It’s Wednesday and time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

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What am I feeling insecure about? Speaking in public. Yes, that’s right. I’m a Toastmaster who’s terrified of giving speeches.

A week ago, I was asked to speak to a group of people about my books. My first reaction? To think, ‘I can’t do that!’ Yesterday, I was asked to give a speech at a public venue this coming weekend, and my reaction was to feel, I can’t!

I know it’s just fear. And, I also know it comes from being an introverted writer. Talk about a double whammy! I know there must be other introverted writers out there, and most definitely there are many of the poor, frustrated people who live with them, who want to wrap their head around it a bit more. Here’s my take.

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To be a writer these days, you need to be able to speak in public. For that reason, I started going to Toastmasters nearly a year ago, and yet, I’m still terrified every time I take the stage.

The thing for the introvert is this. We can do everything within our power to overcome this fear of public speaking, yet, the natural inclination is to solitude. We still gain our energy from retreat.

Coming forward takes all my courage. It makes the stage fright seem doubly worse. There’s giving the talk itself and, then, there’s also the overwhelming prospect of a room full of strangers. It feels a little bit like swimming uphill.

‘Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.” ~ By Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert

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At Toastmasters last week, my “adopted grandfather” Bruce brought along a friend, Bob, who also lives at the same retirement village.

Bob expressed interest in my book. He was one of those sweet old gentlemen you warm to right away: twinkly-eyed, white-haired, white-bearded, who are extremely enthusiastic about literature and authors in general. He said, “It always makes such a difference if you can say you’ve met the author.”

‘What sort of books do you write?’ he asked.

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I tried to explain the genre, (fantasy fiction) and that it was aimed at the 9-12-year-old reading level. But, even as the words of description were leaving my mouth, I regretted them, and wished I’d said something else.

Lesson learned: an introverted writer should have a blurb rehearsed beforehand, a standard phrase that can be repeated in the time it takes to ride an elevator, in other words, have an “elevator pitch” ready. In a public situation, we don’t adlib very well.

In a starry-eyed fashion, Bob suggested I could get Bruce to organize a luncheon at their village, for me to come and talk about my book!

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Despite shrinking inside, I said, “Yes, that’s a good idea.”

“Oh, you’d draw quite a crowd, we love hearing about that sort of thing down at the village,” Bob said, beaming all the while.

Crowds – my least favourite thing. I used to think that I had a phobia of crowds but it’s not that I am rattled by being among a large group of people; it’s that being there depletes my energy. This is how it is being an introvert.

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‘When introverts want to be alone, it is not a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.’

I am fighting the good fight. I’m doing the work. I’m attending the weekly Toastmasters meetings and I’m somehow inexplicably surviving each speech I give. Yet, the thought of speaking in public this weekend is giving me palpitations!

Are you an introvert writer? How do you handle the stage fright? I need tips!

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it–like a secret vice!The artist knows he must be alone to create: the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray.’ Anne Morrow Lindberg

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Comments
  1. karenmcfarland says:

    Agree now, panic later! Oh Yvette, you are so awesome! Funny how we don’t recognize our strengths. And you have done so well at Toastmasters. So never fear girlfriend. You’ve got this. And you get to talk about a subject you love. You and your lovely book will be well received. Meanwhile I am convinced that I am a retarded “Insecure Writer.” I keep forgetting about posting on Wednesday. *sigh* Will I ever get it together? Just know that I am cheering you on!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thank you, Karen! Those kind words mean a lot. What a generous soul you are! I like that line, “agree now, panic later!” I’ll definitely remember that.
      p.s. don’t worry about forgetting the 1st Wednesday of the month, I’m always a day or so late! 🙂

      Like

  2. Kudos to you for doing something so extroverted, Yvette. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Catherine 🙂
      I have this old, deep-seated fear (as expressed in the speech I’m going to give, which is on fear of public speaking!) that I will go out on stage and trip over, or that I’ll flub the whole thing. It’s a case of climbing over that little hill every time. Whew!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The day before I’m to do a reading I spend the day throwing up. If I’m not throwing up, I’m gagging and staying close to the bowl. Three books later, it isn’t any easier. I hate every aspect of doing a reading. The shakes, the expectations, the anxiety. Um, guess I’m not helping you by giving some pointers. Other than being driven, I have no idea why I subject myself to this horror. I love writing. I love the finished product. I remind myself that it took a long time to write this book, I should at least promote it dutifully. Keep writing, Yvette. When you need some moral support, give a shout.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Joylene. You know what? That did help. At least I know I’m not the only one who gets rattled by the public part of being an author!! You’re awesome that you keep on giving the readings regardless. That’s true courage. Good on you.
      Let us continue to grow through this together! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bun Karyudo says:

