Friday, September 18, 2009

Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zones

Thanks so much for visiting my new blog. I’m really excited about it. I'm still trying to figure out the techie side of this, so please be patient with me if the format isn't perfect yet.


I’ve met a lot of writers over the years who are just like me: natural introverts. Some of us hide it better than others, some of us don’t try to hide it at all, nor do we want to. I’ve been wanting to do a blog for a while, but wanted to find a niche that was relatively untapped. One day I thought, what if there was a place on the web for others just like me, a place where we can embrace the wonderful aspects of being on the shy side, as well as learn to overcome the not-so-great parts of it? Thus, Once Written, Twice Shy was born (thanks to fellow Pixie Chick, Amy Atwell, for the name suggestion).


 I’ve got some great guest bloggers lined up. We’ll talk to a psychotherapist about what shyness is; we’ll learn how to do one-on-one interviews for research (I’d personally rather have a root canal); we’ll talk to a body language expert about how to appear more out-going; we’ll talk to an author who wrote a book specifically for shy writers, and much more. As soon as I have the specific lineup, I’ll post it so you won’t miss anything.


 Also, over the next few months, my sister (writer Laurie Lunden) and I will be going on field trips that take us outside our comfort zones. Watch for Laurie’s report of our visit to the shooting range. Guns freak me out, so this will be a challenge for me.


 Dealing with our shyness sometimes means stepping outside our comfort zones. I do this every day when I teach group exercise classes at my gym, especially when I teach Zumba®. (Side note: if you haven’t tried Zumba®, you MUST. It’s Latin-inspired aerobic dancing. Try it once and you’ll be hooked, even if you hate to exercise). Even though I’ve been teaching now for several years, I still get an upset stomach before every class. I still have to remind myself to look people in the eye and not stare at the floor as I teach. And my sister (my non-writing, fabulous Zumba®-taking sister, who’s lost 25 lbs just from these classes BTW) has to remind me to smile several times throughout my classes.


I never planned to be a group X teacher. I fell into it when the last gym I worked at was desperate for a sub. I couldn’t sleep for a week before that first class. Even though teaching had been a long-time dream of mine, I never had the courage to actually pursue it because I hate being in the spotlight, hate being center stage, hate being center of attention. But somehow, I made it through that class without puking or passing out, and now I teach six classes a week. But I’m always nervous beforehand and I always have to give myself a little peptalk before stepping in front of my students.


Here’s my question for you, my dearest introvert friends (If you’re not a natural introvert, that’s okay. Nobody’s perfect, and you’re still welcome here), what have you done in your personal or writing life that took you out of your comfort zone, OR what are you trying to build up the courage to do?


NEXT WEEK'S GUEST: Julia Hunter, a federal agent, shares body language tips to make you appear more self confident. Saturday, Sept 26.




21 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new blog, Becky. Sounds like you've got some great posts coming up.

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  2. Hi Becky,
    I love your blog theme! I'm someone who wavers between being shy and extroverted. It really depends on the circumstance.

    I think going to my first RWA conference (a small conference put on by my local chapter just one month after I'd joined) was the craziest, scariest, most brave thing I've ever done. Basically I went away for a weekend with a group of strangers who ranged from newbie writers like me to NYT bestselling authors and declared "I am a writer" for the first time to other writers.

    I was sick to my stomach on the drive there. But I did it and had a blast. It was the best step I could've ever made toward my goal of being a professional and I made several friends that weekend and even met the NYT author who later became my mentor.

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  3. What a fabulous idea, Becky--especially that part about testing the boundaries of being shy. Scary, but good. :-) I'm looking forward to reading your blog on an on-going basis!

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  4. Keli--Thanks for coming by!

    Rachel--Boy, I hear you about that first conference, and declaring for the first time: "I am a writer." There are no scarier words.

    Annette--Thanks so much for coming by. I can't wait to have you as a guest here in a few weeks.

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  5. Shy writers unite! I hope you'll have some advice on faking it before the Emerald City Writers conference--I could use the help! Congrats on the new blog.

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  6. Thanks, Ciara. I think there are a lot of "us" out there. Yeah, the conference. I'm looking forward to it, but am already getting butterflies in my stomach.

    :)Becky

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  7. Hi Becky -
    You've definitely tapped into a common theme for many of us!
    Let's see - stepping outside my comfort zone...
    Attending my first National conference and going by myself was a big step. Like most introverts I enjoy meeting people one-to-one but huge crowds can be overwhelming. Fortunately the Pixie Chicks were around to ease part of the strain - but I'd only met one of them before the conference!! I'm glad I went and met most of those Pixies and quite a few other writers
    Cathy

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  8. I think there must be degrees or levels of introvertedness or is that introversion? Maybe it fluctuates with the weather or PMS.

    Sometimes I feel I could go into a room of people and talk to anyone there. In fact, my husband and I play a game where he picks out a person in a room and bets me whether or not I can strike up a conversation. I ususally win, because I'm a small talk queen and find other people way more interesting than I am. So I talk about them and get the focus off of myself.

    Then there are those days when I don't feel like putting on my perky face and worry about every little thing.

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  9. Great theme, Rebecca! This is certainly a topic I relate to. As far as stepping outside my comfort zone...writing straight erotic was definitely that for me. I was used to writing Blaze-level heat, and this is a bit more. But it's all about telling a story, IMO.

    My debut erotic novella, Full Disclosure, will be out from TWRP soon, and I'm eager to get to know fellow authors. I'll definitely be back. :)

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  10. Cathy--Thanks so much for stopping by. Going to Nationals by yourself? Wow. That's brave. Good for you. Yes, we were lucky to have the Pixie Chicks to help us along, weren't we? And you're such a warm, friendly person, I can't imagine you had a hard time getting to know anyone.

