Writing Time, Part 5. Three Ways to Show Your Poise, Like the Thriving Writer You Are: A Short Guide for the Occasional Introvert

MichaelwithclockdetailHow does keeping your poise help a writer with time management?

The more you see yourself and present yourself with confidence as a thriving writer, the greater the time and energy you will feel happy to give to your work.

I deeply admire those whose poise never wavers. Still, for many of us it’s a work in progress. Here are 3 ways to polish up your poise.

  1. Take every opportunity to introduce your aspiring writing friends as writers
    to others, with respect and without excess emphasis or irony. Do this for your musician friends, artist friends, and all other aspiring acquaintances.

They will probably handle it better than I did the first time a published writer friend gracefully introduced me as a writer, long ago. I laughed in an embarrassed manner and muttered, Yeah, I’m a writer… a failed writer, ha ha. Later I “improved” my response with Actually, I’m a teacher. Finally the Bleeding Obvious found its way into my interactions in social settings.

  1. To avoid the sudden rush of embarrassment, here’s one way to practice your poise: stand before the mirror and, once you master the mirror, a kind and patient friend. Say, I’m a writer. Prime your friend to respond to this, in one of two ways:

Great. What do you write?

You can answer with your genre. Mysteries. Add, Do you write?

Or your friend can surprise you with the dreaded,

Wow. Are you published? 

You can answer, Soon, thanks for asking, or, Yes, nice of you to ask. Add, Do you write?

If so, you can ask them about their work, and then go on to talk of other subjects that are not yourself and your writing. See #3.

3. The more you meet successful writers socially and professionally, the more you notice that they don’t talk much about their work in social settings. (Professional athletes are like that too, except they always seem to have funny sports disaster stories to tell you.) So, as a successful writer, it is well not to engorge the conversation with talk about your craft, but rather be interested in other people and ask them, for example, Have you  travelled anywhere lately?

But if you do make Errors of Embarassment or Mistimed Enthusiasm, or my personal behaviour-pit, Blathering On, don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s a waste of time when you are working on having a full-time writing career within your full-time life. That time could be better used in planning, drafting, editing, and marketing your book.

Rather, work on developing the poise of the successful professional. That is what you are, and are continually becoming.


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