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Am I an Introverted Writer or Extroverted Writer?

Am I an Introverted Writer or Extroverted Writer?

As a writer, I thought that I’m set. I don’t have to interact with people in person. I can just write my manuscript. I interact with people online and have that safety net of my anonymity. I tend to be quiet when I’m with groups of people and just listen in on the conversation. Online,either in forums, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, or all other social media outlets, I feel free to connect and chat with total strangers, provided that I’m using my pen name. So, I found it unnerving that as an aspiring author, I needed to network. Networking online is easy, as previously stated, but I needed to meet people in person.

For NaNoWriMo, I joined the Toronto community and they were holding a half way party to celebrating reaching the half way point milestone. I missed the kick off party because I joined NaNoWriMo a couple of days late. I just discovered it and since I was only four days into November, I decided to join, in an attempt to test the waters to see if I would like the challenge for next year. I found that I love NaNoWriMo and fully intend to sign up for 2015.

When I went to the half way party, I didn’t realize that everyone knew each other because they’ve been a part of NaNoWriMo for several years or they have been to the various events that happened before I even knew there were events for the Toronto community. Suffice to say, I was terrified. I put on a polite and friendly face when I turned around after checking in with the event coordinators and had to figure out how was I going to meet strangers.

In my everyday life, my hubby is the social butterfly. He knows how to converse with total strangers about a variety of topics from current events to art and history and other things cultural. I, on the other hand, have a hard time conversing on topics of current events and anything cultural. I can converse about most things scientific, but those topics are rarely talked about. I also have a hard time hearing people, especially if they mumble or talk quietly. I tend to rely on reading their lips, it’s a quirk I have that’s always been with me.

So going into the half way party, I was nervous. I sat down with one person and thankfully he was nice and friendly, helpful for a first time wrimo (what NaNoWriMo participants call themselves). Then more people showed up and the conversations were about things I had no clue about. I would try to add an opinion here and there, but I did my usual thing and listened.

The funny thing is, you would think that I would be shy about any kind of crowd. But one of my favourite hobbies, karaoke, brings out the extrovert in me. The bigger the crowd the better. For some reason, my brain has translated it to anonymity. Since there are so many people in the bar, I don’t stand out as much and I’m just another nameless face that has gone up to sing. Singing on stage seems to contradict not standing out, but as one of the people in the crowd when I’m not singing, I don’t really notice the singer on stage. I’m not trying to be mean about it, I do know that they are singing up there—I don’t ignore their performance. Usually, my group of friends are the only ones applauding, but I don’t criticize if they make a mistake, if they sing off-key, or if they look like fools. I just enjoy sitting with my friends, munching on pub food, and listening to music—even the country songs (I wouldn’t choose to listen to it on iTunes but I don’t boo people for choosing the songs). I’ll even try songs that I’ve never sung before. And if I sound horrible, I chalk it up to “at least I tried but I will remember to not sing that again”.

So, I really don’t know what I would be classified as. Am I an introvert? Extrovert? Extroverted Introvert? Shy? Maybe it’s my Gemini personality that just allows me to be a little bit of everything.

 

stock images from istockphoto.com

Can I Unsubscribe to Phone Calls and Doorbells?

Can I Unsubscribe to Phone Calls and Doorbells?

It seems very easy to dismiss advertising emails and spam—I separated the two because advertising emails can be useful, particularly those received from vendors that you do business with or would like to do business with, whereas spam is general emails sent from businesses that purchased your contact information. With a quick preview, the importance of the email can be read in its entirety or deleted on the spot. Sometimes, these emails don’t even make it into your inbox if they spam filters are set in your email. And luckily, if emails from a certain vendor don’t apply to you or you’re not interested in them anymore, you can just hit unsubscribe. If only this can apply to phone calls and doorbells. Emails aren’t invasive. They passively land in your inbox and can be ignored easily. Phone calls and doorbells cannot be ignored. They are especially distracting when you’re trying to write your manuscript and get into a flow with your story.

