Facing Fears: Admissions of a Writing Introvert

Today I’m admitting to something I rarely talk about beyond the circle of family and close friends. And I’m stepping way out of my comfort zone by discussing it in a guest post on Jenn Hubbard’s blogs.

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As gatherings go, the Surrey International Writers’ Conference is a big one for me. It’s my favourite weekend of the year but it’s also my biggest challenge.

DSC06310Approximately 600 people fill the ballroom for keynote addresses and calorie-laden meals, crowd into conference rooms for their choice of seventy-two workshops given by fifty-eight writing professions, and cram into elevators to get between the two.

It’s exhilarating, rejuvenating, motivating… and terrifying! Why? Because I’m claustrophobic. Oh, not wildly so, but moderately, and the challenge is to keep myself under control so I can absorb all the benefits of the annual October weekend.

Many writers claim to be introverts, so I’m not alone in my reluctance to mix, mingle and schmooze with strangers. A lot of us would prefer to hunker down and write in solitude….

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If you’re a fellow introvert, or deal with any degree of claustrophobia, anxiety or panic attacks, click on over to one of Jenn’s two blogs to read the rest of my story and some of the tactics I employ to cope:

Writer Jenn at Live Journal, or

Jennifer R. Hubbard at Blogspot

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Beautiful Blog or Blogger Award

Receiving an award is always an honour. There have been a number of awards circulating the blogosphere during the past year, each suggesting the recipient’s blog has been providing value to its readership.

Joylene Butler surprised me with the “Beautiful Blogger Award” last week. I was honoured by this award but I admit to a bit of confusion. She called it the “Beautiful Blog Award”, but as you can see, that’s not what it says on the award logo. Joylene’s version seems more appropriate. Most of my readers have never seen me, and those who have would be quick to agree that if the award is based on looks then I really don’t qualify! 🙂  Anyway, many thanks, Joylene! You’re very sweet and I truly do appreciate the acknowledgement.

I’m told the rules are simple: copy the logo, choose those blogs that you find most beautiful (sometimes that means words alone), and link back to the one who chose you.

So here, in alphabetical order, are the blogs (bloggers) I chose for this award. All are published authors whose blogging words either educate, encourage, or inspire me — sometimes all at once.

  • BERTRAM’S BLOG – for Pat’s openness and honesty about her life and writing.
  • LAURA BEST, AUTHOR – for her pride in and promotion of a Canadian heritage.
  • AUTHOR, JODY HEDLUND – for sharing her faith and publication journey with total transparency .
  • WRITER JENN – Jennifer Hubbard, for her constant encouragement of other writers.
  • RANDOM JOTTINGS – Richard Mabry, for his Godly humility and writing ethics.
  • A HOLY EXPERIENCE – Ann Voskamp, for the oasis of her beautiful words.

Bloggers’ Library Loving Challenge

Jennifer Hubbard is doing it again. Last year she decided to participate in a bloggers’ challenge to benefit local libraries. It was so successful that she’s inviting everyone to get involved in another one.

This year’s Bloggers’ Library Loving Challenge is this week, from March 23-27. The idea is to open a post on your blog, pledge so much per comment received and then donate the funds to your local library or other literary organization of your choice. If you skip over to Jenn’s blog today and let her know you’re going to take part she’ll include your blog’s URL on her blog roll to encourage lots of visitors. While I’m not taking part this time, I urge you to either make your own pledge and support your local library or visit the participating blogs to comment and help those bloggers raise their funds. It’s a great idea. Libraries everywhere always need money.

News ‘n Notes

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: JENNIFER HUBBARD

On Thursday I’ll be posting an interview with debut author Jennifer Hubbard. Jenn’s contemporary YA novel THE SECRET YEAR is being released this week by Viking (Penguin).

P.S. – Jenn’s agent, Nathan Bransford, even has a coordinated teen diary writing contest over on his blog. If you’re feeling creative and have a teen voice go check it out here. Contest deadline is 4 p.m. Pacific time tomorrow (Wednesday, January 6th).

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APPLE TABLET E-READER

First it was Amazon’s Kindle, the Sony e-reader, B&N’s Nook and Borders’ Alex. Now rumors are suggesting the soon-to-be-released Apple’s Tablet will outshine them all as “a multimedia device that will let people watch movies and television shows, play games, surf the internet and read electronic books and newspapers.” [Wall Street Journal] As a long time Apple aficionado, I’m more than a little curious about Apple’s January 27 media event.

