I'm Exhibiting At Maker Faire And I'm Totally Nervous

The time of the event has actually arrived -- and I am more nervous than I expected to be.
Publish date:
September 13, 2014
DIY, maker faire, weekend, comfort zone, trying new things, projects, creative, outside comfort zone

I have written a little bit about my love of Maker Faires (and Mini Maker Faires) before but in case you aren't familiar, here's the short deal: a Maker Faire is an exhibition of science, technology, and art. There are events of varying sizes all over the world at this point -- and that includes Orlando.

This year, the Maker Faire Orlando is a two-day event, with over 200 exhibitors (mostly locals and mostly regular folks who do cool things as hobbies) taking over the Orlando Science Center. I'm really glad it's two days, because Ed and I didn't get to see everything in one day yesterday.

Though it's possible I'll see even less this year -- because I'm exhibiting and demonstrating.

Signing up seemed like a really good idea at the time; I thought I'd show some homemade lino cuts and rubber stamps for block printing (I shared a little about that here). And I knew there definitely wouldn't be anyone else demonstrating how to use a homemade bottlejack press.

But now the time of the event has actually arrived -- and I am more nervous than I expected to be.

Here are the things that are making me nervous:

  • Will people even be interested in my booth?
  • Will I have enough stuff available for sale?
  • Will I have things to keep kids entertained as well as adults?
  • Will the crowd be totally overwhelming?
  • Will my helper show up?
  • Will I be made fun of and/or mocked for making silly little things?

Part of this is lack of good secure feelings about prep work. Nothing calms the nerves like actually having everything squared away before you need it, right? Instead, I realized halfway through my load-in on Friday night that I'd forgotten the dang extension cord. Not to mention that there was literally no time left to make anything else to add to the booth.

I've been laughing at myself a lot through the process of getting ready for this show, please don't think I haven't been. The ball was dropped on some details -- that's just how life works when you're juggling -- and nothing has been a showstopper by any stretch of the imagination so it's not been too hard to find some humor in all of it.

But I do feel a little personal exasperation even so, combined with a healthy dose of "I can't believe I am still doing this to myself." Sure, I've always been a last-minute creative person (so many papers written the night before they were due) and the methodology of a lifetime apparently won't be changing any time soon. And I learned last-minute holiday shopping like a pro -- from my dad.

It's just that there's so much irony here, y'all. Because when I signed up I really did tell myself that I was going to work slow and steady. I was going to build up an inventory. I was going to plan my booth out ahead of time so even that wouldn't be a mystery.

To be fair to myself, I did actually mock up several booth layouts. But I pretty much otherwise got crushed by some depression -- I'm happy just to have made it through the summer.

Intentions, even the best ones -- there are reasons there are cliched sayings about them.

As I write this, it's Friday night. I'm up too late given the time my alarm is going to go off. But everything has taken just a little bit longer than usual. By the time you read this, probably sometime on Saturday, all of my nerves will be for nothing either way -- I'll either be having an awesome time or I'll be crying in the bathroom.

Most likely, I'll be having an awesome time. I don't think I'll really be thinking up titles like "IHTM: I Totally Bombed At A Local Event" -- but I will be checking in to see how you are all doing because it wouldn't be the weekend without hanging out here.

So tell me, please, how you handle nerves when you're doing something that scares you.

And do you have something coming up that is making you nervous? Can we help? Tell us that in the comments, too.