I pulled the fifth writer’s manual from the shelf and heaved my burden into my arms, hefted my purse over my shoulder, and quietly faded from the reference section of my favorite bookstore. A woman pardoned herself and took my place among the treasured craft shelf.
My work in process demanded I visit the travel section next. I’m a deep Texan gal, and sadly haven’t been North, East or West. I rifled through the stacks until I found Oregon, the newest home of my kick-ass heroine. She needed some place cool and a bit damp to chill her fury. As I snatched the precious book from the shelf, the woman from the reference section slid onto the isle next to me. Coincidence? I think not.
The hairs on my neck stood on end. I felt eyes on me. Without looking up, I twisted to retreat down the line of USA maps to a safe get-a-way. You see, I’m horribly bad at meeting people. No, you don’t understand, I’m like hang-my-head-and-mumble-greeting shy. I hate making eye contact for the first time and I’m often confused with being rude.
The woman spoke up before I could escape. “Hello, are you a writer?”
Those simple words, spoken in honest intrigue, made me cringe. No, I wasn’t a writer. I was an office manager who needed an escape from the busy burden of her day. I swiveled around, darted a quick glance over my shoulder, and replied.
“Uhmmm, I dabble, no not really, maybe.” I nervously laughed and hoped that she would let it go so I could slink away.
We exchanged business cards and email addresses and I hoped I wouldn’t be prompted to talk about this endeavor–ever. I wasn’t ready to share my writing with anyone, especially not random strangers in the bookstore.
She emailed me a few times. I worked on my writing in the spare time—which with a hubby, kids, and job, isn’t much. After a few polite, “Yeah, we’ll meet for coffee.” I finally caved and agreed to a meeting. I made myself almost sick worrying over this random coffee break with a woman who seemed to be offering only friendship.
That brief coffee trip turned into a seven-hour laugh-a-thon. This woman, this stranger, this social butterfly was like a missing piece of me. Author, Autumn Shelly is my BFF, my sista, my trusty sidekick, my confidant, and my mentor. She took a shy little closet writer, introduced me to the big ole world of the RWA, held my hand at the national conference, and applauded the loudest when I received the email offering a contract for that first book that brought us together. I love this gal, and couldn’t imagine my life without her in it.Now, that I’m on my third contract and my first contracted series with Entangled Publishing, she’s still my biggest supporter. I heart her. She’s made of awesome sauce! And every other good phrase that we like to swish around in the writing world.
Do you have a pal that helps you with your shyness? Someone that forces you to face the world when all you would like to do is hide in the corner? Give them a shout out today! Then tell them about the blog and send them the link. Kind words filled with sincerity can lift someone’s heart and make their day shine. Share the love!
The Curse of the Phoenix series reminds me of my relationship with my bff. Three odd women with their own agendas coming together to support and encourage each other to overcome their tribulations.
This blog was previously posted at Shy Writers on 2/4/11 Rebecca Clark kindly gave permission for use.