E-book sales are a small but growing market and e-book readers continue to compete for our dollars. The Tablet is apparently going to be a premium mobile device that will do what Apple has always done… be unique and cost more. Just when I’m almost talked into considering an e-reader it looks like I won’t be able to afford the one I want. Drat!

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PUBLISHER’S LUNCH reports that after ten years of no profits, US-based Joseph-Beth Booksellers are anticipating growth in 2010. In an interview spokesman Neil Van Uum said, “Van Uum’s rule of thumb is the longer you can keep someone in a bookstore, the more likely he or she is to spend money there… For each store, he’s hired two marketing and events coordinators to create a yearlong calendar of book signings, orchestra performances, photography shows and craft workshops.” That’s the kind of optimism I like to see.

Goodbye Summer Reading, Hello Fall Gardening

Just one more day! Yikes! Can I finish all the things I wanted to do this summer in the one day that’s left before autumn arrives on Tuesday? I doubt it. The one thing I have accomplished, however, is meeting my summer reading goal. Challenged by Jennifer Hubbard to read ten books by September 21st, I’ve read twelve:

  1. A Sweetness to the Soul – Jane Kirkpatrick
  2. Northern Lights – Nora Roberts
  3. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  4. The Bancroft Strategy – Robert Ludlum
  5. Whiteout – Ken Follett
  6. Through the Valley of the Shadow – Rod Gehl
  7. Black Hills – Nora Roberts
  8. Beyond the Vows – Ed Griffin
  9. Fury of the Wind – Doris Riedweg
  10. I Luff You B.C. – Jan Drabek
  11. Word Work – Bruce Holland Rogers
  12. 6th Target – James Patterson/Maxine Paetro

My desire was to read a wider variety than is my norm. My out-of-genre choice was the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.  Anything even faintly paranormal usually doesn’t interest me but I’ve met Diana at writers’ conferences and was curious about her writing style. I surprised myself by being totally caught up in Jamie and Claire’s across-the-centuries story and Diana’s captivating prose. I am now a convert and am just delving into the second in the series, “Dragonfly in Amber”.

But as summer fades so, too, do the flowers in our garden beds and there is a staggering amount of deadheading, weeding and cutting back of perenniels confronting me every time I glance out the window. Garden or read? Read or garden? Oh, what to do? Surely the gardening can wait another day while I luxuriate in one last summertime read. Of course it can!

Goals versus Challenges and Resolutions versus Intentions

Is a goal really a goal if you have no expectation of reaching it, or is it just a pipe dream? That question returns with tongue out and fingers flapping in ears to taunt me whenever I consider accepting a challenge.

 

The first time was when I agreed to participate in the 2006 NaNoWriMo insanity. I’ve launched myself towards a 50,000-words-in-November goal on three occasions now but have yet to make it to the finish line.

 

A friend and I long ago gave up on New Year’s Resolutions. We agreed that making ambitious “resolutions” that we probably couldn’t keep is just setting ourselves up for failure, so instead we settle on sharing our “intentions”. Intentions aren’t promises in the way resolutions are, so breaking them isn’t quite as devastating to the morale. The trick is to identify the category to use at any given time.

 

Then too, it’s important to identify our capabilities. I’ve said it before: there’s no sin in being good to yourself. It’s okay to ease back on the throttle when life’s multitude of priorities threatens to overwhelm. So why, when I have more on the go than I have time or energy to cope with, do I accept more challenges? I suspect it’s because I know I work better under pressure. The more I absolutely have to get done, the more efficient I become.

 

With that in mind I recently took up Jennifer Hubbard’s Summer Reading Challenge, pledging to read ten books before September 21st. I don’t expect to have trouble meeting this challenge because I  l-o-v-e  to read. And that’s the reason I’ve also accepted Tristi Pinkston’s July Writing Challenge. It’s much too easy for me to read to the point of procrastinating on my writing, so these two challenges should balance out my efforts. I’ve committed to edit (revise yet again) at least 200 pages of my current novel and also organize the haphazard thoughts for my new w.i.p. – get them out of my head and into some kind of outline on paper – during the month of July.

 

I’m not sure where challenges fit into my interpretation of goals. Are they resolutions or intentions? Either way, I’m getting psyched up to accomplish great things this summer.  Oh, but I have to stock up on Diet Coke before I do anything else. It’s pretty hard to read or write without a cold one near by. If I share my supply with you would you like to join me for either or both challenges?