I was just reading a Huffington Lifestyle Post “23 Signs You Are secretly an Introvert.”
As I ticked off 20 of 23, It thought about the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) convention in L.A. I attended more than a month ago.
I took 250 business cards because I was told it’s a great place to network. I returned home with 250 business cards.
I was told it’s a great place to make new friends. Although I stepped out of my comfort zone and chatted with and introduced myself to at least a dozen people I made – 0 – new friends.
I often stood around in the middle of a crowd with hundreds of people around me chatting, laughing, sharing thoughts… but I only had two thoughts: won’t someone please ask me who I am (I thought for sure my eye-patch would be enough – after all, out of the 400+ men there, I believe I was the only one wearing an eye-patch). My second thought: what am I doing here?
Aside from the various speeches and lectures, my favorite moment was when I found an empty room and sat there all by myself for an hour.
Something I find terrifying at almost any gathering where I don’t know anyone is when the moderator/teacher/leader says, ‘let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.” There were numerous times I was always afraid that would happen. Fortunately it didn’t.
A few asides here: I have three brothers. One of them told me his wife says one of my brothers is the crazy one, another is the smart one, and that I’m the intense one. When I go to family gatherings I’m the center of attention for a few minutes. I make the rounds saying hi to everyone, then I find a nice comfortable place to sit and stay out of the way.
If the parking lot at the mall, at the department store, or at the grocery store looks full. I turn around and go home. If the store is crowded, I leave. If someone else stops to look at something I’m looking at I move on (sometimes I return later).
I belonged to Toastmasters. I was a radio announcer for 20 years. I often had to give speeches. I became fairly good at it. I love to entertain. I love standing in front of a group of people and giving a talk. I really do. Even though there may be hundreds of people looking at me (once there were about 3,000), I’m sort of anonymous – as long as I can bask in the applause, then get off the stage, go away from the podium and not have to mingle. It’s the time afterward, the chatting, that I find uncomfortable.
I’m a writer.