They say writers are introverts. They say writers like to be alone with their imaginary characters. They say writers are “word people.”
Well, I don’t know who “they” are, and I certainly can’t speak for all writers, but for myself, I’d have to say that the above statements are at least partially true. I’m not a complete introvert, but I’m not a complete extrovert, either. It depends on the situation, and my comfort zone lies somewhere in between the two. I like to listen, although I do also like to make people laugh. When my “imaginary characters” cooperate, yes, I like to be alone with them—they’re my means of escape from the crazy outside world. But I’m not a hermit and I love to be with my family and friends. I do like words, but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert by any means.
The thing about being a writer that makes me laugh, though, is that it has forced me out of my comfort zone so many times, and continues to do so. Take, for example, a phone call I received yesterday. An old friend from my temple, who moved away earlier this year, called me to see if I would be interested in speaking to her Hadassah group about writing Jewish romances.
My usual response, before becoming a writer—and yes, I realize that if I wasn’t a writer, I wouldn’t have been asked to speak about this particular topic; work with me here—would have been to drop the phone. But I’ve actually been asked to do this, with maybe slightly different topics, often enough that I took it in stride, although the offer to pay me threw me for a bit of a loop!
I’m happy to talk to the group. I know that the more I get out there, the more books I’ll sell. And I also realize that public speaking is a muscle that has to be exercised. I’ve even started working on what I can say, after a frantic call to my mother. Now I just need to work up the courage to stand in front of a room full of people and speak.