Writerly Concerns: Stepping Out of the Social Comfort Zone

Young Woman Reading, Mary Cassatt 1876

Young Woman Reading, Mary Cassatt 1876

As has been said before, writing is a lonely business. The time that we work, that we put down words, is all done in our heads. It can be fraught with frustration and self-doubt, wondering why we do this to ourselves and are we ever going to be good enough? Lonely indeed. Combine that with an inherent introvert nature, and it’s amazing that I have a social life at all. But life has been good to me and I had two distinct opportunities over the past few weeks to get out, socialize, and talk (writing) business.

A few weeks ago Mieke Zamora Mackay, the author in training, invited a few of us to join her at a SCBWI social gathering (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). Since I’m not a member of SCBWI, I thought it might be a good time to network and see if it is something I would be interested in. We met in the Library room of Dub Linn Square restaurant, fittingly enough, and it was a great experience. I met several lovely and interesting people who inspired me with their knowledge, talent, and dedication. What really struck me was how many of the women I met said the same thing – I’m not really good at these social things. I’m afraid to go and meet people at things like this. I was nervous coming here.

But yet, kindred spirits we were drawn there, despite our collective social anxiety, to share our lives, our passion for writing, our fears, disappointments, and successes with each other. It turned out to be a great night and, for my part at least, felt that we had all left with some new friends and colleagues. You can read more and see some pictures here at Kathleen Temean’s blog.

On a slightly different note, Wednesday night I attended at local AAUW meeting (American Association of University Women)  to present, along with Amy Hollinger and Jordanna East, on publishing in changing times. It was a fun evening filled with good questions and interest in the writing and publishing process. I talked a little about submitting, querying, and dealing with both rejection and acceptance in traditional publishing, while suspense thriller writer Jordanna East talked about her self-publishing journey and success and Amy Hollinger rounded it out with information on publishing industry changes.

Despite my experience being in front of a room full of people for both my day job and the my duties as monthly meeting facilitator for the South Jersey Writers’ Group, my knees were shaking as we were introduced. However, everyone seemed anxious to learn (we had a few budding writers in the crowd!) and interested in the changes that are affecting all of us – writers and readers alike. It was a great joy to be able to share my experiences and to also learn from both my fellow panelists and those in the room.

South Jersey is a burgeoning and fertile place for writers (really it is!), and many of us share the same anxieties and fears, but when we come together we lessen the loneliness and the fears that plague us.

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9 thoughts on “Writerly Concerns: Stepping Out of the Social Comfort Zone

  1. I’m so glad you’re getting out there, Krista. I always love seeing you and hearing you speak. Believe it or not, even the super extraverts among us get scared in new situations. The potential for saying something stupid magnifies exponentially with the number of people in the room.

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    • haha…i dont know which is worse: talking in front of a group or making small talk in social situations..Wait, yes i do. It’s the latter, most definitely

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  2. Finally got to read this. Thanks, Krista. I was surprised you were nervous for this event. You are so confident and handle a crowd so well. Sounded like a great event. Congratulations.

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  3. It is not just women who get nervous at social gatherings. I have for some time now been thinking of going to a poetry evening and reading some of my poems. However I feel nervous at the prospect of doing so. It is one thing to put one’s work out there on a website and/or in books, but quite another to stand in front of an audience and recite it. Kevin

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    • Yes, I try to encourage all the writers in our writing group to try reading at one of our open mic nights. They’re still surrounded by friends, but have the opportunity to step up and try a public reading. I had heard that public speaking is higher on the list of people’s fears than death.

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      • What a good idea, encouraging people to read at an open mic night at your writer’s group. I am intrigued that people fear public speaking more than death! Kevin

        On 12/19/15, Literary Debauchery: A sort of blog by K.A. Magrowski

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