Yesterday I dragged my inner extrovert out of its dusty box and taught a beadwork class, something I haven’t done in several years. I absolutely know, without a doubt, that I can teach jewelry making classes and still I was anxious. Standing in front of a group of people and teaching them about something the I love is scary stuff. So is putting myself “out there” on the internet to help promote my writing. The whole being social part of social media. The kind of thing that makes an introverted writer sweat and break out in hives. And, I was born an introvert. Right?
I don’t think so. I was well into my 30’s before I realized it, but I think many of my introverted tendencies were taught to me as I was growing up by an extremely introverted parent. I was taught that I shouldn’t draw attention, good or bad, to myself. Performing in front of an audience was supposed to be terror-inducing torture. Also, if faced with a challenge, walk away and avoid at all cost. Is it any wonder that I preferred holing up in my room with a pile of books instead of having a social life?
I have taught my own children that they can try to do anything they want, that they should take on challenges and do their best. My 13-year old daughter performs drama monologues in front of an auditorium packed full of people for competitions and talent shows. The ghost of my former 13-year old self wants to hide under the seats when I watch her do this but I am insanely proud or her and my son for all of the things that he does, like flying RC airplanes and now participating in a math competition.
Sometimes I have to remind myself of the lessons in self-confidence that I’ve tried to teach my children. The publishing world is a sort of Wild West-style new frontier right now. Anything is possible, if you work hard. Part of the hard work is networking and socializing, trying to connect with readers. The kind of things that is tough for an introvert.
Building up my extrovert muscles isn’t easy. Viewing my introverted tendencies as one of those little devils sitting on my shoulder helps. So does just doing something, instead of worrying about doing it. If I was taught to be introverted I can teach myself to be the extrovert I need to be to succeed as a writer.
How about you? What do you do when your confidence is wavering and you just want to crawl under a rock?