Over the past week, I thought about my month long procrastination in crafting my query letter and synopsis for submission to an agent. Writing, editing, and re-writing the same letter. Sitting on it for a bit. Starting over and going through the whole process all over again until I came up with something that I was willing to submit. It was very much a product of one of the contradictions that comes with writing. Well, as far as my process goes, anyway. It’s a very private and personal process, until it’s time to put it out there. You spend a great deal of time alone for months. You live in your own head, working on a story, creating a world. You keep it to yourself, trying to limit the outside influences, allowing the story and the characters to develop on their own. Then comes the day when it’s time to release it into the world, exposing all of your personal thoughts, feelings, and neuroses into the view and criticism of other people. And who’s to say that anyone else is even going to be remotely interested? It’s intimidating. Especially for me.
I’ve never been one to open up easily. Sure, I can make friends fairly quickly, and I have always been a good listener and fairly observant. When it comes to my own thoughts, opinions, and feelings? Well, let’s just say that most generally remain inside of my own head, or are shared with a select few. Honestly, this has had an impact on many aspects of my life. At work, I was often categorized as “reserved”, or “quiet”. In my personal life? It’s hard to ask someone out when the entire conversation with someone shooting you down is all in your own head. I realize that if I’m working towards becoming a published writer, putting myself out there and feeling vulnerable is something that I’ll have to get more comfortable with.
In my previous corporate life, I found that I had great difficulty speaking in front of crowds, and would also struggle on group interviews. I mean, aside from spiders (which any sane person avoids), public speaking is one of the most terrifying things in life for many people. In order to help myself with this, I started participating more in karaoke, and singing a wider variety of songs that I wasn’t comfortable singing. I figured that if I could have a few drinks and sing in front of friends and strangers, then getting in front of a crowd to discuss a topic on which I was knowledgeable wouldn’t seem as intimidating. Guess what? It helped. I’m still not an amazing public speaker, but I can get through it. And I did remember how much I enjoy singing through the process. I’m still terrified every time I get in front of people to speak or sing, but I know it’s something that I can do, so I push through.
With that same thought process in mind, in order to get past my fear of putting myself out there in the world, I’m tinkering with an idea to really put myself out there in this blog which will make me incredibly uncomfortable in the process. I mean, the blog is the first step, because it’s something that is written, posted, and free for anyone to see. I was thinking along the lines of the karaoke method, where I’m more exposed on that personal “makes you squirm” kind of level.
As a result of being miserable in my job (and life overall for that matter), I became sedentary, went out a lot, ate a lot of comfort food, and found myself closing in on 300 lbs. I made an effort, exercised, ate better, and got down to 215 lbs. That was 3 years ago. Well, the cycle repeated over the past couple of years as my time at Whole Foods was winding down, and as I type this, I am closing in on 300 lbs. again.
So, here’s my thought. In addition to blogging about writing, I’m thinking about blogging a real time improved health effort. I mean, what’s more personal and terrifying than putting a “before” picture out there to the world at the beginning of the process, before you have the “after”? Especially when it’s something that has been of some personal concern for years now? I had blood drawn this past Tuesday, and I go for my first physical in a few years next Tuesday. I’m thinking to share the results, my starting point, and where it goes from there. It’s the best that I can come up with to face my fear of opening up. As with any work that I might publish, I’m sure people will have their opinions, criticisms, and negative comments. But, if I’m planning to make it in a harsh, blunt world where those things are common, why not prepare myself now?
Writing and daily life will always be front and foremost here. I won’t be offended if you want to skip the second half, as I try to get myself comfortable with opening up. I guess when I realize that I need to work on something, I like to face it head on. Except for spiders. Screw them.