Laying Siege


I missed last month’s Alex J. Cavanaugh’s IWSG post while trying to recoup from the A to Z Challenge, but I’m back now.  Actually I’m in Las Vegas on business, but you get the point.  This month I want to discuss protecting our insecurities, and as they say…the best defense is a good offense!   

I’ve spoken many times about my theme for 2012 as far as my writing career goes -- Making it uncomfortable in my comfort zone.  Well, we are almost mid-way through the year and it’s time to take stock of how I’m doing.

In short, I’m laying siege to it.

Most of you who’ve been following me for awhile know that I’m a card carrying introvert (quite a few writers are).  I also suffer from acute shyness (no, it’s not the same thing as being introverted).  And any of you who experience the same maladies know that there is no “fixing” them, you simply learn how to cope.  But in order for me to achieve my writing goals I needed to stop avoiding situations where my personality would be tested.  I also had to swallow whatever imagined insecurities I allowed to erode my confidence and step out of my cozy little world.  The best way to do that was to shake things up and go on the offensive.  Let’s see how I’ve done.

In 5+ months of 2012, I started off by joining a new in-person writers group, I sent out about 35 query letters, took part in the A to Z Challenge, participated in a “touchy feely” leadership development camp, attended my first major writers conference…by myself, submitting my writing for public scrutiny at the conference, made an in-person pitch to an agent, and interacted with my critique partners via direct phone calls.  Now this might not seem like much to some of you, but for me…my comfort zone is shaking like a leaf. 

The real question is -- has any of it paid off?  It’s still too early to tell and the truth is that most of these efforts are meant to change my direction, not hit a particular target.  It’s not pleasant, and sometimes downright unsettling, but you have to ask yourself how committed are you to this journey?  If your answer is the same as mine, then there’s only one thing to do.

Lay siege!

35 comments

  1. Good for you, DL. I would have found most of those things a real challenge as well.

    With my second book launching next spring, I want to make 2013 the year I go to conferences and get out there among other writers to promote my work. Maybe even without my husband coming along to arrange all the travel, hail taxis, find hotels, and drag me into conversational circles saying, "Hello, have you met my wife ..." (Yeah, I let him do that. Count on it in fact.)

    I'm terrified. Last night, I was reading Tweets from people at BEA and panicking over the thought of possibly attending next year. What if nobody talks to me? How DO you get a taxi?

    But if I want to help make the book a success, I really need to get myself out there ... overcome my shyness, push the introvert into social contact ... and maybe grow up a bit. I'm too old to be afraid of a taxi.

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  2. Sounds like you're doing just fine.

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  3. I'm like you and Dianne, but I had to push myself out of my comfort zone when I was a drug rep. It's just part of the job. Fortunately I don't have to do it all the time. It's exhausting for us introverts.

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  4. Very motivational! I have made a lot of goals for 2012 and I'm very happy with where I've come.

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  5. Congratulations! Sounds like you're in full armor and attack mode! I've had some issues with shyness as well...nothing like getting a job that involves public speaking to cure that. Just kidding--like you said, it's not really curable. I still couldn't control my voice shaking every now and then, but I learned to smile through it even though it was agony. Man, I still dislike public speaking...

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  6. Congratulations! Sounds like you're in full armor and attack mode! I've had some issues with shyness as well...nothing like getting a job that involves public speaking to cure that. Just kidding--like you said, it's not really curable. I still couldn't control my voice shaking every now and then, but I learned to smile through it even though it was agony. Man, I still dislike public speaking...

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  7. You're an inspiration to introverts everywhere :) Good job!

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  8. Moving outside our comfort zone is the hardest thing any of us can do. Kudos to you for what you've accomplished so far. Keep going!

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  9. Oh yeah -- you've got your comfort zones holed up in their rickety inner-keep castle tower, dude! Keep the siege catapults firing!

    Awesome job, my friend.

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  10. Well done on pushing youself to do those things. Things like that don't come easy to me either but you had the guts to go out and do it, which is brilliant.

