Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Guest blogger and award-winning author C. Hope Clark speaks from the heart
I became a novelist to enjoy privacy. My readers do not believe I am an introvert. Instead, they accuse me of being bold, confident, intelligent, and driven, but for the life of me, I do not understand why introverts cannot possess those qualities and remain true to themselves.
I'm pleased to introduce C. Hope Clark as this week's guest blogger for Beyond Introversion. Hope and I connected after I read her inspiring book, The Shy Writer Reborn. I found the book filled a lot of gaps that I'd been working through, both as a writer and an introvert. Hope is doing some amazing things through the Funds For Writers organization as well. I hope you gain some motivation through her blog and perhaps another wonderful resource for your own personal journey.
My Writing Profession was Borne
My name is C. Hope Clark, and I’ve been a novelist and a writing coach for an award-winning website (FundsforWriters.com) over twenty years. Being authentic is a mandatory component of my career, my style, my life, and ultimately my success. Most people cherish legitimacy, abhor fake, and endorse those who are genuine. The more genuine I present, the easier my role, but for some reason the more extroverted my readers believe me to be. But that’s fine. The bigger point is that they feel a connection, and with a connection comes book sales.
I left a director’s position with the federal government to write fulltime. I enjoyed writing, loved it actually, and so much good in my life had been affiliated with how well I’ve written. Word choice was a talent I’d groomed incessantly since a child.
The secondary reasoning behind writing fulltime was the solitude. I am indeed my own best company. The truest litmus test of introvert or extrovert is how long they love being alone with themselves. Getting lost in words or nature could carry me to the end of my days.
However, in my new profession, I soon learned writing meant promotion, unless I wrote solely for self-enjoyment. The profession required networking with agents, editors, publishers, bookstore managers, and, yes, readers that hopefully morphed into long-term fans. The more titles I sold was directly impacted by how often I exposed myself to people.
So early on in my writing career, I dusted off protective habits I’d once used through presentations while quaking in my low-heeled pumps, back when failure wasn’t an option to an agency director. But being my own boss, the buck stopped with me and no one else. I couldn’t imagine failure creeping back in.
Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily make you a weenie as so many misinterpret. As in my previous job, I chose to capitalize on my introverted self to make myself strategic, wily, and efficient . . . while preserving my true self.
In other words, I would do what I had to do in order to not only enjoy my writing career, but to achieve success with it as well. No selling my soul or honing a pretense. What people saw would be me in all its glory, and not make me lie about myself.
Four Pillars for Happiness & Success
1. Think Yes Before No.
My natural nature was to turn down events. I instinctively sought excuses not to appear, and, believe me, they came easily to mind. In teaching myself not to immediately act on those impulses, I developed a pact to accept every appearance unless the event would reflect badly on me as a person. An automatic yes in my head, unless the event would damage my brand. Begrudgingly at first, going against the grain, I forced public appearances, podcasts, blogs, and interviews.
2. Be Genuine.
Strength without a lot of noise. I showed up as me, not a character, not an actor, and not a plastic brand, and most assuredly as the best me. Dressing professionally yet comfortably ramped up my self-esteem. Looking my finest meant my energy could be channeled into the action of my performance, not the look.
Ample preparation, repeated practice, better enabled me to operate without concentrated effort. Less chance for a performance to go wrong if I made it rote and practically secondary to breathing.
By being uber well-prepared, however, I learned an even bigger lesson. Arriving prepped, able to function with little thought, did more than diminish the chance for mistakes. Coming prepared allowed the natural me to shine. Being confident in self, inside and out, enabled me to speak normally. Before long, I spoke with minimal notes, as if to friends. My talks turned conversational, my delivery easy, inherent, and yes, even humorous. Excising fake from the equation, the real me functioned with much less fear.
People want a real you. In your writing, in your podcasts, in your talks, in whatever role you own. The world is full of deception. Trick them, and they’re done with you. Be genuine and represent as a friend, and they are all yours.