If you look up (or Google) the word introvert, the definition reads “a shy, reticent person.” If you look for more of an explanation, there are charts contrasting introversion and extroversion. While an extroverted person is talkative, and an introverted person is quiet; an extroverted person is sociable, and an introverted person is reserved…in other words, an introverted person does not like the spotlight – the spotlight drains them.
Although there are times when I will speak up, there are times that I want to be quiet and in the background. In fact, as I get older, I want to blend in more and more. I can remember in my senior year in high school, I was a keynote speaker at a youth conference in Phoenix; I was in a teen pageant; I was a leader in a club; and, I was one of the graduation speakers! I was very outgoing as a young sports reporter for the local paper, and when I moved to California to become a newspaper reporter, I was always in the thick of things. Returning to Tucson, I still had the energy to create a black newspaper, go to events, speak to different groups, be interviewed on television until I became a teacher.
Now, I’m a teacher. I adopted the adage, “I’m a guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.” In fact, when I am teaching, I have a podium on the side of the room, while I project interactive questions on the screen. I am the type of teacher who enjoys discussion with my students more than me feeding them the information.
So, what does this have to do with extraversion and introversion?
In one week, there will be a huge book festival in Tucson called the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona. I may have written about this last year because last year was my first year as a participant at the festival. My friend, Dusty Humphrey, was very encouraging and asked me to share a booth with him. I did it. It was excruciating because I was not used to promoting myself – my books. My writing had been very private, and I’ve always dreamed of being published and having people read my work – but when it became a reality, I was so afraid of failure! Well, it’s happening again. In one week, it will be my second experience at the festival with a new book. Last year, I had three books of poetry, this year I will have one book – a collection of poetry, short stories, and a memoir.
And…I am cringing.
This year, it will be Dusty, another colleague from school who wrote a historical fiction book, and me. We will share a booth with a former colleague who developed her own editing company. I don’t know how they are feeling, but my stomach is churning, and I am nervous, again, because I have a fear of failure. Next weekend is all about the spotlight! I have to be on when people come to the booth and ask about my book. I have to let them know what the book is about and hope that it piques their interest enough to buy it.
That’s a lot of stimulation!
Being a self-published author has its ups and downs – the positives are to write your books, publish them on demand, and get your name out there. But, the negatives are the cost and editing. Editing! I comb through my writing, and I have to admit that some mistakes remain in my books. Ugh…it kills me! I am very critical of my work (as most artists are), but it is sometimes hard to catch every mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t even admit this…
But, when did I notice that I’ve become more and more introverted? I’m not sure. I know that being a part of this excellent opportunity is exciting yet frightening.