Saturday, 14 April 2012

New Fantasy Short Story Published

My latest fantasy short story has been published by Necrology Shorts. Read it here at http://www.necrologyshorts.com/disturbance-call-at-the-fairy-bar/

Confessions of an Introverted Writer

Shyness in Writers

As a writer, I convey ideas, education, and entertainment to a wide audience, such as an actor conveys a character or a singer conveys a song. I am out there for everyone to see; my style, my words, my personality, my imagination, even my picture on my website. I am a public speaker in print, standing up in front of my audience, naked in protection and vulnerable to criticism. I do this with pride, determination, and perseverance.

Yet, in person, I am an extremely shy person, very introverted and extremely quiet. Some people mistake my shyness and introversion as rudeness or being “stuck-up” as I rarely talk to anyone I do not know intimately. I smile, I say hello, but as for chit-chat or shooting the breeze, I’m mostly mute. I have few friends and do not socialize in any aspect of my life, including going to parties, get-togethers, barbecues, weddings, or other functions or events. My wife hates this about me, but that’s my personality. I’m anti-social, but way over on the good side of sociopathic.

You can see it in my behaviour. I don’t relate to other males well at all. I hate sports and have absolutely no interest in male-dominated activities such as cars, renovations, or talking about sexual conquests. My relationships with other males are business-oriented only. I relate better to females. My shyness factor around females drops from a ten to a nine point eight. Not much, but it is noticeable. I am also extremely distrustful of people until I get to know them very well, and get on the defensive if a stranger even tries to talk to me, doing whatever I can to terminate the conversation, even being rude and using some choice four-letter words if that’s what it takes.

For the greater part of my life, work involved customer service jobs, dealing daily with the public. In a business relationship, my shyness dissolves. Why, I have no idea. I can stand and talk in front of people to promote myself. Put me in a social situation with two or more people and I run.

How can this level of shyness and introversion have developed? I really don’t know. I’m deathly afraid of needles, heights, and insects. I jeopardize my health due to avoidance of medical procedures, limit my life due to the inability to use a glass elevator or fly, and scream like a little girl if a spider comes near me. Can shyness and phobias reflect upon and propagate each other?

And for all of this, I chose to become a writer. Now, I have heard a few stories about writers all having similar traits; over-indulgence in alcohol (though I’ve never touched alcohol at all,) drug use (never touched anything there either,) and mental illness (I stir my tea too much but that’s not mental illness, just obsessive-compulsive behaviour.) So, I have to ask myself. Is it natural for a shy person to become a writer, or for a writer to be naturally shy?

When I look at the aspect of writing, it does seem to present itself as a novel (sorry for the pun) way for a shy person to work. You don’t have to get up each morning and deal with the crowds on public transit or other drivers on the road. You don’t have to interact with co-workers, pretending to be interested in their lives and just wishing they would leave you alone. And of course, no dealing with customers who, in many instances, can be rude, nasty, and in your mind, the perfect victim for the local serial killer. Sitting at home, alone, typing away for hours on the computer, just you, your creativity, and your coffee or tea, seems the ideal job description.

On the other hand, not interacting with other people during the day means marketing the hell out of yourself vial mail, the internet, and unfortunately, over the phone. You don’t get to go to work, make it through the day without snapping at someone, and come home, getting a regular pay cheque at the end of the week. Go to work, do your job, go home, get paid. Go to work, do your job, go home, get paid. Monotonous but regular. We introverts seem to hate change and love routine.

Writing can be more frustrating than one might think. You need to market yourself thoroughly. Sometimes you write work on speculation, sometimes you write proposals hoping to get assignments. You need to scour job boards and business listings to compile a database of potential clients, \You need to search consumer and trade magazines to find suitable markets for articles. You need to discover which publishers might be right for your non-fiction book proposals and novels. Then, and here’s the fun part, if you have time left in your day, you have to write.
So for me, a shy, introverted writer, not having to deal with people face-to-face means I can be more outgoing and aggressive through email or over the phone. I can market my skills and services effectively, and through mail or email send and receive the work that needs to be done. The times when I do have to meet the client, I’m still in work mode. I avoid personal questions and discussions and stay right with the task at hand. I maintain control in the meeting, not letting it get personal. As long as I’m in control and it remains all business, I’m fine.

