I have been reminded that publishing — either via social media or something a little more formal — is a daunting process. I say ‘process’ because for some it is a process. As writers, we write, then edit and edit and edit. For introverts, we write, edit, then sit; sometimes we ponder the ‘what-ifs’; sometimes we don’t feel the need to publish.
When I “finished” my first book about ten years ago, hardcopy unsolicited submissions were still being accepted. I submitted my manuscript via FedEx (because FedEx is trackable) and included a return FedEx envelope for a reply and possible return. This SCREAMED that I wasn’t ready to let go of my manuscript.
This manuscript was my first-born. I was going through the steps of letting go. I was also stepping into the realm of rejection. I don’t know if submitting is more difficult for introverts, but I was in cold sweats, I could barely sleep, and I felt sick until I (of course) received a rejection and my manuscript. I was thankful that I did not yet have to cut that umbilical cord.
It’s funny to think, conversely, that I didn’t blink at publishing my research in a peer-reviewed international journal. On the science hand, I wanted to disseminate my research results. I wanted to help others and for them to use the information to their benefit. But on the creative hand, I had opened up my heart and bled freely on every page of my manuscript. The only analogy I can think of (besides bleeding) is being raised in a convent then volunteering to do a strip tease at a local biker pub. Vulnerable is an understatement.
I had no problem publishing my brain. This contradiction, however, had me wonder if I wanted to publish my heart.
As writers — as artists — we must put ourselves out there entirely, completely, openly to create our best. Art isn’t art without the emotion, without the unique stamp of our individual expression. A good friend (and artist) once told me, “There is only one artist.” You need to be your own archaeologist, dig out the dirt, and spread it out on the page. But in being your own artist, you not only chose your own words, your own medium, and your own voice, you also choose the pace and how much you put out there.
This is an age of mass consumption of mass information. As an introvert I am easily overwhelmed, and I know there are others like me out there. Sometimes I berate myself for not producing, posting, and releasing more. However, I am not gregarious. I avoid crowds. I don’t talk much at parties. When I do choose to speak, I seek out one-on-one intense conversations. I don’t broadcast myself personally, why would I do it professionally?
I see there is a market for one-night stands, for knock-off Prada bags, mass produced food. I also see there is a market still for handmade crafts, locally and organically grown produce, and relationships grounded in trust and communication. As such, I have faith there is a market out there for my written work. And I have faith there is also a market for you, whether you are a business-owner, a writer, or a person looking to find your place in the world.
In ‘puttin’ it out there’, I am not only choosing to put out my genuine self, but also when and how much. You can too. There need not be quantity, as these one-hit authors attest. Yet when you step out, step out as yourself and make it good. Those looking for you will be glad you did.
Books Tell You Why: Famous Authors Who Only Wrote One Novel
Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts
The Mind Unleashed: Organic Food is Better For You (with references)
PR Daily: This is Your Brain on Social Media