That Marketing Thing…

I’ll admit it. I’m no salesman. Plus, I’m an introvert and socially awkward. But I just did a thing. You know, that marketing thing. And it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be.

That’s a lie.

Making a video and posting it on Instagram was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I made a series of #writequick mini-vids using a Snapchat filter. Filters are an answer to prayer for introverted writers like me. I can’t say it myself, but this doe-eyed character with glittery antlers can. It’s amazing!

This is a short blog, but I had to share this revelation with my fellow shy violets. If the thought of appearing on camera makes you want to vomit, try making a video using a filter. It takes a lot of the pressure off.

My goal is to wean myself off the filter as I get more confident on camera. Let me know how it works for you.

A Single Blade of Grass: How to Grow Your Idea Into a Story

I did a writing exercise in my daily writing journal about a single blade of grass. I was supposed to pick one, examine it, and then describe its characteristics. A simple descriptive exercise.

But I was in a bad place yesterday morning…

So instead my journal entry went something like this: “At this moment, I feel like a tiny, insignificant piece of grass. I know each blade plays an important role, but grass never stands out as an individual. It never goes on to bigger and better things. A blade of grass looks and acts like everyone else. It’s not exceptional, not talented. It lives its entire existence underfoot and then dies, easily forgotten.” And so on and so forth.

Today is a new day!

I looked over my list of possible blog ideas and thought about how I could link my journal post to one of the topics, sow something verdant from the bleakness of yesterday. My eyes scanned the list and one idea stood out: How to Grow Your Idea Into a Story. Perfect! All of a sudden, I’m a character in a book. I’m at the point where all seems lost, yet hope is on the horizon. Books start off in one of two places: Character is at a high point and everything is about to come crashing down before finally achieving happily ever after, or character is at a low point and everything is about to get sorted out…eventually.

Character Growth = Story Growth

Characters hold the key to a great story. Readers need someone to root for and identify with. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not going to be someone who has it all figured out and whose problems are easily solved. Life is full of ups and downs. The best writers are the ones who are able to channel that into something amazing.

Who knows if I’ll ever find my happy ending. Real life isn’t always book perfect. But like my characters, I will except the challenge, go on the journey, make friends and enemies along the way, find my mentors and allies, and never stop until my quest is fulfilled.

Writers: How to Handle Criticism

As a writer, I understand the power of words. We wield our pens and evoke emotion through the written word, taking readers on a journey of the heart and mind. Our prose is capable of uplifting and crushing spirits over the course of the story. Our characters love and hate, experience kindness and cruelty, strive for success, and struggle through failure. And we have no trouble putting our little darlings through it. It is, after all, the essence of plot. Conflict, both internal and external.

Now let’s talk about internal conflict from a different perspective. Flip the script. Or, in this case, step in front of a mirror. I’m talking about self-directed criticism.

How many times a day do negative words cross your mind?

Everyone will hate this story. I’ll always be a failure. My writing sucks. And on and on. Consider the writing process, those powerful words that are capable of moving readers to tears or fits of laughter. Your thoughts have the same power over your life. Negative thinking attracts negative results.

“What consumes your mind, controls your life.”

So how do we go about changing our thoughts in order to change our lives?

I’ve come across websites, books, and videos listing many ways to combat negative thinking from affirmations to meditation to journaling. Do what works for you, but I urge you to also use your creative writing talent in your own life. Think of your life as the hero’s journey with high points and low points, all leading up to that happy ending. You, the author, structure it all with great care. Anytime you find yourself thinking negative thoughts (low points), say, “plot twist,” and then get to work creating a high point for yourself.

Negative thoughts are gonna happen, but learn to use them as a catalyst for your next big turning point.

Your reward? A happy ending, of course!

INFJ vs. Social Media

“I came. I saw. I made it awkward.”

A few years back, I took a personality test called Myers-Briggs and found out that I’m a rare personality type called an INFJ held by less that 1% of people who’ve taken the test. It stands for (I)ntroversion, I(N)tuitive, (F)eeling, (J)udgement. People with personality type enjoy quiet time alone, perceive patterns, prioritize people and feelings, and thrive on structure and order. That, you might already know.

What people may not know is that INFJs really like people but find socializing emotionally draining.

We get over overwhelmed by our emotions at times which can lead to anxiety.

We’re drawn to odd things, which can lead to alienation because we’re perceived as weird.

We put others before our own needs…at our own expense. We’re over-thinkers and highly sensitive. We’re the rarest personality type, so we pretty much always feel like outsiders.

In spite of all this, we desperately want to make a difference in the world….without actually going out into the world. It’s a battle we constantly fight, this desire to be social, followed by waves of sometimes crippling introversion. On the upswings, we venture out amongst society and mimic the social patterns of others because “people-ing” doesn’t come natural to us.

So what does this mean for writers with this personality type?

Well, in this new age of publishing, writers are expected to have a presence on all forms of social media: YouTube, Instagram, you name it. This goes against every fiber of an INFJ’s being. If we had a choice, we’d choose to be the hermit writer, working by candlelight in an attic in a secluded mountain cabin. We don’t mind the label of “mysterious.”

These days, publishing doesn’t want mystery. It wants celebrity.

I’m working on it. Trust me.

At this point, I’ve tried everything except video. That is next on my list. The question is: will this INFJ succeed?