Writing Tip: Keeping positive

Glass Half EmptyIn my last writing tips article, I talked about that long slow period you might encounter at a show. This week I wanted to offer some suggestions at how to stay positive if things have gotten you down. I know, that is kind of an odd article to come from me. After all, I coined the phrase:

The glass is not only half-empty, the water is dirty.

By nature, I’m usually more of a realist, not an optimist. However, I have learned how to find the positive in things if I take the time to do so.

With that in mind, here are a few tips that may help you remain positive, be it at an event or anytime you are writing or trying to do get something done.

1. Avoid the trap of worrying about something that has not happened yet

Unless it is inevitable—like being in an out of control car sliding toward the edge of the bridge—things may not turn out as badly as you fear. Which means you don’t want to waste your time now lamenting a tragedy before it has occurred. Do not become paralyzed with fear, instead, use the time to your advantage.

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Writers: Don’t forget your mats!

With my first major show of the year coming up (Planet Comicon), I thought I would share a few tips I’ve learned with my fellow writers (aspiring or otherwise).  Even if you are not a writer, you might find this useful.

Floor MatWhen doing a show, don’t forget your mats!  I have had a sit down job for a number of years and standing in one small area for 10 hours straight can leave me a bit worn out.  Believe me, standing is worse than walking (or hiking 18 miles with a heavy pack).

At my first big show, I stood on the hard concrete the whole time and by the end of the three days, I was miserable.  I went out right after that show and bought some relatively inexpensive floor mats ($25).  I am not specifically endorsing Dick’s Sporting Goods, but the image above is exactly what I purchased.  They are four 2′ x 2′ squares and you can configure them to cover a different amount of area depending on what space you have behind the table.  While only 1/2″ thick, they do not weigh a lot or take up a great deal of room when you are bringing your things onto the floor.  (For actual exercise mats, I bought a 3/4″ thick version.)

I’ve used the set for a while now and it has held up even on asphalt and rough ground.  Most of the time, I configure it to cover 2′ x 6′ (or 2′ x 8′ for larger tables).  However, I will likely buy another set of four so I can cover 4′ of depth both behind and under the table.  While I will advocate standing most of the time, when you are actually signing a book (or taking a break) being able to scoot the chair easily under the table, and not off a drop, is nice.

A word about standing.  You might ask: Why should I stand the whole time?  They give me chairs for a reason.

Well, my response is that when you are standing, you will appear more approachable and engaging.  It helps to be able to converse with people eye to eye and standing facilitates that.  In watching other tables, and from my own experiences, tables where the person stood had more people stop than those where the person sat the whole time.  And to be able to sustain standing for 3 or 4 days straight, I really recommend the mats.