In my blog (some time ago now), “Getting ‘Thin’ Can Be a Big Mistake,” I stated that I didn’t really have a number “10” for my list of suggestions. But on fifth thought (yeah, I went back and forth on this a few times), I’d like to offer a possible number 10: getting over the fear of being ‘out there.’
Writers write for the utter joy of it. We do. Honestly. But loving to write doesn’t necessarily equate with being fully comfortable with being exposed as authors or having hundreds (or even thousands) of others seeing our work—especially for writers who are introverts. Case in point: S.F. Powell.
My introvert tendencies far exceed my extrovert ones, but if I wanted others to get joy from my work, I had to let them know it was out there. All authors have traces of self-doubt (even bestselling authors), some with more traces than others. But doubt about my work wasn’t a major factor for me; it was a ‘fear’ of people knowing the work existed period—which in turn meant folk knew that I existed, that I have work out there to be ‘judged.’ Yet the ‘judging’ doesn’t bother me as much as one would think (basically: you either like it or you don’t; hopefully you do, but if not, moving on).
And it is not from conceit that I worry about people knowing about my existence (“Who cares about you and what you’re doing?” you might say), but rather, the whole idea of my head being permanently out from its ‘turtle shell’ is daunting. Strangers know who I am now (but I don’t know who they are). Only true introverts get where I’m coming from with this, so extroverts, a little patience and empathy please. How would you feel if your head were permanently situated inside your turtle shell, and you couldn’t interact, or be social or, I don’t know … extrovert?
There are ways however, that introverts can be ‘out there’ with their work without being ‘out there’ (e.g. social media), so it’s not a bad row to hoe if an introvert is selective. Small dalliances in the social media world may not lead to bestseller status, but not every writer is looking for that, so introvert writers must do what feels comfortable, and resist the pressures and advice (that make them uncomfortable). I didn’t like much of the social media arena at first, but I’m finally coming around (albeit slowly).
Although it is a necessary evil for even minimal writing success, getting over the fear is not easy or a one-off experience. Getting over the fear can be a lengthy process, and may require more of a ‘toe-dipping’ approach. 😉