Looking back into the past I recall this super-young girl in school at the back of the classroom reading books in between classes and trying to stay invisible. My dilemma was that I didn’t want negative attention so I decided that no attention was the best option. Out of sight, out of mind. It made somethings in my life easy; like picking friends who liked me for me or becoming more mature as I observed others. Most people would feel lonely or perhaps depraved, I enjoyed the silence. It was time for myself and my thoughts whether they were destructive or not.
It was later that I learned my introvert behaviors were leaving me out from accomplishing goals I wanted. As a writer the reclusive life made me assume that it didn’t matter what I did in my private life because I could be left alone. Assumptions taught me that you should never assume. Being a writer doesn’t mean you just write anymore. Perhaps at once you could live in the middle of nowhere and keep to yourself, maybe at one point your book spoke for you. Now there is a lot of competition and everyone is a writer. Publishing a book no longer becomes about the material or your writing voice, it becomes a point of knowing people and/or getting heard. Two of the things I have struggled in my life to accomplish.
I’m the classic loner. The one who would prefer to stay inside the house and watch a movie instead of going to the bar. Not to mention I become ill when I spend money on things that are triple the price at a venue compared to at my home. Finishing a book was one thing but becoming the extrovert to get others to notice my work was, and still is, a bit of a challenge. Since I don’t like to go out of my house for anything other than errands and work I had no connection. Since I don’t care to let the world know how my day was going I wasn’t getting an online following base. Getting my book published became tedious.
What changed my quiet side?
My introvert side got a little jumbled when I decided to change jobs and go into sales. It was like forcing myself to withstand the general public and find ways to relate to them in order to sell the right product. I’ve been working for the company for years and though I don’t enjoy retail or sales it has been a huge benefit for me. I don’t think I could have ever been as bold as I am now before this job. A job pays you money so at the end of the day if you want to pay your bills and buy nice things you are going to find a way to deal with the job. Before I knew it I became a people person. On my personal life I was still quiet but on both personal and professional I was more bold. Now that I am in management my ego has gotten big enough to no longer get nervous when I talk to large groups of people. Oddly enough I get excited now instead of feeling a varying point of emotional condemnation. Now I can talk to a decent size crowd and express my feelings and knowledge openly with strangers. That was a big accomplishment.
So how do I deal with these extrovert activities that seem frivolous to me but can land me a deal?
I take baby steps. First I finally decided last year to show my book to a friend who was an avid book reader. She was my first test. Since she loved it and stayed up reading it for several days it caused her husband to complain about her not mentally being around. He just so happened to complain to a friend who knew about the music publishing industry. Since then I have gotten a lot of helpful advice from him while searching for a publisher or determining to go self-publishing.
The easiest way, I found, to get myself out there without making a lot of changes to my life that I didn’t want (partying, being friends with people I didn’t care to know, or spending money I didn’t want to lose) was through blogging which made my quiet voice easy to hear. Instead of writing only about fiction I realized that I just needed to be open about myself and if people hate it they hate it. Not everyone is going to like you, just like I don’t like everyone. It is easier being open and honest on paper when you don’t have face to face contact. It is similar to writing for yourself. Then I also got into social networking. It is hard for me but I make it a point to update my statuses several times a day because at the end of the day I just need the opportunity to meet people with the same interest.Youtube vlogging it my next step. I have done several videos but I haven’t found my niche. I feel embarrassed on the camera. Then I found an old friend who is more outgoing than me and brings that side out of me as well. So starting in the new year we will be vlogging together. Problem solved. I think we will be more entertaining together than apart.
I don’t think of these things as extrovert activities anymore. Going out to meet strange new people that want to help my dreams has become more of a job. So when I look at improving my life to help my dreams I think of it as a career. It’s no longer a want, it is a need. If I have to go to a club and get down with my horrendous moves then I will if there is a change it will make a difference. At the end of the day I recognize my dreams are bigger than my own. My characters may be fictional but in my mind they are more real than most things in life. I can’t bear to disappoint them and the biggest disappointment to them and myself would be to give up and stop trying.