Doing Battle with Your Own Nature by Christine Duncan

Safehouse2_cvr Michelle’s post on battling her urge to sit on the couch and do nothing vs. her need to read or write the perfect story touched a nerve in me. I am constantly battling my own nature with regard to writing. But in my case, it’s my terminal shyness that is the problem.

And here I am trying to promote a new book out.

I think a lot of folks become writers because they are shy but they still have something to say. So they hole themselves up somewhere and write. I know that pretty well describes me.

On some promotional counts, the shy writer has it easier than ever before. Much of promotion can be done on the internet now. I can write articles, blog, and be a part of a reading/writing discussion group without ever opening my mouth or having anyone look at me.

But it doesn’t solve everything. One of my kids is on a crusade to make me change the photos that I have posted on Facebook and my website. He hates them he says, because he is sure no one would ever know that either of the pics is me. I will admit to a rather strange expression on the Facebook pic. But the idea that no one would ever know it is me is…just fine with me.

The other thing internet promo doesn’t solve is the signing dilemma. I can send promo materials via email to the bookstore manager or CRM before I ever have to call them and request a signing. And I do. But I do eventually have to call them. Then I have to gear myself up to do the signing.

For those of you who have never endured er, done a signing yet the only thing I can compare it to is when you go to the grocery during the weekend when they are trying to sell you a newspaper subscription or when the boy (or girl) scouts are in front of it trying to sell you one of their annual products. You’re broke (tired, in a hurry–pick one) and you try to hurry past them, pretending not to see. You figure that if you avoid eye contact, they’ll leave you alone. The scout figures you just don’t see, so they come up and wave the stuff in your face.

The problem with signings is that you are the scout trying to sell the stuff. And as a not so born again shy person, I have an anti-wave gene in my make-up. Sigh.

So writers, what are you battling in your writing career. And how have you solved it?


6 responses to “Doing Battle with Your Own Nature by Christine Duncan

  1. Right now I’m forcing myself to write the second draft of my first novel. I let my mother and my daughters read it. Before that I was too shy to let anyone read my work. I know that once I’m through editing it will be time to query, and I will have to let someone I don’t know read it. Just that thought paralyzes me some days and I don’t even work on it. I’ve decided to let my best friend read it, though. Maybe that will help me get past the fear of others reading my work.

  2. I wonder if Emily Dickinson actually wanted to share her work. Can you imagine her out meeting her public? I always found it painful to exhibit art work, maybe because the format was the art gallery with an opening while folks sipped wine and all that. There just seems to be a built-in struggle with the pride of accomplishment and the humbleness of criticism. You might just have to keep your reader in mind…what an honor it is for them to meet you. Maybe you will inspire them to write or create, changing their life into something sweeter and more meaningful.

  3. Actually, I suddenly don’t have anything to say when friends suddenly ask: “So what’s your new book about?”

    I can deflect the question for a moment by saying, “About $13.95.” But sooner or later I have to answer the question. I guess I want them to read the book and then they can decide what it’s about.


  4. Right now, I’m battling with trying to get further along in a longish short story that I started about a month ago.

    I got the entire story plotted and outlined in my head on exactly what I want to do and where I want to go, but every time I sit down to work at it, I get vapor lock at the part I’m currently stuck at.

    Thing is, I really need to get this part written because it is the key to put the rest of the story in motion.

  5. Considering G’s battle w/ the short story…I heard Kurt Vonnegut speak once and he said to throw out the first chapter because you were just showing the world how smart you were, then consider starting your story in the middle and add the beginning later. Maybe you could shake up your story and rearrange the sequence of the telling.

  6. Sounds like a good idea. I do know that my original idea was to have this protaganist as the other major plotline to the first.

    Basically, the story has the protaganist turning the lead character into a demon of sorts, and she has seventy-hours to catch him if she wants to turn back into a human again.

    The part I’m stuck at is having the protaganist make the initial move that puts the lead on the chase (sort of like The Fugitive) after him.

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