After posting my previous blog on getting out of the house, one or two people mentioned to me that it’s not always that easy and that not everyone is as outgoing as, well, me, I suppose. It’s very easy to espouse a certain behaviour when it comes relatively easily to oneself.
This difficulty of presenting oneself to other people is compounded for those who regard themselves s introverts. Here’s the thing, though. I regard myself as an introvert. By and large, in a professional context, I keep myself to myself, and don’t reveal the “full” me or the “real” me to a person until I’ve gotten to know them and judge (not in the moralistic sense) their character as being compatible to my own. I like to feel comfortable around others before I show myself. I keep a lot back when I meet people. I don’t tend to gush.
Which is why I like the company of other writers. It’s my observation that a great many writers (though not all) are, in fact, introverts. We observe, and think, rather than instinctively open our mouths to see what comes out. Perhaps that’s because the way our brains are wired means we’re more likely to have an understanding of causality and consequence. That can also mean we’re sometimes reticent to actually make that first move, which is essentially what the previous post was about. Being proactive, opening your mouth. I’ve learned to do that, to the extent that if I meet somebody who I think I can deal with, one of my first instincts is to ask them for a beer. That sounds really forward, but I only do it once I’ve made up my mind it’d probably be worthwhile, so after a number of online interactions, and probably in a group so it’s a safer space.
When together, all this reticence that can mean that we take a while to “get going” and for the conversation to become animated, but it’s frequently worthwhile.
The most valuable friendships I’ve made over the past two or three years have been made with other writers, both personally and professionally; without these new friendships (they’re much more than merely “connections”) I wouldn’t have had all the publishing credits I now do, I wouldn’t be signed to a publishing house, and I wouldn’t have the upcoming opportunities I do. So it was definitely worth leaving the bloody house. I highly recommend it.