A shy girl’s perspective.
Social? The word makes me, a true-blue shy girl cringe. Social? That means interacting with and talking to people. I get tongue tied when I talk to family and my closest friends. You want me to talk to strangers? Hell, you want me to talk to important strangers like authors and editors? My brain freezes up and I just stand there and smile, all the time wishing I had something clever or meaningful to contribute to the conversation.
I can honestly say I’ve been in more than one situation where I’ve been the quiet girl in the corner with no idea where or how to do that whole networking thing. I start to worry and the more I think about it the more I stress and worry and it snowballs until I am on the verge of a meltdown. Yet, I’m still smiling on the outside.
This is where the “media” half came to my rescue. I am by no means a social media expert. I use Facebook, Twitter and visit the occasional blog or author website. I took a necessary leap and started my own blog, amyjhawthorn.com. That’s really the extent of my usage.
In each of these I am guilty of lurking. I have lurked for months before posting a single sentence. But I am so glad I did. With each post or comment things got easier and the words came more freely.
One thing the internet gave me was the ability to think for a moment about what I want to say. I am still guilty of over thinking things a bit too much and have deleted posts when I probably should have shared them. But that little bit of time relieves some of my anxiety.
Another thing the internet gave me was a little dash of anonymity. I have never used it to lie or mislead anyone but there is something freeing that comes from using a screen name. Shy Amy? There are thousands of Amy’s out there and I’m sure plenty of them are shy. I can blend right in.
But that’s where things begin to change. See, now I need to build my “author platform,” Amy J. Hawthorn. I want people to remember that name. I want people to like her and think just maybe, she might be an author worth trying.
Now the pressure’s back on. But this time I have something or someone in my corner backing me up. I now have experience online and something even better. I have friends in my corner backing me up. Their support means the world to me. Knowing that they love me and think highly of my writing is one of the greatest gifts ever.
Where did I meet these wonderful, almost too good to be true, friends? Online. I met them at an author’s forum where readers gathered to talk about books. In that forum I found friends who read the same books I did, and they live within an hour’s drive from my house. Too good to be true? Sounded like it. We decided to meet up in person and we played it safe and met for lunch at a very public place. Then we went book shopping together.
And we clicked. I didn’t know what I was missing until I found them. Now I wouldn’t trade them for anything. So many good things have come to me just from sticking my nose out there into the internet. New to me authors that I adore, great friends and possibly even a second career.
The downside? It can be a huge time suck for me. I can lose hours of time and have no idea where they went or what I did. This is one bad habit I have to kick soon, like NOW. Big exciting changes are coming my way and they are going to keep me busy.
Another downside? There are people out there who aren’t as nice as they pretend to be. There are more than a few crazies out there in cyber space. It pays to be cautious. Always. Please, please, please, always use caution when meeting people online. The world is a scary place sometimes.
For me the decision is an easy one. I am very thankful for social media and the internet. It has enriched my world in so many ways. For this shy girl, the bennies far outweigh the cons.
Amy J. Hawthorn