Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Introverted Author's Guide to Not Freaking Out {Guest: Teresa Tysinger}

Laurie here! Today I've invited my friend Teresa Tysinger as a guest. 
You're going to love her. Give her a warm Alley welcome, will you?
Take it away, Teresa!



I am not yet published, so I am particularly grateful to Laurie for inviting me to guest post today on The Writer’s Alley. I thoroughly enjoy the community created here and look forward to spending a few moments with you.

I consider myself a high-functioning introvert. I am talkative and sociable with co-workers. Going out with groups (albeit small ones) is something I look forward to from time to time. I can even speak to crowds without feeling extremely nervous.

However, I am most comfortable with my own thoughts and naturally turn inwards. I crave moments of recharge in quiet places that do not require me to interact with others. If you’re a fellow member of Team Introvert, you understand. I believe the writer and reader in me is at the core of my introverted nature. In the quiet solitude is where my creativity thrives. But we authors get to the point in our careers that we need to put ourselves out there, become known, build our platform *gasp*. Tasks needing to be accomplished during this phase can be taxing on the introvert. There’s a real threat of freaking out. Oh, my introverted friends, don’t.

Here are a few ways to avoid the introverted author freak-out:
  • PRAY. While certainly not a tool unique to the introvert, prayer can really turn things around. When we ask God to be with us in our weak moments, he is eager to respond. During my first ACFW conference last year, I prayed countless times. In my car on the way to the venue, in the bathroom before walking into the general meeting room, while waiting to do my first pitch, during a workshop when I feared I’d have to speak up, and even on my way out. God doesn’t care how many times we need to call on him. Just that we do. And in between each of those prayers, I did feel a peace and calm wash over me.
  • PREPARE. To borrow from the Boy Scouts, being prepared is the key to many successes. Keeping with the conference example from above, I looked at research as my training and knowledge as my armor. Ahead of time, I collected details about several authors I wanted to meet (instant talking points), practiced my quick elevator speech (less fumbling over my words), and researched agents’ requirements and interests (fewer surprise questions). Being prepared made all the difference.
  • TRUST. There is an incredible community of Christian authors out there who truly want to see you succeed. No, really. Making friends is hard. Asking new friends for help is even harder. Huge hurdles for an introvert. But putting effort into trusting your fellow authors with whom you will connect will prove invaluable. I’ve been blessed with a trusted critique group of women who’ve helped make my writing better. An author who is represented by the same agent I hope to work with helped me edit a proposal. Trust those who’ve been there and learn from them.
  • JUMP. Dear friends. Sometimes we just have to jump. Jump high and long, out of our comfort zones and into the place of possibility. Isaiah 40:31 reassures us “but those that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they will mount up on wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” What a safety net! Refuse to let your assumed weaknesses overpower your strengths. You, fellow author, have a gift with words. God wants to use you. Jump and see where you land.
The word “introverted” in the title for this post could be replaced with just about any other adjective, and a writer who relates to that trait could offer similar advice. For today, from one introvert to another, I want to simply encourage you to take steps to achieve whatever level of success you wish that may be outside your natural zone of comfort. Will there be butterflies? Of course. Will you still find yourself exhausted from stretching your inward facing wings? You bet. But let’s remember this quote from pianist/composer Herbie Hancock:


The suggestions above are not meant to urge you to not be yourself. Don’t change who you are. Introverts have the unique opportunity to softly, subtly change the world. I love this quote from Rumi, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” Let the extroverts make the noise. That’s one of their gifts, and the world needs them. You, introverted author, are uniquely made to say much with less. We need your stories, your paper roads that lead us to new places we’ve not yet been. You’ve got this.

What part of the author journey tempts you to “freak out”? How do you manage these moments? Do you have an instance of jumping into the place of possibility?

dec-meTeresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Connect with Teresa at: 

Facebook – Teresa Tysinger, Author 
Twitter – @TMTysinger 
Pinterest - @TeresaTysinger 
Monthly Newsletter – Sign Up!  


