I've always been shy. Painfully so. I had trouble making friends when I was younger b/c the idea of making conversation with someone I didn't know well made my stomach go all wonky.
Not much has changed in that aspect. I've gotten better at hiding it, making myself appear sociable when the occasion calls for it. But inside--still wonky.
This handicap has probably held me back in many ways. I mean, it took me a few years to make the leap from being an editor to copywriting even though I'd been considering it for some time. The one thing stopping me was the fact that, as a copywriter, client interaction is necessary. As an editor, I could just sit at my desk and happily read all day without fear of a dreaded client call churning my stomach.
Except I wasn't happy. So with a lot of encouragement from some very supportive people, I finally got the guts to make the change. And I'm so glad I did.
Recently I realized that my little "problem" extends to my fiction writing aspirations. As in I haven't been putting myself out there in the writing community. I mean, I started this blog but I pretty much assume nobody is reading it so that's pretty low-pressure. So yesterday I made myself critique a writing sample on Nathan Bransford's blog. Usually I avoid this b/c who am I to be critiquing someone else's work? (Also I suffer from another malady closely linked to my shyness called "why would anybody care about anything I have to say?" Yes, I recognize the full irony of the fact I am trying to build a career on people PAYING to hear what I have to say. But really, it's my characters saying it, and they're so much cooler than me. Trust me.)
But guess what? Not only did I manage to say something that (I hope) was insightful to the writer, it was insightful to me. Picking out the flaws and coming up with solutions for someone else's work made me incredibly self-aware of the flaws in my own.
Anyway so now I'm hooked. Helping out your fellow writers by critiquing their work is officially an awesome, win-win situation. And from now on I plan to do much more of it, including here on this blog. So stay tuned!