Are You an Innie or an Outie??

Yeah, you don’t have to lift up your shirt to check. I’m talking about your personality.

There are introverts…those of us…like me…that live happily in the background, content to watch the more gregarious people shine in their spotlights, where we live in constant terror that the spotlight will find us.

And then there are those people. The ones I’m always so envious of…LOL. The ones who aren’t afraid to sit in the front, stand up and speak, the ones who can work a room the second they enter it.

I’ve always wanted to be an extrovert.

I’m someone who most definitely does NOT sit at the front. At meetings at work, am I going to be up front scoring points as the boss sees me there all bright and shiny? Um…no. I’m at the back, blending with the pot plants and the coffee pot, feeling quite content knowing my signature on the roster sheet proves I was there.

You know those event things you go to where the speaker says “Let’s go around the room and introduce yourselves.” ?? That is the worst kind of torture. Seriously, just hang me off a cliff somewhere, because if I’m in a group of thirty people and I’m not one of the first three or four, I’m going to be a useless puddle of goo by the time you get to thirty. The anxiety of what to say/oh my god I have to stand up is going to disintegrate my insides.

And giving a talk or a speech?? Let’s just say I breathe in, but nothing goes back out. And my voice gets progressively higher and faster till I sound like a munchkin on crack.

People ask me how I’m going to handle attention to myself as a published author, going to signings, being in the spotlight. I think most authors are somewhat introverts, by the sheer nature of what we do. We live with invisible people in our heads all the time, alone with our stories.

And I’m finding that at places such as conferences, if the spotlight is on me for something, I’m okay with it. Maybe because it is strangers, I’m not sure. What I’m struggling with right now as my release date looms in the future, is the one-on-one. Telling people randomly about it. My best friend keeps pimping me, and I feel the hot rush of heat to my head as I nod and smile and say “yes, I have a book coming out next year” and all the while I’m wishing to be in a room where there are pot plants and a coffee pot for me to blend with. LOL!

So what about you? Where do you fall in that category?


About Sharla Lovelace

Writer of romantic women's fiction. Wife, mom, and wonderwoman...without the boobs. National Bestselling Author of THE REASON IS YOU, BEFORE AND EVER SINCE, and the e-novella JUST ONE DAY. Lover of anything red.

Posted on August 3, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Sharla, don’t worry about those book signings. We’ll be the first in line to get an autographed copy!

    I’m more an extrovert when it comes to large groups. I don’t mind speaking in public when its of a professional nature. But, I am terrible in social situations. When I go to a party, I have an awful time mingling and striking up a conversation with those I don’t know. I’m not sure why, but I’m working on it. 🙂

  2. Sharla, I’ll be hanging out with you at the back of the room, mingling with the potted plants, knees shaking while I wait for the inevitable introductory speech. 🙂 Oh, and I’ll be talking all about you and your book … but just don’t mention mine or I’ll be attempting to climb into the pot with the plant.

  3. I always thought I was an introvert but no one believes me when I say that. I have no problem speaking up when I need to or giving presentations, etc. But given half a chance I’d rather stay home at night and veg out. So is it possible to be both an innie & an outtie? I guess so!

  4. Great analysis of most writers, Sharla. I’ll sit in the front for professional events, but just don’t ask me to speak unless I’m knowledgable about the subject matter. Social situations depend on my mood, so I guess I’m a little like merryfarmer–both an innie & and outie.

  5. alicegilmartin

    This is Alice Gilmartin. Just joined the blog and can post, Member of CFRWA. I’m an extrovert and love it. Can be rowdy sometimes too. Just remember “well behaved women rarely make history”!

