As a writer, I thought that I’m set. I don’t have to interact with people in person. I can just write my manuscript. I interact with people online and have that safety net of my anonymity. I tend to be quiet when I’m with groups of people and just listen in on the conversation. Online,either in forums, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, or all other social media outlets, I feel free to connect and chat with total strangers, provided that I’m using my pen name. So, I found it unnerving that as an aspiring author, I needed to network. Networking online is easy, as previously stated, but I needed to meet people in person.
For NaNoWriMo, I joined the Toronto community and they were holding a half way party to celebrating reaching the half way point milestone. I missed the kick off party because I joined NaNoWriMo a couple of days late. I just discovered it and since I was only four days into November, I decided to join, in an attempt to test the waters to see if I would like the challenge for next year. I found that I love NaNoWriMo and fully intend to sign up for 2015.
When I went to the half way party, I didn’t realize that everyone knew each other because they’ve been a part of NaNoWriMo for several years or they have been to the various events that happened before I even knew there were events for the Toronto community. Suffice to say, I was terrified. I put on a polite and friendly face when I turned around after checking in with the event coordinators and had to figure out how was I going to meet strangers.
In my everyday life, my hubby is the social butterfly. He knows how to converse with total strangers about a variety of topics from current events to art and history and other things cultural. I, on the other hand, have a hard time conversing on topics of current events and anything cultural. I can converse about most things scientific, but those topics are rarely talked about. I also have a hard time hearing people, especially if they mumble or talk quietly. I tend to rely on reading their lips, it’s a quirk I have that’s always been with me.
So going into the half way party, I was nervous. I sat down with one person and thankfully he was nice and friendly, helpful for a first time wrimo (what NaNoWriMo participants call themselves). Then more people showed up and the conversations were about things I had no clue about. I would try to add an opinion here and there, but I did my usual thing and listened.
The funny thing is, you would think that I would be shy about any kind of crowd. But one of my favourite hobbies, karaoke, brings out the extrovert in me. The bigger the crowd the better. For some reason, my brain has translated it to anonymity. Since there are so many people in the bar, I don’t stand out as much and I’m just another nameless face that has gone up to sing. Singing on stage seems to contradict not standing out, but as one of the people in the crowd when I’m not singing, I don’t really notice the singer on stage. I’m not trying to be mean about it, I do know that they are singing up there—I don’t ignore their performance. Usually, my group of friends are the only ones applauding, but I don’t criticize if they make a mistake, if they sing off-key, or if they look like fools. I just enjoy sitting with my friends, munching on pub food, and listening to music—even the country songs (I wouldn’t choose to listen to it on iTunes but I don’t boo people for choosing the songs). I’ll even try songs that I’ve never sung before. And if I sound horrible, I chalk it up to “at least I tried but I will remember to not sing that again”.
So, I really don’t know what I would be classified as. Am I an introvert? Extrovert? Extroverted Introvert? Shy? Maybe it’s my Gemini personality that just allows me to be a little bit of everything.
stock images from istockphoto.com