During a recent online writing workshop, a member of the public tweeted the question: Can someone who is chronically shy make it as a writer? Both of the literary agents being interviewed said that they each had a client who was extremely shy or socially anxious and that, because their writing talent was exceptional, the publishers made allowances for them. This, despite the fact that nowadays, publishers really expect their authors to sell themselves, as well as their books, through signings, tours, interviews, readings etc. But perhaps, the digital revolution is changing all of that. Blog tours, social media and video logs are all means of connecting with your audience without having to leave the house.
Still, it made me wonder, how many authors out there have taken to writing, firstly as an escape, and then found themselves the exact right fit for life as a writer? We all know there are hours of solitude involved and anyone serious about writing has to sacrifice their social lives – so perhaps the writer’s life is perfectly suited to (for want of a better word) shy people?
Unlike the following post from Limebird Writers, I was extremely sociable in school and college and went on to work in great big multi-nationals abroad. However, social anxiety struck me in my late twenties and changed the focus of my life completely. I re-discovered my relationship with books and a secret desire to write, which would have seemed a pipe dream to me up until that point. Now I’m a published author and couldn’t imagine my life any other way.
So as Kate asks, what is your relationship with writing?
As a kid and as an adolescent, writing was my escape. I suffered from major social anxiety. I wasn’t one of the popular kids in school. I didn’t date. I was an average student because I was afraid that being too smart in school would alienate me further from the few friends I had. At home, I sequestered myself in my room, sought privacy in the apple tree, always writing, always imagining.
As time passed, I became more obsessed with writing. I took as many writing courses as I could, read all kinds of books, dreamed of being published. But I didn’t talk a lot about my writing, because I didn’t fully understand my relationship with it. Was it just a hobby? Was this a pipe dream? Was I even good enough? I didn’t know. Part of me was too insecure to discover what my writing self was made of…
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