On putting yourself out there.
I’m not a fan of the spotlight.
That was actually one of the main appeals of becoming a writer. I could hide in the wings, writing dialogue for the actors to perform onstage, waiting for someone to call out, “Line?!” before I crawled back to the greenroom and the comfort of craft services.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
But now I find myself having to put myself out there, dipping a toe into the limelight that puddles the great stage of social media. I feel naked. Exposed. I don’t think there’s enough SPF to prevent the burn of embarrassment I can already feel reddening my cheeks and neck.
For me, talking about myself is about as much fun as watching Canadian parliament on CSPAN with my dad.
But such is the lot of an aspiring author. These days, agents and publishers want their authors to have a social media presence to stay connected with readers and to keep the promotional machine running strong. I get it. It’s part of the gig. And the marketing-me knows that it's smart. It just feels…I dunno...weird.
The silver lining is that for the first time in a long time, I’m the boss of what I write. I don’t have to worry about creative briefs or Venn diagrams or consumer psychographics. It’s strange not having someone telling me what to do, but also incredibly liberating.
If I want to write about the comedic genius of Chevy Chase, no one can stop me. Ditto for dissertations on which Led Zeppelin song is the best (answer: all of them) or why tapered jeans with zippered ankles should totally come back. (And they should.) Outside of Protocol, it’s been a long, looooooooong time since I’ve written for me. And I’ve gotta say, it feels pretty damn good.
Toni Morrison said to write the book you want to read. And I did. Now that I’ve given myself permission to write the blog I want to write, I’m rediscovering something I stopped paying attention to a long time ago: what I think.
What’s the upshot of something difficult you’ve been asked to do? Did it make you grow? Learn something about yourself? For me, an exercise in humiliation has become an assignment in self-discovery. I just need to adjust to the idea of being “out there.” And remember which side is stage-left.