Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Connections

Writers live isolated lives.

We spend hours with our noses in books, shut in dark rooms with our laptops, staring off into space "researching."

We can be lonely. Cut off.

I'm an extrovert, and I love people, but for some unfortunate reason, I'm also very shy. I was never the type of person who has tons of friends or makes them everywhere she goes. I've always had one, maybe two friends if I'm lucky at any given moment, and it's difficult for me to meet new people. I long for friendships, but my shyness makes it hard for me to go out there and find people with interests like mine. I'm baffled how those non-shy people do it, and usually stand around, desperately hoping one of them will find me and introduce me to everyone else at a party.

Things rarely happen to you when you sit there waiting for them.

When I started writing, I finally realized "I shouldn't be doing this alone." Every site and blog I read was talking about critique groups and writer buddies who lift you up when you are buried under the Rejection Pile. So, I pulled up my bootstraps, and said "I'm going to be social, dammit!"

I didn't know where to start. I wanted to chime in on forums and blogs, but I had all of these worries, these doubts constantly swirling through my mind.

I'm not fun to talk to.

If I'm not interesting enough, no one will notice me.

If I'm too forward, people will think I'm psycho.

I'm too boring.

I'm too weird.

I'm smiling like a Killer Klown from Outer Space in my profile pic.

Someone will think I'm internet stalking them if I comment too much.

I'm not part of the group. I'm intruding on the others.

So now you know: I'm a little nutty.

However, here's the secret I learned from manning up and getting myself out there: Everyone else is nutty too. And it's okay :)!

We're all obsessive and hermity and strange, and we are all one big community of people who are following the same dream.

The second I realized that I was not alone was the second I realized that I loved getting to know other writers like nothing else. I've met some amazing people who have not only helped me shape my novel, but have just made me feel like, well, part of the gang in this secret world of writers.

The connections that bring us together as a community are the greatest thing that social networking/blogging has given me these past few months. I have friends with the same goals who help support me, and I them. If you're not trying to connect with other writers, I strongly encourage you to be bold and reach out. No one will bite you. I've discovered that fellow writers are some of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met :).

(Just make sure you're balancing your networking time with you know... actual writing time. Heheh.)

So, to wrap up this rambling, thank you, all of you for making me feel so welcome. Thank you for sharing your knowledge for me. Thanks for just being funny and sharing your opinions, and making me feel like I'm not the only crazy person out there.

Also, if you feel unconnected and wandered here checking things out, feel free to email me any time at legacyoftheempress(at)gmail(dot)com. If I can help you get connected with some other writers, or be that connection for you myself, I'm happy to know you :).

For the rest of you, I'd love to hear your stories and about your road to getting connected.

How do other writers play a role in your life?

Are you shy like me?

Have insecurities?

Do you have beta readers or critique buddies that have changed you for the better?

What's your story?

11 comments:

Abby said...

I have to say I'm a little shocked by this post. Your comments are always so thoughtful and genuine and bubbly. I never would have guessed you were shy. Ever.

I'm an introvert, through and through. It's not that I don't like people. I just don't like going to parties and such unless I know most of the people there, and even then, it's hard to put myself out there.

Even hiding behind my computer screen I get a little freaked about jumping into established forums, where everybody knows everybody. And I've had all those same thoughts you listed. But I'm slowly coming out of my shell. Ever, ever so slowly. I actually blogged about this very subject last week. Well, sort of. :)

I too am grateful for all the incredible writer friends I've made online. Couldn't do it without you! You're the coolest! :D

Rebecca Knight said...

That is too funny, Abby. I never would have guessed you are shy, either!

I always try to be myself and just "go for it" on this blog and others, but I have had to overcome a lot of nervousness to do it.

Cool that you're the same way :D.

Lisa and Laura said...

It's funny, we're not shy at all in real life, but it took us a LONG time to jump in on other writer's blogs and writers forums. We were just so scared of looking weird or desperate. But now that we have, it's so fun! I love meeting new writing friends and watching them succeed. And there are still loads of blogs that I follow that I'm way too nervous to comment on, so I guess I still have some work to do!

