I’m an introvert. I’ve always known it, and it’s one of the few things I never judged myself for.
By “introvert,” I mean a person whose focus of attention is toward the inner world. While extraverts seek information outside themselves, we introverts aren’t satisfied until we process outer information through our inner filters. Many introverts are p(erfectly comfortable in social situations.We do need alone time, though.
(To learn how to be a successful introverted writer, try Hope Clark’s excellent book.The Shy Writer Reborn: An Introverted Writer’s Wake-up Call.)
For me, meditation and solitude are natural. I’m familiar with the internal landscape. My inner voices are old friends.
Even knowing this, even with experience using journaling and meditation to figure out what’s going on with me, I fall prey to the trap of listening too much to others.
When I started writing for publication, I wanted to publish. Writers want to be read, right? With research and effort, I made progress. Next came marketing. Internet marketing seemed like a natural fit. So I learned. Read. Took courses. Read blogs. Learned strategies.
Except it wasn’t.
I was listening to others’ opinions about what was marketable. I’m a creative intuitive, remember, so I love ideas. I love to follow them, apply them. Before long, I had so many projects, paralysis set in.
I was learning craft, the fiction market, how to position books, how to blog, how to develop a web site, how to use Facebook, twitter and forums. It was not only overwhelming, it brought all my insecurities to the surface.
Many times, I threw up my hands. The only time I was really happy was when I focused solely on writing my novels.
The other day I was re-reading Steven Pressfield’s excellent follow-up book to The War of Art. It’s another short, simple read called Turning Pro. I highly recommend it.Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work.
As I was pondered my recent rejections and how more than one beta reader had recently commented I wasn’t taking risks, with my fiction, it hit me.
As much as I listen to my inner self, I was using the distraction of marketing to avoid opening to a deeper level in my own writing. I knew, vaguely, that the deeper level was there. I wanted to get to it.
On the other hand, that takes time and there’s this article to write, and my latest book to market, and editing on that new story, and I have client work to finish, and . . .
Shut up, I said to myself. If turning pro means, as Pressfield claims, facing my fears and listening to the Muse, then I must listen to the message that a deeper part of myself is calling.
Turns out, as with most things, there are levels.
I committed to serious writing several years ago. That decision is made. But I get sidetracked on marketability. What will sell? What does the market want?
Then I remembered a lesson I learned long ago. There is a tone inside each of us. If you are very quiet and listen, you can hear it ring. It rings with your vibration. It tells you what is sacred and true. It resides in the center. The still point.
So my new resolution is to write from as close to my own center as I can get. This will vary from day to day. That’s okay.
For an introvert who enjoys solitude, it was humbling to learn that I have resistance to silence, to turning inward, to listening to the voice within. Embarrassing. But that’s what always happens when another piece of resistance falls away.
The upside is that energy releases and creativity flows more freely. Totally worth it. So I’m committed anew. To listening more deeply. To quit surfing over the waves and diving deep. That’s where my tone beckons me.
What about yours?