Monday 30 July 2018
Introvert Writer - The Creative Process
I know that not every writer is an introvert, though it is more common than extrovert, but for me I definitely fall into that category. I have moments where I can be more outspoken, but generally that will be with people I either know, or trust enough to be myself. It's something I've struggled with throughout my life, and also through my writing career. When it comes to connecting with other writers, I find it hard to make that first leap of saying hi, I also find it hard to keep up the friendship and that can bite me in the arse from time to time.
However, I am learning. I am getting to the point where I've realised (and it took me long enough!) that I need to interact with people otherwise I'm just this quiet one in the corner who doesn't really do or say anything which doesn't help me build my platform or make friends easily. That said, I know that a lot of writers struggle with this. We're used to be the weird ones on our own with stories and worlds in our head, that even around other writers we hold back. And it doesn't help us at all. It leads to you feeling isolated and without a support system with other writers. So how do we change that? Glad you asked.
#1 - START SMALL
Rome wasn't built in a day and it's not easy at all to set yourself up to fail by starting at the impossible. You have to start small. Whether that's leaving a few comments on a post for just one person, or saying hi and starting a conversation with someone you follow. Whatever that first step is, make it small enough that it doesn't feel insurmountable. If you aim too high, you're just going to be kicking yourself later. I say go for people you follow, but people who also follow you is a good step, but generally speaking they *want* to hold a conversation. They want that interaction and it makes things slightly easier for you.
#2 - IF IT HELPS, SCHEDULE IT
Now I'm someone who is supremely organised. It's one of the ways I keep on top of this, and how I manage to keep my anxiety at bay. I've been trying to make those small steps and one thing that's helped me has been to schedule time to talk to other writers, respond to tweets and scroll through Instagram and all of that. It can simply be that every hour you respond to a certain number of posts, messages, whatever works for you. And if that helps you, it can be an amazing tool. It means that I'm not going back and forth and worrying about it interfering with my writing time because it's time set aside specifically for just chatting to people.
#3 - BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR LIMITS
Now I'm a spoonie (link to that here) and I have limits on my time. I can't spend all day sat at my desk and generally speaking once I go up to bed, my time on social media dwindles down because I am usually done for the day. But I'm upfront about that, people generally know that I squeeze as much as I can into the time I'm able to be sat up before heading to bed. If you're building a new friendship with someone and you know that say, time zone differences, are gonna have an impact, or if like me you're unable to commit to much, then be honest about it. Generally people are happy to work with you rather than push you into something you're not comfortable with. Same goes for things like preferring Twitter to Instagram, or text to voice. Just be sure that you tell people what your limits are and it works out for the best.
#4 - HAVE FUN
I know this may seem like a flippant one, but it's really not. You don't have to be talking about writing the whole time, you can also talk about other shared interests. And the people you're connecting with should be people you want to talk to. It's hard sometimes when pushed outside of your comfort zone, but you have to remember that it's okay to have fun and enjoy the time you use. It might take a while for that to seem natural, and that's okay, it's all about finding what works for you and utilizing it best for your needs and circumstances.
So those are my four tips on how you can step outside of your comfort zone as an introvert writer. Making friends and connections is sometimes hard to do, but taking those first steps can lead you to a friendship that you treasure. I know that when I met B, all those many years ago (we met in secondary school, so about twenty-three years ago) it took something simple to break the ice. Basically my front door key didn't work and my mum was still at work so I went to her house. And yet I'm closer to her than I am anyone. Your mileage may, of course, vary.
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