By Frances Caballo on Social Media Just for Writers:
I’ve been introverted all my life, although friends who know me well don’t believe it. But it’s true. I don’t like going to parties where I don’t recognize people, although once I’m there, I do tend to have fun.
But the thought of being in a room of people I don’t know can, at times, inhibit me from going out. Even being in a room of people where I’ll know a few people can be intimidating.
Do you ever feel the same way?
If you’re a writer, you probably understand how I feel since most writers tend to be introverts. How else can we bear to spend hours by ourselves writing? We enjoy our own company, or at least the company of our fictional characters.
Many years ago I held a job that forced me to become less introverted. As the development director of a large nonprofit, I had to talk with all the donors and their guests for an evening of fundraising. After a few sips of champagne, I was usually able to step into a crowd of people and greet them and make sure they enjoyed their evening.
Even though I appeared outgoing for the night, the next day I would stay at home and read a book. Introverts get energized by being alone whereas extroverts get energized by being with people.
But I digress.
As a child, my introverted nature served me well.
I always won spelling bees (because I read a lot).
My writing (and reading) skills surpassed those of my sister, who was three years older.
I excelled at school.
But as I grew up, being introverted made life more difficult for me.
I had difficulty making new friends.
In college, I would rather read and study than face a room filled with people I didn’t know at a party.
There have been other benefits and disadvantages to being introverted as well but, I share these to make a point: Being introverted may cause you to feel uncomfortable at times but, it’s also an asset. How else would you finish your books?
As a writer, you need to break out of your introverted nature enough so that you can market the books you spend so much time in solitude writing and perfecting.
In my case, I stuttered as a child, which probably pushed me further up the introverted spectrum. But by the time I reached high school and entered the workforce, my stuttering was behind me.
My career as a journalist forced me to talk with new people all the time, and that in turn made social situations more comfortable. By the time I published my first book, I wasn’t an extrovert, but I was more comfortable pretending to be an extrovert when needed.
This is exactly what you need to do. When appropriate, such as at book readings and signings and when appearing as a guest at book club gatherings, relax and don’t worry about what you’ll say. Let your words flow as you pretend that your closest friends surround you.
There have been studies that indicate that social media is good for introverts because it enables people who love to stay at home get out into the world – even if it’s a virtual experience – and meet and interact with new people every day.
There is a caveat to this. Pretending to be an extrovert should not be interpreted as an excuse for constantly promoting your books on social media. Instead, it’s an invitation to form relationships with writers and readers worldwide and support each other in promoting what you write.