Thursday, August 21, 2014

What if...

Not too too long ago, a lot of articles were going viral about being an introvert versus being an extrovert. We learned how to treat an introvert correctly and not to judge introverts for being... introverted.

I've tended to call myself introverted for a long time now, but recently I've started to wonder. I've been working at the Bristol Renaissance Fair for the whole summer season now, and while I come away tired each weekend - working 2 twelve hour days in a row in the summer heat, wearing a stifling costume and being on your feet all day is an endurance trial - I also come away inspired and energized in a way I haven't felt in a long time.

This is even though I spend the entire weekend interacting with people - meeting up with my fair friends in the evenings, improvising and interacting with patrons all day, I really do not get much time alone.

I then come home to my rather isolated job - either working quietly on legal issues or freelance writing - and immediately feel sad, drained, and exhausted.

Given that we've seemed to reach an agreement that introversion versus extroversion refers to how we gain our energy - either feeling drained by being among others, or feeling increasingly energized the more we are around people - it would appear that I might actually be an extrovert.

Arriving at this conclusion is kind of throwing me for a loop, as I've been a self-proclaimed introvert for so long. But maybe I did not realize that I'm actually an extrovert because I've just been afraid of people for most of my life. Is it possible to be an extrovert with social anxiety?

The story of why I'm afraid of people is long, boring, and probably is the same reason anybody's afraid of people - a combination of oversensitivity, having some stunted social development for whatever reason, being kind of awkward and weird, and some overarching insecurity, and you can quickly start to see yourself as an introvert, even if what you really want is to be around people. You convince yourself you don't, though, because it's too scary.

So, my thought is, what if I'm really just an extrovert who never learned how to properly extrovert? What if I'm just... a really socially awkward extrovert? Somehow, when I thought of this earlier, I identified with it and suddenly felt a lot more comfortable in my own skin. 

Do you identify yourself as introverted or extroverted, or maybe "something else"? Are we all too focused on this idea of introversion vs. extroversion, or is it a useful characterization to achieve a better understanding of ourselves and each other?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Promo - Now until July 1st

Hi friends!

Anyone who has known me for about 5 minutes knows I'm a huge proponent of National Novel Writing Month. Well, they need a bit of help - their Young Writer's Program (YWP) website is getting a bit old and in need of some sprucing up. This is used by thousands of teachers and students each year to cultivate a love of the written word in the classroom while also fulfilling essential national learning standards throughout the US.

They are currently trying to raise $50,000 to overhaul the site. If you can make a direct donation, please go here and do so.

If you need just a little more convincing or want a little something more to sweeten the deal, I'm currently making a pledge: for every copy of my book, On Her Own Two Wheels, purchased between now and July 1st, I will donate the royalties directly to NaNoWriMo immediately upon receipt, including both Kindle and paperback versions.

If you know me in person and want a paperback copy, I'm also selling my limited number of promotional paperback copies for the discounted price of $5 each, of which the entire $5 will be donated to NaNoWriMo.

Support the stories of tomorrow and, however you do it, consider funding their wonderful programs so that teachers and students can continue to enjoy them in the classroom in the years to come!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Writing Resources, Communities, and Stuff I Love

In order to motivate myself to get going again, I've decided to compile a list of writing resources I love. I hope you find it useful!

1) NaNoWriMo. Whenever someone asks me about writing, this is, without fail, the first thing I tell them about. NaNoWriMo runs every November. You write 50,000 words in one month in order to win bragging rights and the knowledge that You Can Do It. My first novel, On Her Own Two Wheels, came from my first ever NaNoWriMo. Now, this fabulous program also includes:

A) Camp NaNoWriMo. Every April and July, you can set a word goal of your choice and work on a project type of your choice (novel, script, epic poem, short story, nonfiction, WHATEVER) with you and your cabin mates cheering each other on.

B) No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days (Amazon Affiliate link). I have read this book several times over and find new tidbits to highlight every time. It is inspirational and awesome.

2) The International 3 Day Novel Contest. As if writing 50,000 words in 30 days wasn't challenging enough, this insane contest calls for you to crank out a rough draft over America's Labor Day Weekend. Recommended goal: 25,000 words of original fiction. There is an entry fee and prizes for winners.

3) 642 Things to Write Journal (Amazon Affiliate link). Whenever I get stuck, I use these writing prompts to get un-stuck, generate new ideas, and feel writerly again.

4) This article about Amanda Hocking. Because it makes me feel like dreams are real.

A) Speaking of which, Amanda Hocking's blog. Because, again, it makes me feel like dreams are real.

5) Scrivener [Download] (Amazon Affiliate link). Writing tools can make all the difference in putting you in a writerly mood. I love Scrivener, just opening it makes me feel more writerly.

6) This free class from OpenLearn. It's just the basics, but skimming it can make you feel more like writing again and can stir up some long-dormant creative juices.

7) This article about marketing and building a fan base. This isn't like the field of dreams: just because you built a book doesn't mean people are gonna read it. You need to get readers, and this talks about how and the real math behind it all.

What are some of your favorite resources for writing? Or, if you're a reader, what do you like to read?