Only my closest friends know that I have a ton of social anxiety. I don’t present that way. I present super extroverted actually.
One Rotarian told me last week, “Carrie. If I had one word for you, it would be engaging.”
That’s a pretty interesting word for someone who has massive social anxiety, right?
Almost every time I enter a room, I stand outside the door, stare at it, and whisper to myself that it will be okay.
Another kind person said, “When you entered the room, everyone got so excited. It was like a celebrity was there.”
I laughed and told her she was a liar, but it was such a kind thing for her to say, and it really meant a lot to me because of my fear.
My social anxiety tells me that I’m invisible.
Or my anxiety tells me that nobody wants me there.
Or my anxiety tells me, “Run! Run! Be afraid. You don’t belong. They will know you don’t belong. You will say ‘pubic’ instead of ‘public.’ Get out now!”
Gandhi was afraid of public speaking, another Rotarian friend from India told me, but he overcame that and started social change that lasted. By overcoming his fear, he changed the world.
The way my anxiety works is that it happens ahead of an event. It’s like stage fright. It happens about the simplest things. It can be about going over someone’s house even when that someone is my bestie. It’s like stage fright about having someone over my house, too.
My anxiety stops when I arrive at a conference to speak or get to my friend’s house or a party.
Because even though I do panic, I always make it inside the room or the house or up on the stage. That’s because I am so hard on myself that I know I’d never forgive myself for letting other people down or letting myself down because I’ve missed out.
All my mom’s responsibility lessons worked.
What does this have to do with writing?
Writing is about showing up. Writing is about communicating. Writing is about submitting your work.
But more than that, writing is about showing up, communicating, and submitting your work even though you are afraid and even though people will criticize it.
So how do you get over that?
You have to remember that fear isn’t the same as danger and that anxiety isn’t the same as danger either.
I’m not going to run into a flesh-eating manatee zombie at my friends house. If I fail as a speaker? Nobody will die or go to jail. If someone rejects my book or gives it a one-star review? It will suck, but I’m not going to die from it.
Anxiety and fear of rejection and criticism have something huge in common: They both deceive us into thinking that something dangerous is happening.
But when you overcome that fear?
Your book gets published.
You have a good time at your friend’s house.
You get to be engaging and speak and inspire other people.
Sometimes you even get fan mail. How cool is that? Super cool.
IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!
My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.
PATREON OF AWESOME
You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps).
WHAT IS PATREON?
A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.