On Writing

Perhaps my parents could tell you stories of me misappropriating the church Xerox to make exactly 11 copies of my thoroughbred-themed novel when I was in 5th grade (11 was the number of people deemed worthy of receiving a personal copy, including teachers and friends. It was quite exclusive).

I’ve wanted to be a writer since a young age. It seemed like a pretty easy gig when I was a kid.

Naturally, I would be on the NYT bestseller list. I would have an out-of-this-world agent, book deal after book deal, and a publishing house to call home. I would become BFFs with my editor, and I would write in the open air, on a wooden desk by the water like Colin Firth in Love Actually (Do not EVEN tell me their love-crosses-language-barriers relationship didn’t make you SWOON).

Writing would be my only pursuit and career and source of income. Moleskins and National Book Awards galore.

Now my wiser, more sophisticated self, still wanting to be a writer, is reflecting on what that exactly means.

And I’ve decided it means none of the above.

A writer doesn’t earn her title by being well-recognized. (Just walk into a B&N. There are a million books by a million writers. The fact that I only recognize a small fraction of these writers doesn’t make them any less so.)

A writer doesn’t earn her title by being well-compensated. (All the free-lancers say ‘amen.’)

A writer doesn’t earn her title by being well-connected. (Self-publishers, I salute you.)

I am a writer because I have a unique perspective.

I am a writer because I have things to say.

I am a writer because I choose to actualize these things into words and coherent (or maybe not so coherent at times) thoughts.

And you, friend. You reading these words is also what makes me a writer.



On being an Introvert - It's NOT a mental illness

I am so bad at small talk. Like, really bad. I'm much more comfortable with the deeper conversations that happen one-on-one, in a quiet & non-public place. In my ideal world, I would have a pre-provided outline of every verbal conversation I ever have - that way I can plan my every word ahead of time.

I'm jealous at the quick wit of some of my friends (I'm talking about you, Jaala and Laura!). The gregariousness, the sociableness (it's a word. look it up). I'm not those things, and for years I felt less-than somehow.

Often during a staff meeting or such, a question is thrown to me. I freeze. I gape. My mind is blank and I am silent. My brain is thinking, "say something. Make it good. THEY ARE PAYING YOU TO BE INSIGHTFUL."

So, I piddle around with my response. I keep it brief. I turn the conversation back to them.
And more often than not, I receive feedback along these lines:
"You're such a good listener."
"Thank you for letting me do so much of the talking."

What I have long perceived to be a deficiency, is actually a strength.

In grade school, introverts can be mistaken for snobby. In the professional world, introverts can be mistaken for less intelligent or poor leaders.

Let's not label a "shy" person as being dim-witted.

Let's not believe that the first person to open their mouth has the best ideas.

If you're not an introvert and would like to learn more about a loved one who is, try this bibliotherapy:

Quiet by Susan Cain
The Introvert's Way by Sophia Dembling