Guest Post: The Write Costume by Danielle Barriga
Dearest Reader–We have a guest at See Jane Publish. Please welcome the lovely Danielle Barriga as she blogs about her fear. Take it away, Darling Danielle!
Half the fun of Hallowe’en is choosing your costume, but deciding what to wear to my first RWA meeting was downright scary. What should a budding romance writer wear out in public, anyway? Probably not the yoga pants she usually writes in at home.
I spread my entire wardrobe across the bed, trying to pick the perfect outfit. If only Costumes-R-Us carried something for romance writers! In my fantasy world, the ideal writer’s costume hid among slithery stacks of cellophane wrappers containing neatly folded nurse and French maid uniforms.
Back in the real world, I debated between my Columbia dress and a blazer, as if making the right choice would land me on the best-seller list. As if this was my only concern. As if fears of long, winding plots leading nowhere, books that were never finished, and mountains of rejections didn’t lurk in the shadows of my mind.
And then it was done: I was dressed and sitting in the parking lot of Portland Community College, watching people walk into the building where I would attend my first Rose City Romance Writers meeting. It was like junior high all over again.
“Maybe I should have worn the Columbia dress,” I said to Flip, my real-life HEA.
“I don’t think it matters,” he said, looking around. “They must have given you the wrong address. Where are the heaving bosoms, the ripped bodices?”
At least I’ll never have to worry about Flip not being on board with my career change. He’s even willing to sacrifice one Saturday a month so I can come to these meetings, getting (and, I hope, eventually giving) invaluable, concrete support. But right then, for my first public appearance, I just wanted to look the part.
No matter how often we say that looks don’t matter, they do. Our image is our calling card; we are all walking billboards for ourselves. The best interviewing tip I ever got was to dress like you’ve already been hired; looking like you fit in is half the game.
A trio of women hustled past, all wearing skirts. Maybe I should have gone with the dress. Flip sensed my dithering and, in a true demonstration of tough love, kicked me out of the car. My boot heels clicked across the asphalt parking lot. I pulled open the door and found myself inside a typical college building, room numbers posted beside each door.
“Looking for the Rose City Romance Writers?” A woman waved me over. She ushered me inside, slapped a nametag on my lapel, and pointed me to a seat. I’d done it, I thought. She’d seen me and known instantly that I was a writer! Then she patted me on the shoulder. “Good thing I found you out there. You looked pretty lost!”
I scoped out the room and my heart skipped a beat. There, front and center, was my Columbia dress. On a woman who – you could tell just by looking – was most definitely a romance writer.