goes on and on. This year the guest of honor is Michael Connelly. The guest presenters are Lisa Gardner and Alafair Burke. Who wouldn’t want to be in North Carolina this September, right? Well… me.
I got all the emails for months, anticipated the day of registration and kept my pep talk mantra rolling in my head; a continuous circuit of “You can do this. Go out on a limb. It’ll be worth it.” And I tried to ignore the voice in my head that kept saying, “Don’t set yourself up to fail. It’ll be a waste of money. Conferences are not your thing.” And I know deep down that I should listen to that voice because it’s right. Not because there isn’t a great line up of people and activities, but because I won’t take full advantage of the opportunity. I’d go to hear the speakers (and sit alone at some obscure table) and I’d enjoy listening to them, but the rest would be hell.
It’s the networking, the socializing and the lunch hours when I have to look around the room and find a seat at an already full table or find an empty table where I sit alone (either one is excruciating). It’s making small talk with people I don’t know and the exhausting task of trying to be an extrovert when I’m overwhelmingly the opposite.
The date to register for the Writer’s Police Academy came and went. I made a few menial excuses to myself, like I couldn’t really afford it this year and what if something comes up at the last minute that prevents me from going? September is a long way off.
I was relieved when registration day had come and gone. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to register, but I tried hard for a few months to persuade myself otherwise. Conferences are for socializing, for networking and at least for the Writer’s Police Academy, about gathering research, all of which I can do from the comfort of my computer. It may not be as much fun, but it doesn’t make my heart race or my palms sweat.
How about you, anyone else with an aversion to conferences and feeling guilty about it? Anyone have an antidote for introversion?