Yes, I’m back. You guys thought you’d lost me, but no! You’re kind of stuck with me, especially now that I’m going to be focusing on my writing mostly full-time now, at least for a little while. This is something I’ve said I was going to do a thousand times before, and like almost anything that anybody says they’re going to do, life often gets in the way. Perhaps that will be the case this time around as well, but each time you start again is just another change to succeed (or another mark in your crazy column.)
One of the things that has often hampered my own writing (and one of the things I’m trying to be cognizant of this time around) is that I’m an introvert, and I’m not always open to new experiences. Many writers are like this, and that’s a huge part of why we go into writing. It’s a solo activity and requires your own determination and creativity. And it would be fine – except that the one top tried and true piece of advice is to write what you know. And how much can you know if you stay hidden in your office all day?
Now this isn’t to say that we introverts need to fix ourselves or our preferences; there’s nothing wrong with wanting to focus inward. But as writers we do need to have a couple fingers on the pulse of the world; information is a huge part of our trade. So how do we be introverts and still know and experience everything?
1) Push your boundaries
Standard and overworked, yes, but still very true. Stay close to the edge of your circle of comfort, so that it only takes a little push to go outside of it, and then the world frees up. The first step is always the hardest, and if you let yourself slide deep back into the circle, you will have to take that first step over and over again.
2) Use your resources
It’s never been easier to learn from the comfort of your own home with the internet and digital libraries. If you have an interest in something then pursue it, even if all you do it read one how-to book on it. Take notes, jot down thoughts and stay organized. You may never go back to that book or that old notebook again, but going through the motions helps with memorization, so the information will be there when you’re ready for it.
3) Focus on your niche; don’t be a jack of all trades
Especially if you’re freelancing, focus primarily on being the best at one or two joined markets, and then diversify. You have to make a name for yourself first off. I stared at a blank piece of paper until I had written down ten things that I am – these things are your interests, your niches. Use them because not everyone is going to be in the know about these things.
4) Stay connected
When you’re on the job, be on the job – have your time for writing where you shut off everything except the computer you’re typing on, yes, but also keep up with what’s happening around you. Maybe add something to your calendar every week to update your accounts.
5) Write down your goals
Each day – or each week, if you want to start off slowly – write down something new you’d like to experience. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but if you can keep yourself from falling into the same rut, then your writing will do the same. You have to write it down too – it doesn’t count if you just think it.
6) Accept yourself
Understand that you are not broken; you are you, and what you want to do, what you feel comfortable doing is just fine. Know yourself and know your limits. Don’t let others push you around or define you. You are the only one out there; take care of yourself.