It just ain’t natural

I hated being the centre of attention when I was a teenager. Any time I had to stand up in public, my knees went to jelly and I felt sick with nerves.

By the time I was in my 20s and working as a journalist I had no problem conducting one-to-one interviews but would get ridiculously nervous asking questions in front of an audience.

Writers: shy and retiring by nature.

Luckily, various jobs forced me to overcome my fear. As spokesman for a disaster relief charity I had to do live TV and radio interviews. As a teacher I found that willingness to make an idiot of myself in front of a class generally helped make lessons more fun and more effective.

But, being an essentially private person, I don’t relish the spotlight. Some people love it. They’ve got the gift of the gab, can sing and dance, know how to work a crowd and adore the limelight – all very handy if you’re an independent author and have to get out there and ‘market’ yourself.

For me, though, self-promotion doesn’t come naturally. When I meet people, I rarely tell them I’m an author and I suspect many writers have the same issue.

That’s because writing is by its nature a solo, contemplative performance. We create in private over a long period of time. We bond with our characters, live in their world, discover their motivations, loves, hates…

Eventually though, when the book’s finished, it’s time to emerge from our little bubble and engage with the real world. There might be a few people who write just for the pleasure of the process. Most of us though write because we have something to say, a story to tell or a point to make.

So, unless we’re supremely talented, very lucky or both, that means we have to talk to our potential audience and say ‘hey, I’ve written this, what do you think?’ 

Come on, show yourself

Blogging is one way of talking about yourself and your work. Then there’s blog tours, Facebook, Twitter and all that other stuff.

I know that being my own publicist is essential but it just don’t feel natural.

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2 responses to “It just ain’t natural”

  1. mjpullen says :

    You’re right! It must be self-promotion reflection day. Really enjoyed your post – gives a personal perspective on the inward/outward dichotomy of being a writer. Well done!

  2. cheerfulresearcher says :

    I quite agree – so difficult to even tell people what you do sometimes, never mind tell them they should read it!

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