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I'm Scared and It Feels Good

By Kim Weitkamp

It’s good to do scary stuff, things that push your mental boundaries and untie the laces on your comfort zone. I’m too old (by my standards) to base jump, there’s nothing I want tattooed on my (needs-ironing) body, and I’m not in the mood to visit my mother.

So, I’m writing a book. It may not seem like a scary endeavor, but it is. Mainly because your co-pilot is self-doubt (she never shuts up), and your main enemy is yourself. Discipline and staying focused are not my strong suits. (Someday, I’ll show you my old report cards).

I’m a performer and storyteller; I write all the time, but it’s for listeners, not readers. These are two different styles of writing and two very (very) different worlds. Entering a new world is scary, ask Mork.

When I finally decided to do this (after 20+ years of excuses), I jumped in cannonball style, deep end only. That’s how I ended up at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Conference.

If there was a Michelin star for conferences, this event would be sewing one on. I spent three days, close up, with insanely talented, hilarious, creative, kind and intelligent people who didn’t blink twice when asked to share their wisdom.

I picked the brains of agents, comedians, famous authors, publishers and teachers. I ate dinner with new writers, seasoned writers and published authors. I made friends, wired fresh connections, and gained so much head knowledge that I now need a neck brace.

Here are a few of the presenters I enjoyed sharing space with: Laraine Newman, Cathy Guisewite, Adriana Trigiani, Judy Carter, Wendy Liebman, Annabelle Gurwitch, Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Dion Flynn, Katrina Kittle, Leighann Lord, Kathy Kinney and others. Whew. A heady experience. If you don’t know them, look them up and check out their work.

Have you ever stepped off a sidewalk where the curb was way higher than expected? For a split second, you're in midair with no clue how you will land. It’s awkward and scary, and it may end well, or it may end with you wearing one of those giant black boots that looks like it came out of Lady Gaga’s tour wardrobe.

I am scared, and it feels good. I don’t know how I will land, but I’m finally doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time. If you see me, ask me how the book is going, and then don’t look away.

I hope when the book is finished (ahh, optimism) that you'll buy it. If you do and end up loving it, what more could I ask for?

If you end up hating it, it makes a perfect re-gift. That’s why books don’t come shrink-wrapped.

— Kim Weitkamp

Kim Weitkamp is an award-winning storyteller, author, singer-songwriter and humorist. She performs regularly at festivals and theaters around the country, has written a well received folk operetta and has been a guest editor and contributor for various publications.  Kim's material gets regular airplay on Sirius XM and NPR affiliate stations.

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