    Hey sister--I can see you and Ted playing that game. If Dan and I played it, I'd lose every time. I'm horrible at small talk. Just horrible. I, too, find other people more interesting than I am, but that doesn't help me in conversation. Usually, I just stand/sit there dumbly.

    Cari--Thanks for your comments. I can imagine that writing erotica is a big step out of the comfort zone. But you did it. And it'll be awesome.

    Becky

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  11. I love your blog concept. :) It'll be interesting to see where you go with it!

    This may sound weird, but I'm an extremely outgoing introvert. I can network and talk to strangers and do things on my own and be outgoing but I'm like Cinderella's glass slipper...I hit a point where I can't take people any more and have to hide away by myself for hours to recover.

    The most out of my comfort zone thing I did was attend the Atlanta RWA conference by myself. I literally didn't know a single person there. I had MUCH more fun in SF with my Pixie Chicks!

    Btw, I totally thought I'd hate shooting guns on my first trip to a shooting range and instead, got hooked.

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  12. Okay, my Cinderella's glass slipper similie didn't work. I realize that now upon further reading. LOL What I MEANT was that I'm like Cinderella's carriage...after a while, I turn back into a pumpkin and need to be left alone.

    *wonders where her brain has gone...is off looking for it*

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  13. C.J. you're too funny. Actually, when I read your Cinderella slipper simile, I thought it worked. When you can't take it anymore, you run away so fast that you leave something behind. :)

    An "extremely outgoing introvert," eh? Yeah, I can see that.

    Going to a conference by yourself? Wow. That's brave. Good for you.

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  14. Love the blog, Rebecca. It's such a great concept. I'll definitely be tuning in!

    Cheers

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  15. Great blog idea, Rebecca. :) I'll join in since I have fought being shy since I was very young. Unfortunately, since my father has his own business in a small town, more people know me than I know them. Because of that, I've had to force myself to speak first when I think I recognize someone, even if I don't know them too well, or else I'm suddenly branded as being stuck-up. (and yes this has been said to my face, once)

    Just typing here is breaking out of my comfort zone as I'm just learning what a blog is. I'm newly published at TWRP, but I don't have a website (so-far) because just thinking about setting one up scares me to death. haha

    I'm not comfortable in crowds or traffic and seek out quiet time after I've had to deal with them for one reason or another. Now don't fall over girls, but because of this, I really hate shopping. Going to the mall is something I do only when I'm forced to, or if I happen to be craving Auntie Anne's pretzels. :)

    A friend of mine laughs and tells me that I'm going to be one of those recluse writers who no one can find. She's probably right since my dream house has always been a cabin deep in the woods.

    When I'm out of my comfort zone, I chat a lot...which is why this post is so long. LOL (Sorry) I guess chatting helps eat up time until I can get into that comfort zone again. If I have to talk around others, I find it easier if I can be witty and make them laugh, or at least ask them questions about themselves.

    I never ever enjoyed being in the spotlight for anything. I find that embarrassing, but I won't think twice when it comes to helping someone in need, even if they are a stranger to me.

    I've read all these wonderful comments from others and as you can see, I can identify with a lot of it. I have this blog saved to my favorites so I can find it with ease again. :) Hopefully next time I won't be so long-winded... and now back to my comfort zone. ;)
    Sincerely,
    Tess Thieler
    TWRP - "The Stranger Behind the Kiss"

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  16. Hey Marcy--Thanks so much for seeking out my blog. I hope you'll enjoy the upcoming posts.

    Tess--Oh my gosh. I think we're twins. :) You sound just like me. Yes, you do need a website. You can do it. It's weird putting yourself "out there" like that, but you can do it.

    I totally understand about being accused of being stuck up. I used to get that in high school and college quite a bit. Now, when I meet someone who maybe seems a bit aloof, I give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they're not unfriendly, but just a bit shy.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  17. Hello my twin, Rebecca. :)
    I always give others the benefit of the doubt first, too. ;)

    As for a website for me - I'll work on it... maybe next month. haha

    Sorry I can't stay long, I have to head to work now, but I'll be visiting when I can.
    Have a gerat day!
    ~Tess

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  18. I love this blog idea. I am introvert who can, for limited amounts of time, be social.

    Tess, I get accused of being stuck up too. I'm not, I'm afraid to talk to you. I'm also near sighted so if I'm not wearing my glasses, I really don't see you way over there. : )

    I am currently preparing to launch my first publicity campaign for my first release and yeah, I'm quaking, but determined.

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  19. Hey Lynne, thanks so much for coming by. I hear you on being nervous to start a publicity campaign. But you can do it.

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  20. Hey Becky,

    Great idea for a blog. Us 'shy' ones are all coming out of the closet! I could so relate to your post. I avoid being the center of attention at all costs. HATE IT. I like sitting at the back of the room, being anonymous.

    A couple of things I did outside my comfort zone. I was a Mary Kay rep for a while about 10 years ago, but I found out really quickly that I SUCKED at that. Instead of making money, I went into debt! I hated going into strangers' homes (and some were literally Strange!). So I quit that thing. Once I started writing, I went to my first Chapter meeting by myself (scared to death) and I even went to a Writer's Conference in Ottawa by myself without knowing anyone. Very scary. But totally worth it. Writers are very friendly people on the whole.

    Good luck with the blog. I think you'll get a great following!

    Sue

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  21. Hey Sue (this is Pixie Sue, right?)! Thanks for coming by.

    I like your Mary Kay story. I did a home sales business for a while, too, but was awful at it. Didn't feel comfortable asking my friends and family to have parties, going into strangers' homes, etc. That job didn't last long.

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