The Whelming Process

A lot of people have been asking me if I’m nervous about my writing conference next week (!!!). I’ve mostly said no, and that’s mostly true.

However, the closer the 20th comes, the more I find myself swaying toward the side of the fence where saying I’m not nervous is mostly a blatant lie. I’ve also managed to contract bronchitis and a sinus infection (also known as The Snot That Wouldn’t Stop), which has left me mostly dead all week.

I've been mostly dead all week. Image via

I don’t have a friendly giant to haul me around, either. Pooh.

The closer the 20th ventures, the more I want to deny the fact that I am overwhelmed. And yet…I am totally overwhelmed. I’m sick, tired, full of snot, and let’s face it — the last thing I feel like doing is sequestering myself in our chilly spare room so that my constipated dinosaur of an iBook can stay connected to its life support and I can work on my revisions.

This conference is one of those Life Things — a Life Thing that is Really Quite Large and Imposing. It has the potential to nudge the trajectory of my path in a new direction. And I’m spouting snot.

It seems appropriate — if not ironic — that today I caught up on the newer lessons in the workshop I’m taking from Kristen Lamb, and she talked about her experiences blogging about being overwhelmed. I have an awful lot to do and less time to do it in.

I have several necessary and preparatory appointments for the conference this week: haircut, headshot photoshoot, doctor’s appointment, massage. (Yes, the latter is necessary.) None of that helps the whelming process here.

Today was Doctor Day. And you know what happened there? I coughed on a nurse’s face.

She was in the middle of swabbing my throat with a strep culture stick, and she tickled a tonsil and HACK — right at her. Face. Not only that, but my throat launched something phlegm-like in her direction, and judging by the horrified look of shock she wore immediately after, it made contact.

She proceeded to punish me by sticking what looked like a dental floss/Q-tip hybrid up both sides of my nose until I began to turn into the mucus monster. There may have been some accidental tearing as well. She left the room with the swabs, and when she came back, I was coughing and oozing out of various facial orifices. All in all, this was an unpleasant experience for my day off.

So I had that adventure, but I can tell you what didn’t get done: any little bit of work on my novel. The time is getting closer, and I’ve busied myself by coughing on nurses and oozing.

I’m sure many of you can relate to this predicament (even if you’ve yet to catapult phlegm at a nurse’s face) — the trepidation that arrives as an Important Life Thing approaches when the world seems to conspire against you (and the nurses, it seems).

What do you do to get yourself on track? How do you take your Whelm-O-Meter from “OVER!!!” to just plain, normal-y “whelmed?” Have you ever known something important needed to be done but obstacles kept piling up?

Please, O Sagacious Gentle Viewers, share with me thy wisdom, for I am poor and weary in spirit, and in my nose too much snot abounds.

About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on January 9, 2012, in life intervention and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Oh, that sucks. Sounds like you need a couple of shots of Tequila! At least, that’s what my mother would do… 😮

    I’ve been told by a few published authors (Tor and Orbit) that you need not bring your ms to a conference. As a matter of fact, trusting a manuscript onto an agent you just met would be a major faux pas. They did say to have the sales pitch honed.

    Maybe this will help:

    • Oh, I’m not bringing it. If I bring anything it would be a couple copies of the first couple chapters in a folder. The pitch part I’m working on — I’ve boiled the following into one sentence each: book one, book two, book three, and the trilogy as a whole.

      We’ll see what happens — I just want the manuscript ready and compiled into a “final” draft so that if I do get any bites, I can go back to my hotel room and shoot off a query letter, or better yet, email the whole thing and know it’s pretty much as nice as I can make it.

    • That link made me bust a gut laughing. So awesome!

  2. I meant thrusting not trusting…

  3. Wish I could offer some helpful gem of wisdom, but I think the container I keep them in sprung a leak years ago. I can commiserate, though, having some experience with being overwhelmed. Especially in combination with a body under revolt. The preparatory appointments are a great idea to help relieve the stress and boost your spirit. Try some meditation or yoga or tai chi, and get as much rest and sleep as you can so your immune system has some reserves to work with. Try not to stress too much over the manuscript — work a little on it so you feel you’re making some progress, but concentrate more on being as rested and healthy as you can be for the conference so you can enjoy the whole event AND be at the top of your game for the speed pitching session. There. Ignore this advice at your own peril. And have a great time. We’ll be rooting for you!

  4. Kristin McFarland

    I am going to give you the least helpful advice ever: You just do it. 🙂

    When I took my lit GRE, it was the week the store I was working at was doing inventory. Then I got sick. Then, the night before my test, we drove to the town where the test was held and couldn’t find our hotel. We drove around for hours and checked in at about 11 pm… into a smoking room. Not a win for someone with bronchitis. They wouldn’t let us switch. The morning of the test, the school had changed the building without notifying us, so I had to wander around the campus until I found the right place, sniffling and cursing the day I ever decided to go to back to grad school. My freak-out meter was in the red.

    Then I took the test and aced it.

    Too bad I decided not to go to grad school, after all.

    Point is, you’ll do it all and do awesome. I have no doubt.

    • Thank you…I needed that. 🙂

      I’ve taken a day off work to recover my senses (ha…maybe) and my health, and I will be back to the grind tomorrow with some more conference prep to show for it, and with a little luck, my bronchitis will go away instead of turning into pneumonia as it’s been wont to do in the past.

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