Daring to Be Uncomfortable As a Writer

Last night I was at a singles event where a relationship expert presented techniques on how to flirt. And then we were turned loose to flirt.

– All introverts just shrieked in horror. –

I know because I pick up the introvert frequency.

While I’ve trained myself to be a fairly outgoing person, I had to build this atop an introvert core. It burns at my center like a second heart or something, and probably always will, so that I’ve had to actively choose to override my natural response to socializing in order to expand my life.


So I simultaneously groaned and smiled at the challenge of this whole get-your-flirt-on adventure. After all, as part two of the evening ensued, our minds were swimming with new ideas but at the same time every approach she talked about was somehow off limits, you know?! I mean, how do you perform the magic trick in all seriousness for people who know its mechanics? The whimsical fun of it is gone or something.

But you know what, it was fine. We were all in the same boat and as it turned out, the presentation gave us a ton to talk about with each other. So, you know, whatever works.

Anyway, true to form…this morning, when I should be mentally assimilating these techniques as a gal on the prowl, I became distracted by how my experience applies to being a writer. As follows.

Daring to Squirm

The relationship expert asked for a role playing guinea pig. As I watched this guy make his way down the aisle, I wondered if he was for real. I mean, we had each ventured out on a Sunday night when we’d probably rather finish winding down so we could face Monday, made ourselves presentable, drove across town, and faced what to most of us is a chomping void in our existence. So, it was definitely brave for this guy to then risk alienating all the prospects he did all that for.

He was up there for most of the hour so he was thrown into tons of tricky situations and under the microscope of our beady eyes. It seemed to me that all this was understandably uncomfortable for him at times, but he carried it off with confident vulnerability–which is a fascinating combination, right?

Afterward, I introduced myself and was speaking with him, and he confirmed how nervous he was even though he did have a background of being in front of audiences.

Writing can sometimes feel like we’re tucked away from the world, but it’s actually really good to think about the audience. When that thought freaks you out, it takes courage to keep writing! So I think there’s definitely a takeaway for all of us here, from what this guy was modeling at this (admittedly strange!) event.

Allowing the Alien

This morning, I decided I would like to channel his example of having the courage to squirm, to endure discomfort and imminent embarrassment, in order to gain something. One does not have to writhe. One can squirm with aplomb like this guy did.

Background 2I love this image my mom sketched of me when I was a teenager. I told her I felt like an alien at school or something and she took my pain as artistic inspiration. It was consoling, though. For me, it remains a visual statement that it’s okay to be an alien. Embracing those parts of you makes you strong and more interesting.

As writers, we have experience in what we are doing, yet daily (hourly?!) we face small or large tasks which ask us to put ourselves in the bog of not knowing what on earth we are doing, from a technique standpoint.

Also, this reminded me of writing because writing is a kind of delayed performance. So becoming better at writing means performing your stuff, putting it out there even when you’re not a pro at every aspect of it, and then learning from it. This takes balance because we can’t just be carelessly sloppy and put unpolished writing out on some major stage. But we can put it out on smaller stages, more often. That’s something I want to get more into.

Using Pressure as a Lever

Of all the people listening to the presentation, this new friend of mine had to have been the person who got the most out of it. He was the one pushing himself against that goopy barrier while the rest of us were watching. In various degrees of horror. 😉

I found myself wondering at the lever pressure can be.

We have to be careful with pressure, that we don’t overdo it. But I wondered, how can I experiment with pressure when it comes to pushing myself as a writer? I’ll be exploring that in next week’s post!

2 thoughts on “Daring to Be Uncomfortable As a Writer

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