Oh, sure, I do fairly well on a panel and in convention situations. The people at cons are there for the same reasons (or some of the same reasons) I am. There's a commonality of purpose and an automatic sense of community. Because I love this sense of community, I've often moaned and kvetched about not having a writing community when I'm home, that there are no other Delaware writers in my genre and I'm all alone. Sob-sob-so-sad.
After many years of resistance, I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year (National Novel Writing Month.) You get to pick your region and lo and avast! There are other Delaware writers. Lots of them. There are write-ins and meetings. There are open mic nights monthly at the Arts Alliance. There's a tiny, cute freaking comic con in our freaking tiny little state. For about ten minutes, I was excited and actually started planning to go to some of these events.
Then the panic hit.
Oh, crap. I have to talk to other adults. Real ones. In person. Who don't know me. Or worse yet, maybe they do - as in they remember me from high school or an old job and I don't remember them and it'll be all awkward and junk and none of them will write genre fiction and they'll look down their noses at me and...and...
You see how this goes.
I chickened out. Did not go to the NaNo meeting. Did not go to open mic night. Because I'm a coward and would, potentially, have to be just me and not the public persona I manage at cons. That scares the living hell out of me. This is Delaware. The joke is that the state's too small for six degrees of separation. We only have three. You talk to someone long enough here, you'll find people you have in common. It's not always a good thing. Sometimes, in the case of an ex, for instance, it can be kinda bad. Not that I anticipate something like that just meeting a small group of authors, writers who are struggling just like me, to write, to be heard, to make a living from our craft.
Maybe I'll make it to open mic in December.
Hey. It could happen.