Updated: Apr 6
And How Your Writing Journey Can Boost Your Self-Confidence
Life, in general, can be chaotic and full of surprises. We need only look at this past year. For us introverts, I think we often drown in the pressures - meetings, friends, strangers, parties, debates, phone calls, networking, unplanned changes...
For most of my life, when I compared myself to the societal norms, I felt like I was a failure. Most people, whether at work or on TV, seemed to handle pressures with finesse and confidence. Once I discovered my own introversion, I was quick to blame my introversion for my perceived shortcoming and I spiraled downward to a place of low self-esteem and social anxiety.
I was surprised to find that writing would be my salvation, my path to confidence and courage.
As retirement approached for me about five years ago, I decided to reconnect with my teenage passion for writing. I began jotting down memories and family stories. It soothed my introspective nature and became a quite therapeutic solo hobby...until I confronted the prospect of publishing and marketing.
Suddenly, I felt my anxieties stir. I had to reach beyond my own writing desk to understand what my options were. It was there that new pressures surrounded me. Countless savvy marketers thumping their chest spouting off their "can't fail, must do" techniques for selling books. Many proclaimed "you must be a speaker" to sell nonfiction books while others suggested more approaches way out of my comfort zone or sketchy tactics that left my stomach in knots.
These people were everywhere - books I read, conferences I attended, podcasts I listened to. Everyone seemed to insist they had the golden ticket. It felt like the people at work who had insisted I must play golf to network with the industry or the kids in school that taunted me for being quieter and "different." Suddenly, I wasn't sure I liked this writing hobby anymore.
But my personal drive kept me writing. I parked all the publishing and marketing pressures and focused on just finishing my book. After several rounds of rewrites and editing, I finally discovered my whole life's common thread - introversion. As I explored through my writing, I found that my approach was all wrong. Instead of trying to cope with my introversion, I needed to learn more about it and embrace my introversion as my strength - my own superpower. I found I possessed many superpowers that, when employed, helped me manage the work meetings, the parties, and the networking...my way.
Introvert Strengths Applied to Book Marketing
As I finished the book and returned to the marketing challenge, I realized the chaos around me was unnecessary. I needed to lean on my own introvert strengths and market my way! Here are the keys to my author's journey. Introverts are not all alike, so yours may certainly be different, but I expect you'll be able to relate to many of these steps:
Learning: I realized the endless marketing chatter around me was just that - chatter. I was new at book marketing so I chose to approach it with curiosity. I listened and learned a lot, but I also challenged what I heard. What tactics felt right? Would I enjoy speaking? Would the tactics match my values? I committed to marketing with integrity, nothing that felt sleazy or disrespectful.
Empathy: After the book was nearly put to bed, I realized I wrote this memoir for me. That's okay. I learned a lot about myself and about writing that is helping me grow as a person and a writer. But when I reflected, I recognized I wanted to share my stories and my journey in hopes of helping others overcome their own anxieties. If others can discover their strengths and use them to embrace their own introversion, they can tackle any obstacles ahead.
Planning: I leaned on my comfort and need to plan. I scheduled out the steps to publish and market. This rigid structure helped me push through those sluggish days. I kept myself on task, determined to bring my story to others.
Stretch Kindly: I recalled a Growth Rings Model I had developed that helped me stretch out of my comfort zone of Home Base toward the Adventure and Frontier Rings. This encouraged me to not only utilize my own strength of writing to blog and use social media to connect with others, but also to stretch myself into less comfortable areas like YouTube and guest Podcasting. I ensured I approached these steps "kindly", with self-compassion and permission to try and then return toward my comfort zone.
What I have found a year after my book release is that I am connecting with so many other introverts through my book, blog, YouTube, and podcasting by leaning on these strengths. For me, it's about building a following and helping others, not about making a sale. I treasure each connection, every note and Facebook comment. It drives me forward to continue to serve my readers. The bonus is that I've become more confident along the way - all because I'm embracing my own introversion!
If you are struggling in your own writing journey, turn down the noise from outside, lean on your strengths, and focus on your aspirations and purpose.
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If you'd like to learn more about my journey, my lessons, and my recovery, check out the award-winning memoir, In Search of Courage: An Introvert's Story.