I’m doing a book reading at SXSW

Towards the end of 2015 I’d just been contacted by O’Reilly about creating some content related to storytelling in design. A workshop or book was mentioned and I immediately jumped at the workshop idea.

When I first started “blogging” I had this “Who am I too…” feeling. Self-promotion has always been quite unnatural to me. Perhaps it’s the Jante laws or simply that I’m not a very shouty person. It’s nothing to do with not feeling good enough at what I do. That’s one area that I’m very confident in and have no doubts about. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. But there are so many other talented people out there and I felt a little “look at me” when it came to writing blog posts and sharing them on social. It just didn’t feel like me. It was the same when I started doing public speaking, though that did come with the fear of the audience (and especially the other speakers) knowing more about the subject than I did and what if they asked a question I couldn’t answer?

With both the writing and the public speaking I’ve found my voice and my areas that I both love to write and talk about and where I can add value to the conversation, not just voice my opinion. It’s a process that takes time but when you find it, it just feels right. Whilst I still feel a little iffy at times about sharing my posts on social and about self-promotion in general, I no longer feel “Who am I to…” or as “look at me” when it comes to giving talks and writing blog posts.

As for the O’Reilly content piece, the idea of writing a book grew stronger with me and during December 2015 I was working on the outline for it. The idea of me actually writing a book hadn’t sunk in and even today as the book is nearly finished it hasn’t. I think that’s why I got a bit shocked when I in the beginning of December received an email from SXSW saying that my session submission had been accepted under the condition that I’d do a book reading instead of a talk. Book reading. Me?! Should I, little me, sit/ stand on a stage in front of an audience and read from a book, that I’d written. At SXSW?! Ha! That’s insane. A bit douchey?! Definitely a “look at me” thing, whether I like it or not.

I called my dad and told him. I didn’t say very much but was mostly quiet. Hmm’ed and Mmm’ed. Whilst there was never a question in my mind whether I should do it or not, the whole concept just needed to sink in. A week later I started to feel incredibly excited about it, and grateful. What a special thing to do.

I’ll most definitely feel out of my comfort zone as far as “look at me” goes, but sod it. It’s good to do what makes us feel uncomfortable. Had I not stuck with it when it came to public speaking, I’d never be where I am today and the book wouldn’t have come about. And as for the book, it’ll be a good one.

If you want to read the raw, unedited edition, it’s available for early release through the O’Reilly website, and as for my book reading, it’s on Monday the 13th of March at the Design track of SXSW Interactive.

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