Phobias I have known and loved

One of my bigger phobias (which is really saying something) is public speaking. Speaking in public elicits negative physical responses, including (but not limited to) increased heart rate, cold sweats, ringing in the ears, rosacea flare-ups, clammy palms, and gastric disturbances too horrible to describe here (or anywhere else).

And yet, I must have owed the wrong person a big favor, because someone talked me into conducting a workshop on proofreading and page layout at the West Branch Christian Writers Conference on Oct. 19.

Here’s the short description of my exciting workshop:

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Proofreading … And Why You Need to Know It (Linda Au)
Linda M. Au is an award-winning humor writer, and she is a proofreader, copy editor, and typesetter. She’s been on both sides of the publishing desk, and she’ll share some tips for creating a cleaner manuscript for submission or a better layout for publication. You’ll learn about proofreader’s marks, page layout pitfalls, and common mistakes writers make. Linda’s a grammar and font nerd with 25 years of experience in proofreading and typesetting. Learn why her nitpicking quirks might be just what your writing needs as you move toward final drafts and publishing. 


Now you can see why I’m petrified. Nobody wants to sit through something like this. On purpose.

In the past (and by “the past,” I mean as recent as last week), for my extreme phobia of flying, I’ve resorted to pharmaceutical relief … which gets me onto the plane without fainting, but doesn’t really make me happy about it. The best I can say is that I still know we’re going to crash and burn and die, but at least I don’t care.

For this public speaking phobia, I’m going to have to rely on misdirection and a sort of mental sleight of hand: that is, convincing myself that no one will show up and I’ll be off the hook, or that everyone will be so enthralled with proofreaders’ marks and a PowerPoint presentation on the serial comma that they’ll give me a standing ovation.

I don’t see either one of those really working out.

But, I’ll be there anyway, so if you’d like to join us for a day of writing workshops and learning (and great fellowship, except with that one faculty member who will be in the corner sweating bullets and praying to deities she’s making up on the spot), register now and I’ll see you there! Well, maybe I won’t actually see you, since I’ll be heavily medicated so I can make it through the day without keeling over.