    I completely sympathize. I’ve had jobs in the past that involved my giving presentations to groups and I hated it. I’m not very sure of the difference between being an introvert and being shy. I like other people and I’m interested in them, but I feel awkward around them. I don’t find them tiring, just a little scary at times. We don’t seem to think in the same way and so I’m never quite sure what they’re going to do next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Bun.
      You bring up an interesting question; I never thought about it before, however my first inclination is to think that being introverted and being shy are two different things. Which is not to say shy folks can’t be introverts.
      My eldest sister always says the difference between introverts and extroverts is that the former get their energy from being alone and the latter get their energy from being with other people. Do you go home to recoup or do you go out?
      The fact that you’re not tired by being around people says to me, you’re not an introvert. Just shy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        Hmm… Now I’m not sure. I don’t need to be around people — I’m quite happy by myself — but I am interested in people. I’m never entirely comfortable in large groups, though. When I’m in one, I tend to feel like an observer from a distant galaxy rather than a participant. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • yvettecarol says:

        An observer from a distant galaxy, I love that! In that case, let’s put you in the category of being shy with leanings towards being an introvert! Ha ha. That should cover you. Because that thing of being in a crowd and yet never quite feeling part of the crowd is an introvert trait, for sure. This fact coupled with the element that you’re interested in people is what makes you such a great observer in your writing. They’re really good traits for the writer, so you’ve got this sewn up! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        That’s sounds like the best category for me! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. ahtdoucette says:

    Yvette,
    Congrats on going to Toastmasters. I have to admit, the idea scares me but I’ve heard it’s an awesome program. I think balance is key – spending time alone and also spending time facing up to those fears/weaknesses – and accepting oneself through it all.
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Yes, brilliant comment, Anne. You’ve got it. I was unbalanced for most of my life, because I stayed behind my walls. Now, that I’m in the Toastmasters program, I’m having to confront my own weakness and because of that, I’m conquering it slowly but surely. For instance, the speaking in a public place situation mentioned in the post, is happening today, in the next few hours, actually. I never ever thought I’d be doing something like this. Yet, here I am. And, because I’m going to tackle this, and face it down today, I am going to go ahead and book in my speaking at the retirement village, as well. By the way, I recommend TM! Tell me if you do ever check it out, and we can compare notes 🙂

      Like

  6. emaginette says:

    Speaking in front of a crowd scares most people. It’s natural. I tend to be shy or hide behind humor. I flip a switch when I’m in the spotlight. Somehow I’m a comedian, in my mind anyway, and get through it that way. Am I taken seriously? Doubt it, and I’m not sure what I’d do if it had to be a serious talk.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi, Anna! Your comment has made me realize that I do a similar thing – as in, ‘flipping a switch.’ It reminds me of Beyoncé saying she could never take the stage if she didn’t switch into her alter-ego. Yes, I do the same. It’s like, you step on stage and into another persona, in order to be able to carry it off. Mine is like an actor. One of my fellow Toastmasters said my speeches ‘are full of interesting characters,’ and that’s because I use my ability to tell stories and I act out the different parts. I actually have some very serious speeches coming up this year, which I would like to tackle, and I don’t know how I’m going to manage but I’m hoping I will grow into them!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I truly loved watching your video of the latest Toastmasters presentation. You’ve truly overcome your past experiences and have become a rising star!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. yvettecarol says:

    I really appreciate the feedback, Clare. I’m truly cheered! Thank you 🙂

    Like

  9. The quote by Carol Bainbridge is so true. Marketing is the absolutely worst part of being a writer. It’s so hard to put myself out there when all I really want to do is hide in my cave and write. Years ago, I forced myself to take a public speaking course. I did not enjoy it, but it helped me to get over some of the fear and anxiety. It doesn’t bother me nearly as much to speak in front of people now. Practicing in front of a mirror helped me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. yvettecarol says:

    Thank you!! 🙂

    Like

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