Why don’t I just ignore the phone calls? Unfortunately, this is an era where people are attached to their phones 24/7. Most of the time, it’s used for the apps—let’s face it, mainly for the games and social media—but it’s hard to ignore a phone ringing. It’s insistent. It makes a noise. It distracts your train of thought. It also doesn’t help if you’re waiting for that very important phone call from a potential employer.

In Canada, we have the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), where you can add your phone number and the telemarketers should know not to call you. However, this doesn’t apply to registered charities, political parties or candidates, surveys, newspapers calling for subscribers, or businesses that you are using.

It’s too bad that I can’t make my phone number exclusive to family, friends, school, and emergency contacts.What also irritates me is the inconvenient times that they decide to call: dinner time, nap time, night-time, and I’m-writing-my-book time.

But phone calls aren’t as bad as someone at the door, ringing the doorbell, during baby’s nap time, when you have a dog. I don’t want to give an invitation to a random technician to check my water heater nor do I want to change my utility billing to some unknown company because I’m eligible for a special rate according to my contract. Unfortunately, many people have been duped by these sales thinking that the company they actually do business with sent the technician. Luckily, the Government of Canada has made commercials about this scam—check photo ID and for a copy of your contract.

So, I put up a sign that stated, “No soliciting.” Just when I thought that my writing time would be undisturbed (I write during the baby’s nap time), the doorbell rings from a religious group. When I pointed to the sign on my door, they merely stated that they were not selling anything—or at least that’s what I think I heard during the banshee screams from a baby that woke up to a loud barking from a doorbell-hating dog. So, I changed the sign to “No soliciting, no canvassing, nor evangelizing.”

Are phone calls and door-to-door sales effective in this day and age? Most of the time, people check online reviews if they want to switch or change something. If they don’t have access to the online world, they ask someone in their family or circle of friends that does. Maybe there are the small few in a major city like Toronto that have to rely on phone calls and door-to-door sales. Businesses need to learn that online reviews and social media are the ways to gain business.

With the digital age and access to online information, getting business through the phone or door-to-door is not as effective as it was in the past. The number of people not connected is decreasing, and many times they rely on the connected generation to provide the best course of action for purchases.

Stock image from @iStockPhoto.com

What Do I Do With My Time?


I never thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom. However, I had no choice. While I was on maternity leave, the company that I was working for went bankrupt. I decided to look on the bright side. I’m not pressured to go to work as soon as my maternity leave ends. I get to spend time with my second son and enjoy watching his toddlerhood. Since we only plan on having the two kids, I saw my unemployment as a blessing in disguise. In Canada, maternity leave is one year. I could have looked for a job once my maternity leave finished, however, the cost of daycare for toddlers under the age of 18 months is astronomical. The cost doesn’t get better after 18 months, but to start at entry level at a new company is financially straining.

So, the question I asked myself was, “What should I do with my time outside of caring for my son?” I am applying to various companies, but the job market is slow. I decided to pursue my aspirations as a writer. Reading a plethora of romance novels inspired my dream to be a writer. To do this, I realized that I needed develop skills that were outside those I learned academically. I majored in Biology and Zoology, which is far from related to writing romance—unless the novel involves a science geek, which has its possibilities. I signed up for a variety of online courses, Networking 101 through the Romance Writers Association (RWA), Self-Editing, Editing Camp through Scribendi, Microsoft Office 2010 through ITU Online, and Story Writing for Children through Write Story Books for Children. It may look odd to take a story book writing for children course for romance writing, but the basic concepts are there for writing books. The course for Microsoft Office helped improve my knowledge of software that can be useful for writing and planning my novel.

I was surprised with two particular courses. The networking course showed me the great potential social media has for marketing your book. Being introverted, I hate the concept of selling. The networking course revealed that subtly can work. Just get your brand known and recognized. The other course that surprised me was editing camp. I am still working through it but I have learned a number of new things.

The main obstacle for me is time management. So far, I go through the courses, network, and write my novel after everyone goes to bed. But, this doesn’t leave me with much sleep. There are also distractions like TV and housework that do not help. I did find a little something helpful, late night cafés that have internet access. So, on evenings like today, I head to the nearest late night café and write this blog. Right after I post this, I will work on my novel. So, until my next post . . .

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