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  11. You have one foot planted outside of the Comfort Zone - terrific! And talking on the phone wasn't so scary, was it? :) The thought of querying and planning on going to a conference this year is making my stomach churn, but I have you as a rolemodel to look up to so I'll feel braver doing it. Way to trailblaze!

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  12. Wowza! I'm a full blown extravert and even I have a hard time talking on the phone to people I've only talked to via internet.

    Good for you my man. :)

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  13. Good for you... my comfort zone is shaking just thinking about what you're doing.

    Enjoy Vegas!

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  14. I get it. I really do. But putting ourselves out there will have an impact on us, and from my experience, it's generally positive. Keep at it!

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  15. I like the expression "lay seige" -- it says a lot and is more active and manly than the usual "going out of my comfort zone."

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  16. Well done, for everything you've accomplished this year so far. What will the next 6 months bring?

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  17. I think I'm pretty shy too, but I must do a good job of faking it as people always seem to think I'm outgoing.

    It sounds like you've been on the right track in the past several months. If you persist, I'm sure you will see a payoff. "Lay siege" sounds like the good strategy.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  18. Not much? That's impressive!
    And of course it's paid off. I bet you're a different person now because it's forced you to grow some.

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  19. You've hit some big milestones so far this year - I'd say you're doing awesome!

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  20. ah yes, I know exactly where you are coming from. I have a friend that loves the spotlight and thinks that I should love it too..."it's easy, just put yourself out there." Yeah, cause that only leaves me with embarrassing moments...but pretty good stories at the same time!

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  21. Way to go, DL! This really inspires me to put myself out there even more.

    Thank you!

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  22. May not seem like much? May not seem like much!
    Holy crap, DL! This is fantastic and A LOT!
    Good for you.
    You are inspiring!
    My fingers are crossed that you get exactly what you need out of this exercise!
    Heather

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  23. Sounds like an awesome year so far! I am laying seige to some queries and writing my butt off on a new book.

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  24. Wow, those things would definitely be out of my comfort zone as well. Way to go!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  25. My heart actually raced when I read the list of things you've done so far this year - impressive!! It's so not easy to take those steps, but you're well on your way! Nice! :)

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  26. Lay siege dude :) go forth and conquer insecurity, however long it takes.

    ........dhole

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  27. I've been going through a lot of that lately--pushing the boundaries of my comfortable box. You stated it well, "It’s not pleasant, and sometimes downright unsettling, but you have to ask yourself how committed are you to this journey?"

    Putting ourselves out there--especially for a shy introvert (and no, they are not the same), can be excruciating. I've learned that it's like walking a tightrope--I keep reminding myself, 'just keep moving forward, and whatever you do, don't look down!'

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  28. DL, sometimes the journey itself is the destination *** Yoga music***
    - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

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  29. Congrats on getting those queries out. Fingers crossed for you.

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  30. I don't know if I've made this comment before - but it is so difficult for me to think of you as an introvert. You keep storming that castle! Quite an excellent first half of the year, I'd say.

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  31. Lay Siege!

    I love it, Don.

    Gosh, I would NEVER have thought you shy! That doesn't come across at all! But you've done some HUGE things this year already... so impressive. And it will pay off... every little thing we do to put ourselves out there is good... ;)

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  32. You wowed me. It took me quite a few conferences and writer's days before I started putting myself out there for critiques. I force myself to focus on the "lessons" I learn from the feedback instead of the "Do they like me" aspect. Congrats for stepping out.

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  33. You really have taken things to the next level. My inner introvert is shaking just thinking about it.

    I joined an in person crit group this year myself. It was intimidating at first, but I'm so glad I did.

    Have you seen the TED talk by Susan Cain on the Power of Introverts?

    http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

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  34. "It’s not pleasant, and sometimes downright unsettling, but you have to ask yourself how committed are you to this journey? If your answer is the same as mine, then there’s only one thing to do.

    Lay siege!"


    love your analogy.

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  35. I'd say you're definitely laying siege to those goals!!! :P

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