Too Much Me

Thursday, July 06, 2017
Recently I asked my daughter if she would read an article about me on a blog, and share it on my Facebook page.
"Because," I said, (like an 8-year-old).
"It's very good," she said, as she looked up from her phone and wondered why I was so concerned."
"It's not that I didn't think she'd do a good job, it's that sometimes I'm uncomfortable in the spotlight."
"Don't you like the attention?"
"No," I said. "It's too much me."
"That's weird," she said.
"I know."
"Didn't you do public relations for a living?"
"For someone else," I said, "and I was good at it, but when it comes to me, I'm not good at promoting myself."

Is that shyness, or introversion, or something else? Some people bask in the limelight, but I don't feel comfortable if someone else has put me there. If I can control it, then it's not as bad, and at times I even take the lead and promote my work. Take this blog, for instance, if I want to write about myself I can, but when I put the control in someone else's hands I feel like one of those prisoners walking out of solitary confinement after a couple of weeks -- the light burns my eyes.

As a writer, I go back and forth between extroversion and introversion, although not in a straight line. To be completely honest, I wrote this post a couple of months ago, and was not sure about posting it because it reveals personal information. And I do believe that we all have some of both characteristics in us. Some days I feel confident and want people to hear what I have to say. Other days I want to stay in bed and read a book.

What about you? Are you fearless when it comes to promoting yourself? Or do you shy away from disclosing personal information, or promoting yourself and your books. There's no right or wrong, but I wonder why some of us are so comfortable, and others not so much.

Mary Horner is a freelance writer and editor, and the author of Strengthen Your Nonfiction Writing. She teaches communications at St. Louis and St. Charles Community Colleges.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--I imagine--but perhaps I'm wrong--that most people are the other way around. They don't like writing about themselves but if others do... well, it must be semi-accurate, because someone else is saying the complimentary things about you, right?

Last year, some of my students worked on graciously accepting specific compliments. If a peer said, "Your story's beginning is really engaging," they worked on responding simply with "Thank you," instead of answering with an endless string of excuses. (My students quickly learned this was something I struggled with as well, so it became a kind of game. They would watch and listen carefully when I got a compliment, and I would do the same with them.)

Maybe you would benefit from the same sort of work? If someone else is singing your praises, simply sit back and listen... and then say Thank you" (and mean it).

Margo Dill said...

Marketing yourself is hard, in my opinion, because you always hear people complain about others who market themselves too much or are "too pushy". And then it leads us to think: am I like that?

People who don't think that ever might just be too self-consumed, and none of us want to be like that.

In writing, we are forced to market ourselves. So I think it is just something that you have to get used to.

Mary Horner said...

Thanks, Sioux and Margo! I think many writers struggle with different sides of their personalities because to be a good writer you should be introspective and willing to spend time examining yourself and the world around you. Often times, however, this means taking yourself out of the equation, not looking at the world through your own eyes, but through the eyes and feelings of others, as well.

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