By C. Hope Clark-
I swear…emails from readers are the best catalysts for editorials and lessons. They make me think, and they give me ideas for stories, for solutions, for hints on how to help other writers.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked SHY WRITER. As many of you know, I wrote THE SHY WRITER REBORN because I have an earnest longing to help writers afraid to publish, speak or self-promote. It’s hard. I hate it, too. It goes against my grain. If I could stay locked up in my study writing, and let someone else sell my work, I would. Most of us would.
So I wrote THE SHY WRITER REBORN to share the hints, lessons and tricks I’ve collected over the years that help me step away from my desk and be an entrepreneur. I’m much better than I used to be, but still, there are many moments when I want to turn down an opportunity, walk away from people, and crawl into my own head to live out my life…and tell my stories.
But last week I received this memo:
“I need a push. Confidence in business and teaching has been my strength for so many years. Why am I a shy writer?”
This woman could’ve been me . . . WAS me. As a federal director for years, I held a reputation for being pretty strong and diligent in maintaining the direction of any mission assigned to me. Many relied upon me. Some of my peers found me intimidating. To tell you a secret, part of that intimidation was the fact I would write better than anyone I met within the agency, and trust me, writing well makes everyone who can’t write think you’re part genius.
But I recall the first time I had to read my fiction aloud, at a critique group. After 25 years of management, I sat in a room at the local library, holding only ten people, and literally shook as I read Chapter One of Lowcountry Bribe. Five years later, when Lowcountry Bribe had a contract, when I should’ve felt validated, I stood at a writers conference to read my fiction again, and shook.
That evening, I pondered what the deal was. How could I be so strong one minute and fearful the next? Then it hit me.
In business and teaching, we are symbolic of an organization, a school, a subject. We are something else. However, as writers, we are putting ourselves out there. What we say is only ours, from our words, our personal thoughts. That’s hitting too close to home. If we can put ourselves in the “role” of author, maybe that same strength we use for business and teaching would come forth.
And I’ve been using that logic ever since.