Rebecca Knight said...

Wow, so even non-shys have the same anxiety. Craziness! I'm learning new things today.

I'm glad you guys let your hair down and let us get to know the real twizzler-munching yous :D!

Little Ms J said...

I am an extrovert all the way, but so shy when it comes to posting comments or giving critiques because I don't feel "in" yet. What if they think I'm a faker! Aaackk!! :-)

My first writer's conference definitely gave me a little more confidence, but I'm still a lurker on writer's sites for the most part.

sambgood said...

I'm outgoing with my circle of friends, but shy when there's a large group of strangers. And the web is huge! Even now, even though I've blogged for over a year and (started to) tweet, I find myself shy and intimidated. Like Little Ms J, I lurk around writing sites, scared to jump in. But when I do take the plunge like commenting on another aspiring writer's blog, I jump right out. I'll reply back, but I find it so hard to really establish the relationship.

Some of the worries and doubts you talked about, I have. What if I say something dumb? What if my contributions are of little value? I don't want intrude. They seem so established. I'm not as good as them. Sometimes I'm a bit too blunt, what if they think I'm rude? My sense of humour might be a bit too out there. It's crazy--the doubts swirling in my head.

I'm trying to overcome the shyness. A slow process, but I'm working on it. Hopefully, instead of jumping in and out, I'll swim with the current. It would be nice to have that steady circle of writer buddies many people have and enjoy. So many writers I've found on the web (but never really contacted) inspire me with their discipline and hard work. Hopefully, sooner or later, I'll be able to tell them that.

Thanks for the post. I really liked it. It spoke loud and true.

cipherqueen said...

However, here's the secret I learned from manning up and getting myself out there: Everyone else is nutty too. And it's okay :)!


We're all obsessive and hermity and strange, and we are all one big community of people who are following the same dream.


"The second I realized that I was not alone was the second I realized that I loved getting to know other writers like nothing else. I've met some amazing people who have not only helped me shape my novel, but have just made me feel like, well, part of the gang in this secret world of writers."

So true! I'm also an extremely shy person, but I forced myself to enter speaking competitions and become a leader in order to build my confidence.

I'm still a little shy. But I like to think that's a good thing- it means you're listening. Online forums and such have really showed me the 'buisness' of publishing, so I really can say that I'm a professial writer now. And nothing beats being told that your query is finally ready to send out again. :)

Keep writing!

~ Cipherqueen

Shelli said...

i could not live without my critique group buddies and oddly enough - not without my blogger buds either. I feel like I am not alone even though techincally I am. :)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Yeah, I'm another shy person. It took me a lllooonnnggg time to stop lurking and start posting on writing forums. Same thing when I first started blogging, I would hesitate to leave comments on other people's blogs. Just like in real life situations though, I just had to push myself a bit to come out of my shell.

Rebecca Knight said...

Little Miss J--I felt exactly the same way after my writers conference. It's a lot less intimidating to talk to people online after you've forced yourself to shake hands with strangers in real life :P.

Sam--you're so welcome! It's cool to see that you can relate. I felt like that, too, like the web is one big stage, and I'm standing on it in my underpants. Hang in there!

Cipherqueen--You GO! That's such a great idea about the speaking competitions :D.

Shelli--Welcome! I feel the same way about blogger buddies.

Kate--I'm totally the same way. I lurk until I finally just say "oh, screw it" and make myself dive in. Yay!

PurpleClover said...

I'm a complete extrovert but I still agreed with everything you posted because I'm a Type A and I know I come on too strong. Then I get sidetracked and feel like when I come back people have given up on me and don't want me back! haha.

We're all a little nutty. I don't think you can be a writer and not be a little nutty. Actually a lot nutty.

Oh and I love your profile background. I almost chose it but I got sidetracked...lol.