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I was thinking about my various pursuits this morning. From all the different careers I've considered to all the different hobbies I've tried, and how each has been a small journey that has affected me in one way or another. Choices. Essentially, how I've changed.

In recent years, I feel like I've really crawled into myself. I don't handle socialization outside the Internet very well anymore, and the thought of doing things outside of this world freaks me out. I think about doing things like... going back to school, establishing a writer's group, going to writing conferences, etc., and it honestly gives me anxiety just thinking about it. A lot of this probably has to do with how isolated I am these days. I work at home, all my hobbies are in my home, I have only a few friends who have these things called lives (hey, how do I get one of those?), and I have two children that make it challenging to get out without feeling like I'm dragging a circus and all its cargo with me.

I guess I've been trying to figure out where this began, how it developed. Was it when I started taking online college courses 90% of the time for my degree? Was it when I started working from home? When I had my daughter and found myself getting out less and less? Did it start back in high school when I decided to go into Independent Study to finish early? Or has it all just compounded? I don't know. I've always been fairly introverted but the difference between then and now is that I used to try.

I think about things I tried to get into in the past - choir, voice lessons, drama, dance, modeling classes, etc. - and I just boggle over it. I look at that list and think, hey! that person's an extrovert. But I'm not and really never have been. I just tried to be, and the person I am now can't imagine doing any of those things. But you know what? Those experiences, no matter how distant they feel now, remind me that I have it in me somewhere. I just have to find it again.

So what does this have to do with anything? The rest of my life. Promotion, marketing. The frightening prospect of eventually having to sell myself. I'm pretty young in the scheme of life and I feel like I've really gone downhill in this regard. If I've let this much go already, where are the next few years going to take me? The next twenty, even? I don't necessarily want to change for the sake of becoming published, but I'm definitely going to have to muster up some of that can-do (or at least, can-try) attitude. Otherwise I'll be shooting myself in the foot and this, becoming a (successful) published author, is a huge part of who I want my future-self to be.

So, for the sake of my introspection, share with me some of the ways you've changed, things you've had to overcome for your dreams, or fears you have or had about becoming published.

I'd love to hear what you have to say.


Tyler said...

I'm kind of directly the opposite when it comes to overcoming difficulty in getting things done as a writer.

I love being outside, interacting with people and doing things to keep me energized. The only reason I decided to start writing was because I had come up with a story that I thought work make a great book. And since then, it's been quite the challenge to get myself to sit at the computer for an extended length of time and just write.

I've done it once, and am finally at the point of submission, but I still find myself wanting to wander when I come to the computer (unless I'm really into my scene, then it's no problem). It's becoming easier, and is essentially just a matter of developing proper habits (and maybe sleeping a little less), so I'm doing my best to improve!

Good topic!

Anonymous said...

I think I feel like you do in a lot of ways. When I first join groups I'm quiet, but when I get to know people I'm pretty chatty. The people in my groups never believe me when I tell them I'm shy.

What I've done in the last year to change is join SCBWI and Willamette Writers. I would recommend that you join SCBWI if you haven't already and hook up with your local chapter. Through them you might be able to get involved in a small writing group or start one of your own.

If you were to get involved in a small writing group you'd probably quickly become comfortable because you'd find you were with kindred souls. (This was my experience) You might also want to check out Christina Katz's Writer Mamas and see how you could combine your interest in motherhood and writing. If you were with other moms, you'd have things in common you could chat about, and everyone would be on the same page as far as their struggles to find time to write, get together, etc.

I highly encourage you to stretch yourself in this area, because if you give in to your fears they'll only get worse. Try to figure out why you're hesitant to be involved with others, then you can develop strategies to overcome the problem. Maybe some of the reasons are old baggage that no longer apply.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

hey - 1)you have a new baby - give yourself a break. 2) I live, work, play, eat, sleep at home so I knwo how it feels. 3) I love ebing at hoem - cant help it - just do. I htink you will love being published so much - you'll be excited to talk about your book.

A. Malone said...

Hm. Lately, as I think we all tend to do, I've been thinking about the same things.

Somehow over the past four years I've let myself become uninvolved, lost sight of those goals and activities I used to love filling my time with, and just recently realized... wow. Where did those four years of my life go, and why am I still no further along than I was before?

And where will I be in the next four years? Where do I WANT to be? How should I choose my paths?

The best advice I ever received from one of my past drama teachers was, "Don't think, just do."

One of the best books I've read that really got me off my ass was The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Sometimes I think it comes down to getting into a comfortable habit and routine, being satisfied for the time being with what's in front of us. Obviously you've been busy with your children and your own life, I won't take that from you since I don't have children and can't imagine the time it takes to raise them.

But you're right. If you're going to be a successfully published author, you're going to have to put the pedal to the metal, I guess as they say. Treat it like a business, really devote your time and energy into it. It can be daunting, but if it's what you love, it'll be completely worth it.

Heather Hansen said...

I think some of that is natural. I went in to hibernation after I gave birth to my second. Outside of the internet and immediate family… I didn’t socialize with anyone. Part of that was that it was just too much darn work! Why do it if it took so much energy?

It gets better. I’m finally at the point where I feel like I have a life again.

And you mentioned conferences…. I know you have an itty one, but if you get a chance to attend SCBWI in LA, that’d be HOT. I’m going this year (I’m rooming w/Suz and Mandy). I’d LOVE to meet you in person!

Casey Something said...

Thank you for all the great comments everyone!

Tyler: At least you have a good excuse for having trouble sitting down to write!

Lisa: I plan on joining SCBWI this year but, I beleive, the closest local chapter is 45 minutes away. Same story with the writer's group I've been able to find. It would be hard to make that work with the kids. That's why I was thinking about starting one here. I wouldn't be losing an hour and a half just for the drive so it would be easier getting someone to watch the kids for me. I'm just not that kind of person though!

Shelli: I love being at home, too. It only becomes a problem when I NEED to get out or Jesse wants us to go out and do something. I have to fight myself on it. Erg!

Purple Clover: Thanks for the great advice. I like being an introvert just fine but I DO want to be able champion my books. You know, when I eventually publish. : )

Lyrist: I think you're right about habits. I've noticed that creating a habit out of something really helps me. For example, writing everyday, cleaning every day, setting a set amount of water to drink daily, etc. If I made myself get out to do something routinely, it probably would become rather easy.

Heather: I doubt I'll go cause of the little ones but I sure would love to. I'm glad it gets better. I know it will, especially when they can both walk and I don't have to drag as much stuff with me everywhere!