Laurie Tomlinson said...

I think you're the most outgoing introvert I've ever met, Teresa <3 So happy to have you here!

Teresa Tysinger said...

Thanks, Laurie! I suppose that's why I can say I'm a "recovering introvert" :) But at the end of the day, I need so much quiet time to recharge.

Julia M. Reffner said...

I think there are so many outgoing introverts out there. Many of us feel forced into a mold of being more outgoing than we might be. Great post! I spent a whole lot of time praying when I went to ACFW, both alone and with other people.

Krista Phillips said...

I'm a mix as well. I definitely need my quiet time and moments alone. But also love being in group and feed off other people at times. I need a balance.

I, however, want to vomit at the thought of speaking in front of big groups. Like head-between-knees type thing.

Love your tips --- very applicable!!

Teresa Tysinger said...

Julia, I agree! And, nice to know I'm not alone praying my way through conferences. :)

Teresa Tysinger said...

Krista, it's sometimes hard feeling different things at different times, huh? If you're like me that leaves you feeling surprised sometimes at your own reactions. Thanks for reading!

Tessa Emily Hall said...

Such a great post, Teresa! I especially love this: "Introverts have the unique opportunity to softly, subtly change the world."

It's always bothered me that those who are extroverted are considered to have a "great personality", as if it is frowned upon to be an introvert. But what you said is spot on: Introverts and extroverts are both necessary. They each offer two different inputs and perspectives.

Thanks for this reminder!

Tessa Emily Hall

Teresa Tysinger said...

Tessa, thanks for reading! As they say, it takes all types. :) How boring if we were all the same.

Laura C. Brandenburg said...

Great post, Teresa! I did a lot of praying at the ACFW Conf, too, because let me tell you, this introvert can get seriously anxious over the social interaction!!

P.S. I agree with Laurie (even though I didn't actually meet you at the ACFW Conf. *Sad face*)--your online persona seems so bubbly and encouraging, I thought you would be a social butterfly! :)

Teresa Tysinger said...

Laura, nice to know we're not alone! And, I thrive online and in words/print. Or at least I feel I do. Once I get to know those I'm around, I do blossom. Funny how that works.

Pepper Basham said...

I love our community of authors, don't you? What a fantastic group of people from which to garner encouragement and support!!

I love your thoughts here. I'm a borderline introvert/extrovert, but I can play the extrovert card pretty well. Your points are very good. Prayer and prepared? Definitely helpful in not getting freaked out (about anything, including writing. LOL)
Whew...but that Trust and Jump part. SCCCARRRYYYY, isn't it? Still! It's such a comfort to know that wherever and whenever we jump, God's everlasting arms are right there to catch, comfort, and care for us!
Fantastic reminders!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Hands up all introverts! I'm one too. There are an awful lot of introverted writers - I guess it goes with the profession. Great post, Teresa!

Casey said...

Hello Teresa! This post is so spot on and a great reminder for someone like me, who would much rather retreat than be at the center of attention. So glad to have you visiting the Alley today!

Mary Vee said...

Hey, Teresa, so nice to meet you!!
What causes me to freak out is the 3/4 part of the story. I have the whole thing mapped out. The ending is crystal clear. But there is a cavern between 3/4 and the climax. As a matter of fact I had this moment this last weekend. And of all people to help find the bridge over the cavern...my hubby. He had the medical knowledge to give the ....well, I won't say...but it was the perfect answer. So why did't I ask him sooner? sheesh....Climbing back in my corner.

Teresa Tysinger said...

Pepper, thank you so much for your sweet comments! Yes, I love it here at The Writer's Alley. And, I have the hardest time with those last two, as well. :)

Teresa Tysinger said...

Thanks so much, Karen!!

Teresa Tysinger said...

Casey, thanks. I've had a great time "guesting" :)

Teresa Tysinger said...

Mary, thanks so very much. It's hard to step out. Glad you did :)