A big part of a writing career these days is networking. Getting to know fellow writers, making connections with them that could lead to making connections with other people in the business, other writers, agents, publishers, editors.
Networking is also how writers today build a fanbase and attract attention. Through Twitter and Facebook and other fabulous internet socializing tools, writers can sell themselves and their work to the readers they’re hoping to attract.
This is all well and good. It’s a great way to connect with readers and it’s a great way to connect with others in the writing business. It brings down walls and makes the writing feel less lonely. Many writers, even the most shy ones, thrive doing this sort of thing.
However, I am not one of these people.
As ridiculous as it sounds (particularly if you follow me on Twitter), I have social anxiety on the Internet. For most people, the anonymity of the Internet allows them to be more outspoken, more bold. While that does apply to me in certain situations (again, Twitter), that anonymity doesn’t cover them all.
For example, other blogs. I read other blogs, but unless I know the person, I rarely comment. Even if I do know the person, that doesn’t mean I’ll comment. Sometimes I have nothing to say and I really don’t want to force something just for the sake of conversation. Most of the time, I don’t feel comfortable with commenting. I don’t feel smart enough, established enough, or legit enough to share my two cents. I feel awkward coming out of lurkerdom to comment as there is no established rapport. I’m just a stranger stopping by and saying a few words without introduction.
Which is just silly because I don’t feel that way about people who comment on my blog (or reply or retweet me on Twitter). Once I get over the shock that people are actually reading and not everything I babble just disappears into a void, I’m cool with it. I don’t know why I’d feel differently with the roles switched.
It takes me a while to warm up, I suppose.
I’m focusing on blogs because I’m a little more vocal on Twitter, but there’s still a certain amount of anxiety and awkwardness in following people and responding to certain people’s tweets. As much as I’d like to be one of the cool kids, I never have been, never will be, and I still get nervous, even on the Internet, when it comes to talking to them.
It’s a silly little thing, but it’s one that’s holding me back and is going to continue holding me back unless I overcome it. Naturally, that’s what I intend to do.
I prefer to have making an ass of myself on Twitter be my biggest social problem.
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