Many times I’ve heard that writers interject their own lives and personalities into their fiction. The stories and characters parallel the people and events in the writer’s life, or even the writer them self. I guess that comes right back to the old adage of, “write what you know.” However, my fiction tends to be the complete opposite of that. My stories are solidly character-based, heavy on family and friendship. Even if a character is shy, he or she still tends to be an outgoing person. They make friends easily, go to events and parties, and function normally in society, even if they are evil, socio, or psychopathic. Friend or foe, hero or villain, they don’t seem to shrink back into themselves when confronted by meeting someone.

Does this mean that in my writing I’m trying to compensate for something lacking in my own life, projecting my desires for extrovert behaviour towards my characters? Upon reflection, it may be. I wonder if other introverted writers might do the same thing. They may, but even if they don’t, I’m sure we all share some trait of it that a psychologist or psychiatrist could spot within the first paragraph of any of our work. Something like this “disorder” must be visible in some way in the nuances of everyone’s writing style.

And this shyness-in-life/outgoing-in-print personality is not relegated to just my fiction. It comes through in my non-fiction as well. Give me a topic to write about and I will blatantly put it all out there, unbiased, or slanted in any form the client requires. My innermost fears, desires, thoughts, opinions, rants, and comments, though very subtle, all make their way through if appropriate. Even in this essay about shyness in writers, I have said 99.9% more than I ever would in talking one-on-one face-to-face with another person. In personal contact, my life, personally and professionally, is no one’s business unless I’m doing business with that person.

Now consider this. There are a lot of books, articles, scripts, and other written material produced by the collaboration of two or more writers. If we assume that most writers are shy or introverts, then how does this collaboration even occur if writing is a lonely and solitary endeavour? In theory, it shouldn’t. Each writer should shy away from the other. But collaborated material is prevalent and the style that comes through is one of consistency as if written by one person. The two distinct personalities seem to have become one, rather than an obvious observation that one paragraph was written by one writer and then the next by the other. So in this case, can we assume that two shy writers working together put their shyness aside to produce a body of work, or is the shyness still out there in full view yet somehow the work gets done?

As far as it relates to myself, I really do enjoy the solitary and introvertly shy writer’s life. Being alone in my office gives me the space and time to concentrate on what I’m writing without any interruptions. And for me, getting though the day without talking to anyone and simply sending off my completed work via Email, is a dream come true. Shyness in Writers

As a writer, I convey ideas, education, and entertainment to a wide audience, such as an actor conveys a character or a singer conveys a song. I am out there for everyone to see; my style, my words, my personality, my imagination, even my picture on my website. I am a public speaker in print, standing up in front of my audience, naked in protection and vulnerable to criticism. I do this with pride, determination, and perseverance. Yet, in person, I am an extremely shy person, very introverted and extremely quiet. Some people mistake my shyness and introversion as rudeness or being “stuck-up” as I rarely talk to anyone I do not know intimately. I smile, I say hello, but as for chit-chat or shooting the breeze, I’m mostly mute.

I have few friends and do not socialize in any aspect of my life, including going to parties, get-togethers, barbecues, weddings, or other functions or events. My wife hates this about me, but that’s my personality. I’m anti-social, but way over on the good side of sociopathic. You can see it in my behaviour. I don’t relate to other males well at all. I hate sports and have absolutely no interest in male-dominated activities such as cars, renovations, or talking about sexual conquests. My relationships with other males are business-oriented only. I relate better to females. My shyness factor around females drops from a ten to a nine point eight. Not much, but it is noticeable.

I am also extremely distrustful of people until I get to know them very well, and get on the defensive if a stranger even tries to talk to me, doing whatever I can to terminate the conversation, even being rude and using some choice four-letter words if that’s what it takes. For the greater part of my life, work involved customer service jobs, dealing daily with the public. In a business relationship, my shyness dissolves. Why, I have no idea. I can stand and talk in front of people to promote myself. Put me in a social situation with two or more people and I run. How can this level of shyness and introversion have developed? I really don’t know.

