Social anxiety and the shut-in writer

My last day job often required to talk and collaborate with people all day, face-to-face.  Whilst I could do it if I required, it always left me with the feeling of having ‘lost’ something.

Before I joined the workforce 7 years ago, I was an anime-loving, website-building, games-playing nerd (and I say that with pride!), who made a good portion of her friends online via the big beautiful World Wide Web.  Friendships were easy to form from the safety of my bedroom, without a set of eyes staring and scrutinising me closely.

Naturally I loved to read.  Reading was another way of making new friends and going on exciting adventures from the safety of your bedroom.  To write is also to meet your own characters and visit any number of worlds and alternate universes, without the scrutinising eyes of a real human being.

Is this a simple personal preference, or a reflection of social anxiety or low self-esteem?

I think it may be the latter.

In me, it also translates to a fear of failure and a fear of criticism or not being good enough.  As a writer, it also meant I wrote:

  • Half-hearted drafts, before they were abandoned for not being good enough to continue with (never mind the fact that that is the exact point of writing drafts!)
  • Unpublished blogs and entries (they might be completed but they’re also my creations, my ‘babies’.  Afraid of critical feedback and disagreement, I kept them tucked safely in the ‘unpublished’ section forever)

But today, I want to stop being a shut-in writer!

I want to put my words and thoughts in the world, and I’m ready to hear what you think!  I want to know if you think if my writing is amazing, absolute crap or somewhere in between. I want to hear your suggestions for my improvement or any experiences and advice to share.

I want to stop being a shut-in writer, and I want to become a writer.

You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t try, and that would be worse than failing.

Dear shut-in or formerly shut-in writers, please let me know if your concerns, fears and your journey so that we can learn from each other.

 

(Image source: bLaugh)

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6 years late in chasing my dreams 

Today WordPress sent me a congratulation message on the 6-year anniversary of this WordPress page. As you may notice however, the first published blog entry is only from a few weeks ago!

This was a poignant reminder to myself to get off my ass, push my sleeves up and get to work!

Six years ago I thought I would give a proper try at pursuing writing and maybe even one day lucky enough to call it my profession. I created this blog to share interesting and meaningful thoughts and hope to see it gain traction with an audience. Fear of failure, fear of criticism– in the end I left a bunch of stale essays saved in draft mode, never to be posted publicly.

In the end, I sat on my hands and didn’t pursue writing any further. I took up my day job as an accountant and that was that for the next 6 years.  
This reminder from WordPress comes at an opportune time for me. Progress is stagnating (procrastination my old friend, did you have to return so quickly?) as I begin working on a new idea. This reminder is the prod I needed to remember to not let another 6 years go past!

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take right? Even if my final work sucks, at least I’ll have finished writing it and given it a real try.