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Friday, March 18, 2011

Hey Look, I Blend Into The Wallpaper!

Happy Friday All,

I'm sorry I'm late putting up a post, but I hope I can make it up to you with this one.

You probably wouldn't believe me if I said this, but there's a lot of authors in the biz who are very shy. Happily ensconced in their rooms/offices writing, they can let their heroes be brave, bold, incredibly macho men, and the women are soft, sweet, but also with a fire in their hearts (whether it's at the beginning, middle or end). But they have to take several deep breaths and push themselves forward when approaching the unknown.

The thing is, we can't live our lives on the sidelines. Authors especially can't do that because we have to network, we have to pitch, we have to greet fans and readers. We have to constantly put ourselves out there. Our stories and online presence are the ice breakers, but we're the main event--we're the ones who have to take that step and put the story out there first--for if we don't, it won't get out there.

It's okay to be a shy person, but you can't let it freeze you up. Sure shyness is there, but you can't let it get in your way (I'm going to keep saying that because it's true). You'll never take that first step if you don't say "All right, I'm shy, but I gotta do this, so here I go."

I don't remember what movie this was in, but the line is:  "Courage isn't the absence of fear. It's the belief that something is more important than the fear." (If any of you remember what movie that's from, please let me know!)  Edit: 3/18/2011 2:41 p.m.:  Thank you, Dakota, for helping me remember...the quote comes from the movie, The Princess Diaries (the first one) and it was Mia's father who said it in a letter.

Courage doesn't mean you're not shy, doesn't mean you're not afraid, it just means that you know that in the business of writing and publishing that networking, pitching, putting oneself out there is more important than the shyness or the fear. Your love of your craft and your story take center stage.

Don't let shyness slow you down--if you're a writer--grab those opportunities. If you're a reader, go ahead and approach your favorite author (unless the author is in the bathroom--that's awkward; or has said please don't disturb--but generally authors are available to their fans and readers). Most likely the author will be delighted to talk to you. Even if you stammer, even if you blush, trip all over your tongue, even if your hands shake, go up and say "Hello."

So, what about you? How do you get your courage and "step up to the plate"?

Have A Fantastic Friday!

12 comments:

Demitria said...

I think a lot of writers are introspective...but have to learn to get beyond that. I love the blogsphere...you can connect and network without leaving your house. :)

demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

Bethany said...

Demitria,

Thank you for dropping by!

You're definitely correct. The internet is great for writers because we can network that way, but we also have to be able to network in person :-)

Melissa said...

Boy do I know alot about this! LOL It's something I don't think you ever overcome completely, but just learn to deal with. Sure wish it was easier to find that courage though.

Tess said...

I don't have a shy bone in my body--I think it comes from being the youngest of five. But I do feel for shy people. If I had a piece of advice...it would be that a shy person remember we're all created equal...no one is any better than anyone else!

Dakota said...

I've heard that quote on "The Princess Diaries".

Bethany said...

Melissa,

I know the feeling LOL But sometimes you gotta take that shyness, put it under your feet and stand on it (just to get it out of the way). :-)

Bethany said...

Tessy,

I'm the second-to-the-youngest of 8. Still have to shove my shyness aside sometimes. I guess some people naturally know how to overcome it, and others have to work on it :-)

Bethany said...

Dakota,

You're right! Thank so much for dropping by and helping me remember :-)

jeff7salter said...

I've been shy most of my life, especially as a kid. Yet, if you asked people I worked with or went to grad school with, or went to church with --- I bet they would be surprised.
Yes, it does take courage and resourcefulness to cope with innate shyness.
And it's very easy to just 'stay home' and not make the effort.
One thing which has worked for me (in various settings): I'll take a quick look around the room (space, whatever) and spot somebody who looks even more uncomfortable than I feel. And I'll go speak to them. That accomplishes two things: it involves me in the gathering ... and relaxes the even shyer person to whom I'm speaking.

Tonette said...

I keep trying to post but get cut off, so I am late getting to you...I want to say to you,[Gandalf]"A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early; he arrives precisely when he means to".It's your show, Bethany; your blog comes when it comes!
I was nearly paranoid with shyness as a child.I was sickly when the schools were unsympathetic and bright.I was picking things up faster than the kids around me but that made me feel even more of an outcast.I felt inferior, as they were so easy-going, so comfortable in their skins, so unconcerned about how they were perceived that I envied them.
Coming out of it was sometimes slow, sometimes by leaps."Courage is fear that said its prayers" pulled me along many times. In my 20's I won an Honorable Mention in an Internationall song festival, but I quit writing except for organizations and work sometimes, nothing terribly creative. It took me until I was in my 40's to put myself out there some , pulled back again and now have been publishe in my 50's. DOn't wait like I did; it is OK to put yourself out there.Everyone gets rejected, but many,many people get published every day.
And God for you, Jeff.
Did you kow that Mother Teresa of Calcutta equated listening to a lonely neighbor with going to India to care for the lepers?
We need to reach out when we can give to someone something that we ourselves have needed.
I hope this takes!

Bethany said...

Jeff,

Thanks for dropping by--good to "see" you. You have a great tactic. As someone who's been the receipent of a person just striking up a conversation with me, it does help relax a person and it "breaks the ice" plus you get to meet someone new and that can be fun :-)

Bethany said...

Tonette,

Great story there about yourself! Thank you for coming by and sharing it and encouraging others (plus I forgot about that Gandalf quote--too awesome) :-)