I’m off to a party this week. Am I looking forward to it? Well em, no actually.
It’s not that I don’t want to go. It’s just that I’m not really very good at that sort of thing. And by that sort of thing I mean any social event that involves people. I hate to admit it but l am the stereotypical writer. I’m quite happy spending time in my own company, shut away from distractions where I can lose myself in a world of fictional characters.
Work is different. I can manage that. Sitting in an office, even though I’m wishing I could be home writing, is something I’ve done for years. I’m used to it. However, put me in a room full of people outside of the work environment, and I am out of my comfort zone and my depth.
What makes it harder is that so few people know about my writing, so that doesn’t leave me much to talk about. Mind you I struggle even with people that do know. It would be so easy to end up sounding like an obsessed writer who spends every spare minute with a pen in hand. It may well be completely true, but I don’t really want everyone to realise it.
Socialising with other writers however is different. They get it. They understand the need to get up at some ridiculously early hour even though it’s Saturday, just so you can sit in front of a computer screen. They understand the necessity for complete and utter uninterrupted silence when you’re in the middle of a critical plot line. They sympathise with the constant edits and re-writes as you attempt to find perfection in something that will always be subjective. No matter what problem you’re facing, or how unique you think you are with your compulsion, chances are another writer has already been through it. Everyone else though looks at me as though I am completely insane if I try to explain it.
There’s also the issue that socialising involves conversation. Whilst one of the least favourite tasks of a writer is the editing process, we can’t dispute that it is beneficial. Unfortunately whilst I can review and edit what goes onto the page before it is viewed by anyone else I haven’t mastered this skill when it comes to speaking. I might be able to form carefully structured sentences as I write, but I lack that ability when I speak and it comes out as random babbling. The trouble is that as much as l and everyone else wishes I would just shut up. The more nervous I get the more impossible this seems to be. Unfortunately real life doesn’t come with an undo button, and that stupid thing I just said is out there for good, etched in everyone memory for eternity. At least that’s how it feels.
So needless to say I’m a little bit anxious about this party. I was having one of those, ‘I should get out more and mingle with real people’ moments when I accepted the invitation. I have them occasionally. They tend not to last long though. Usually only long enough for me to accept and then immediately kick myself for having done so. This time is no different. My good intentions have most definitely abandoned me and I am frantically searching for excuses why I can’t possibly go.
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