This is a fairly small conference, but I'm told it's a good one. C has spoken at it and attended it a few times in years past. C is the one who convinced me to submit a paper several months ago. Not only did he convince me, he helped me with the actual proposal...I wouldn't be doing this at all if it weren't for him! It wouldn't have occurred to me to try such a thing.
Even when I submitted the proposal, I still didn't really expect it would get accepted. After all, nobody has heard of me, and I have no speaking credentials or anything. Still, it seemed like it'd be fun to at least try. Ya gotta start somewhere, right? I looked at what they were planning to cover, picked a pertinent topic with which I have some expertise (Interpreting User Requirements), and threw together a paragraph describing what I'd like to say. C helped me tighten it up, plus he put in a good word for me with one of the organizers he knows.
I assumed that they'd reject it, but I was still pleased that at least I'd given it a shot. When they told me they wanted me to come speak, I was floored! They only gave me a half-hour time slot, but still...they wanted me to speak! At a professional conference! Wow. It took me a long time before I even believed it myself, and much longer before I stirred up enough boldness to tell other people about it. It felt to me like it was all so inconceivable, people would just laugh if I told them. Plus, I kept expecting that something would go wrong, that I wouldn't end up doing it for some reason...then I'd just feel embarrassed that I'd mentioned it.
Tonight though, I made my plane reservations. I guess it's official...I'm going! A month or so ago, I wrote my paper and created some PowerPoint slides. (Heck, I hadn't even used PowerPoint before writing this; that shows how new to this stuff I am.) I still need to make hotel and car arrangements. I also need to look over my paper again, tweak it, and make sure the timing and such is right. There are lots of details left to be addressed, but I'm doing this. A new feather in my resume, even if it's just a small one...it's all very exciting, even while it's overwhelming!