  6. Wish I had your gusto, Alice! Welcome to the blog, we’re glad you are here!

  7. I’m both. Nerves squiggle up my spine before it’s my turn to speak publicly, but in a crowded room full of people? Not so much. I’m a gabber. 🙂

    • In a crowded room of people, if I can find a group that I know, I make a beeline and I can be a gabber too. In a room of strangers, I find “another one like me”. That person looking around trying to fit in but internally wishing to bolt. I find that person and go hang with them, because then there is safety in numbers and we can hit up the others together. 🙂

  8. I have to say that I’d be the first to chat up people about one of your books but not my own. For some reason that’s embarrassing to me. I don’t like people watching me, but I love to be in a group of people I know, laughing and joking and being sarcastic – LOVE sarcasm. I always sit in the front but do NOT want to be called on to give my opinion – I freeze!

  9. Patti, me too on the sarcasm! If I’m with my friends, I love to make people laugh, and I’m all about the snark. It’s all up in my writing too. But with strangers…well…actually I notice that with “writer” strangers I can relax. With “real life” strangers like at work or anywhere else, I like to kind of be invisible. That’s really weird, isn’t it? LOL!

    I was told once that I was funny in a presentation I had to give at a retreat. It was about anxiety, ironically enough. I can’t even remember what I said to know what they meant, because I was so nervous I think I blacked out and went on autopilot. Maybe I have a funny alter ego? 🙂

  10. I can’t explain how it happens but I am both. It might be that my “signs” are conflicted … Virgo being the introvert and the thoughtful one and Libra being the chatter-box, talk to total strangers.

    Because of that I have a hard convincing people that I feel timid, almost frightened in some social circles. So why then do I go head-long into the fire without thinking? Its my yin and yang at odds. I love both introvert and outgoing people because you get such great stuff from each of them.

  11. On personality tests, I am about as extroverted as a person can be. I always wanted to be a singer and go on tour because being on stage, riling up the fans, is like crack to me. The spotlight is, truthfully, my favorite place to be.

    Strangely, though, I have my first book signing coming up and I’ve been tearing my hair out, trying to think of what to say. Go figure! I usually get a smidgeon of stage fright right before going on stage (theater background- I know, you’re shocked), but it wears off about 2 minutes in. I’m sure the same will happen at the signing.

  12. Congratulations on your signing, Cyndi! After what you wrote, I’m not worried about your signing. You’ll knock them dead!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your good news!

  13. Aw, thanks! *virtual hug* (See, I told you I was an extrovert!)

  14. I’ve been helping my mom paint outside trim today, so am just catching up with you all.

    Hi Merryfarmer … raising hand to join you for a nice quiet night at home. 🙂

    Welcome, Alice. I love your “well behaved women rarely make history” quote. I suspect there’s a few of us Women Unplugged would like to be remembered for misbehaving, even those of us who are introverts.

    Ramblingfromtheleft, I’m also a Virgo. How did you figure out you have Libra in your sign?

    Cyndi, congratulations on the upcoming signing. Where and when? And you’ll do well … probably have the crowd roaring in minutes. Thank goodness for you extroverts!

  15. Sheila,

    Thanks! *waves* The signing is 8/17 at 7pm at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, WA (north Seattle). It should be fun after that first two minutes. *grin*


  16. Hi Sheila, I was born on the cusp of the two signs on the vernal equinox in Septenber in the year of the Monkey in the Chinese Lunar calendar.

    Between the outgoing monkey, the reluctant Virgo and the chatty-Libra … I am doomed to be as nutty as a fruit cake. Perfect ingredients for a writer 🙂

  17. Lorrie Thomson

    I’m totally surprised you consider yourself an introvert, Sharla. From your on-line/on-loop presence, I’d imaged you bursting into a real–not virtual room–with a, Here I am! For me, I’m not sure what I am. An innie-outie? (Those belly buttons are cute!) I’ll talk to strangers, but I can feel shy, too. And, like so many writers, I can talk up another person’s book way easier than mine. Gotta work on that!

    • Lorrie,
      I know, and that’s what is so funny about this online world. I probably am somewhat extroverted online. I have no inhibitions there and I can have fun and speak my mind and my writing is the same way. It’s much easier behind a computer screen to put yourself out there I guess…much easier than in real life! LOL.

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