I’m deathly afraid of needles, heights, and insects. I jeopardize my health due to avoidance of medical procedures, limit my life due to the inability to use a glass elevator or fly, and scream like a little girl if a spider comes near me. Can shyness and phobias reflect upon and propagate each other? And for all of this, I chose to become a writer. Now, I have heard a few stories about writers all having similar traits; over-indulgence in alcohol (though I’ve never touched alcohol at all,) drug use (never touched anything there either,) and mental illness (I stir my tea too much but that’s not mental illness, just obsessive-compulsive behaviour.) So, I have to ask myself. Is it natural for a shy person to become a writer, or for a writer to be naturally shy? When I look at the aspect of writing, it does seem to present itself as a novel (sorry for the pun) way for a shy person to work. You don’t have to get up each morning and deal with the crowds on public transit or other drivers on the road. You don’t have to interact with co-workers, pretending to be interested in their lives and just wishing they would leave you alone. And of course, not dealing with customers who, in many instances, can be rude, nasty, and in your mind, the perfect victim for the local serial killer.

Sitting at home, alone, typing away for hours on the computer, just you, your creativity, and your coffee or tea, seems the ideal job description. On the other hand, not interacting with other people during the day means marketing the hell out of yourself vial mail, the internet, and unfortunately, over the phone. You don’t get to go to work, make it through the day without snapping at someone, and come home, getting a regular pay cheque at the end of the week. Go to work, do your job, go home, get paid. Go to work, do your job, go home, get paid. Monotonous but regular. We introverts seem to hate change and love routine.

Writing can be more frustrating than one might think. You need to market yourself thoroughly. Sometimes you write work on speculation, sometimes you write proposals hoping to get assignments. You need to scour job boards and business listings to compile a database of potential clients, You need to search consumer and trade magazines to find suitable markets for articles. You need to discover which publishers might be right for your non-fiction book proposals and novels. Then, and here’s the fun part, if you have time left in your day, you have to write. So for me, a shy, introverted writer, not having to deal with people face-to-face means I can be more outgoing and aggressive through email or over the phone. I can market my skills and services effectively, and through mail or email send and receive the work that needs to be done. The times when I do have to meet the client, I’m still in work mode. I avoid personal questions and discussions and stay right with the task at hand. I maintain control in the meeting, not letting it get personal. As long as I’m in control and it remains all business, I’m fine.

  Many times I’ve heard that writers interject their own lives and personalities into their fiction. The stories and characters parallel the people and events in the writer’s life, or even the writer them self. I guess that comes right back to the old adage of, “write what you know.” However, my fiction tends to be the complete opposite of that. My stories are solidly character-based, heavy on family and friendship. Even if a character is shy, he or she still tends to be an outgoing person. They make friends easily, go to events and parties, and function normally in society, even if they are evil, socio, or psychopathic. Friend or foe, hero or villain, they don’t seem to shrink back into themselves when confronted by meeting someone. Does this mean that in my writing I’m trying to compensate for something lacking in my own life, projecting my desires for extrovert behaviour towards my characters? Upon reflection, it may be. I wonder if other introverted writers might do the same thing. They may, but even if they don’t, I’m sure we all share some trait of it that a psychologist or psychiatrist could spot within the first paragraph of any of our work. Something like this “disorder” must be visible in some way in the nuances of everyone’s writing style.

And this shyness-in-life/outgoing-in-print personality is not relegated to just my fiction. It comes through in my non-fiction as well. Give me a topic to write about and I will blatantly put it all out there, unbiased, or slanted in any form the client requires. My innermost fears, desires, thoughts, opinions, rants, and comments, though very subtle, all make their way through if appropriate. Even in this essay about shyness in writers, I have said 99.9% more than I ever would in talking one-on-one face-to-face with another person. In personal contact, my life, personally and professionally, is no one’s business unless I’m doing business with that person.

Now consider this. There are a lot of books, articles, scripts, and other written material produced by the collaboration of two or more writers. If we assume that most writers are shy or introverts, then how does this collaboration even occur if writing is a lonely and solitary endeavour? In theory, it shouldn’t. Each writer should shy away from the other. But collaborated material is prevalent and the style that comes through is one of consistency as if written by one person. The two distinct personalities seem to have become one, rather than an obvious observation that one paragraph was written by one writer and then the next by the other. So in this case, can we assume that two shy writers working together put their shyness aside to produce a body of work, or is the shyness still out there in full view yet somehow the work gets done?

As far as it relates to myself, I really do enjoy the solitary and introvertly shy writer’s life. Being alone in my office gives me the space and time to concentrate on what I’m writing without any interruptions. And for me, getting though the day without talking to anyone and simply sending off my completed work via Email, is a dream come true.
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http://www.phillipjboucher.com

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