Friday, March 11, 2011

In which I meet a critique group face to face

I am a shy person. I always have been. Some people have the first impression that I'm stuck up or something, but I am just painfully shy. I haven't always been this way though. Since I've stayed home with my kids and talk to them all day instead of people my age, I feel like I've lost all of my social skills. I know. Lame.
So when my critique partner asked me to join her critique group, I was SO nervous! I mean, I'd actually have to talk to people! Critique their work and talk to them about it while they glare daggers at me and tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.
Talk about nervousness.
Anyway, I ended up going last night, and I actually enjoyed myself! They were wonderful ladies and we critiqued, talked, and laughed until we cried! It was so nice being in the presence of other writers. Usually all my critiquing happens online. I was surprised how comfortable I was with them. I was still nervous, but not as bad as I thought I was going to be. It's amazing how much you can change by putting yourself out there and getting to know people.
I'm excited for my first Conference now. (MORE excited! If that is possible...)There are so many bloggy friends I would love to meet. Just a warning though, I give very awkward hugs and I'm super shy when you first meet me! I am working on that. I'm learning that I have to get out of my comfort zone. I'm a writer. I have to network, and I love making new friends. And if I ever get a book published I'll HAVE to talk to people. LOL

How are you guys with meeting new people? How did you do when you first met your crit partners? Are you as shy as me? Socially awkward like me? Spill it! :)


Cherie Reich said...

I'm with you on this one. I'm pretty shy, and it takes me several months of being in a group (sometimes years) to feel comfortable. I'm more a one-on-one person. In a group, I tend to keep quiet unless you ask me a direct question. But as writers, we have to put ourselves out there. I'm sure you'll have a great time at your conference. I went to one last year, and it was awesome.

Renee Collins said...

Fun!! I LOVE meeting my crit partners. We met online, and only associated online for the first several months, but we've met several times since. They are some of my best friends now.

Also, I'm not shy. Not really. I actually act a little giddy when I'm around those guys. I partially blame Kasie. She brings out my hyper side. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm a professional speaker - I lost my license to be shy years ago!
You'll be fine. Promise!

Lisa Aldin said...

Oh, I am the most painfully shy, socially awkward person EVER. Someone said to me just today, "I just never know what's going on in your head!"


You aren't alone!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Cherie: I know what you mean. I used to just sit there and wait for someone to talk to me. I'm getting braver though. Slowly... :)

Renee: Your crit group sounds SO awesome. I'm sort of jealous with how much fun you guys have! :)

Diane: I'm sure you are an amazing speaker, and I'd definitely come see you if you came around my neck of the woods! :D

Lisa: I'm glad I'm not alone! LOL

Kelly Bryson said...

I just met a crit partner in real life, too, and it was weird for about three minutes. Then it was like my brain connected the person in front of me with all of our hysterical emails, and everything was fine. I kind of preferred it to meeting people in person first. I'm less painfully shy than I used to be, but holy awkwardness, I can't do small talk to save my life.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I know what you mean about feeling like your social skills have died since you had kids. That's exactly how I feel. I didn't used to be shy, but I find that more and more, I sit back and wait for someone else to start things.

Brenda Susan said...

Yay for breaking through old fears! I am not as comfortable in person as I would like to be. You would think that at 56 I would be over nervousness around new people!
But I believe that you have shown us a key though. (Reading between the lines a bit! Ha!) Knowing that you may have something to offer others is so helpful!

Jeigh said...

When I was in college I was quite outgoing, but yeah, since I stay home with kids now, my social skills have taken a serious dive. I've only talked with my crit partners online and on the phone so far, but one buddy and I have plans to meet over the summer. I've already warned her that I'm very good at making regular moments awkward. But I think we'll get over it fast!

Suey said...

Yep, that's me too. It's a frustrating thing.

Katie Dodge said...

I'm glad we didn't scare you too bad! I'm so HAPPY you're in our group!!! And just so ya know, I feel ya on being awkward in social settings! Oh, what fun we will have at our late-night meetings! :D

Katie Dodge said...

So I totally just posted a comment and it's not showing up, so if it really is there, sorry for repeating myself! I have issues! But I wanted to say that we LOVE having you in our group! I feel ya on the social awkwardness, but I've always felt it-- not just since I've stayed home. LOL
I'm still thinking of you in tights, wings, a wand, and otherwise looking like a guy! Ha ha ho ho he he!!! Would you cut your hair in the name of your craft?! :D

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Kelly- Small talk is the worst!! I hate it when I get finished talking, have nothing else to say and we stand there just waiting for the other person to say something. Not fun!

Kayeleen- Me too. I'm the exact same way.

Brenda- Hopefully I'll get over my shyness in a few years. Crossing my fingers! :)

Jeigh- It's hard staying home with kids. I'm getting better at putting myself out there, but I still get SO nervous! I think it's easier knowing I'll be with other writers. They all have the same fears as me. :)

Hi Suey! :) If we ever meet we can be awkward together!

Oh my gosh Katie!! I'm seriously posting this topic on Monday! HA HA HA!!! I'd totally cut my hair. All for the dream of publication right? ;)

LisaAnn said...

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who gives awkward hugs! LOL!

I can't wait to meet you in person. This May is going to be awesome!

Annie McElfresh said...

I have a crit group I meet with face to face with and I love them! At first I wasn't sure if I would be good enough because there are some pubbed people in mine, but they have been there for now for almost two years. Through the periods where I wanted to quit. The times I was really close to landing an agent. They have helped me rework my grammar, my stories and general outlook on myself as a writer.

Hold on to that crit group. They can be invaluable!

Ruth Josse said...

Um yeah, I have perfected the art of awkward moments. I'm horrible at small talk. I'm in heaven when with someone who can talk my ear off. And I even do the awkward hug thing. At one of my best friend's wedding reception, I went to hug her and for some reason kissed her neck because my lips happened to be there. Talk about awkward! What I love about online communication is the time to think about what I'm going to say and the delete button.

Anonymous said...

I am always told that people are going to think I'm stuck up when I act shy and don't wave to people I know when I see them in public. If I know someone well enough though, I'm not shy. As for my crit partner (I can't say she's my crit partner, but she is a very, very close writer friend), I have yet to meet her in person! Although I do have rather strange dreams about the day we'll meet. . .I guess she'll have pink hair and really be seventy two.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Annie- I will! I'm excited to get to know them better! :)

R.S.J.- You kissed her neck!? That is hilarious!! :D I do love online communication. If I write something stupid I can edit it before it posts! :)

Madeline- I'm the same way. If I know someone, I'm not shy at all. :) Pink hair rocks!

Carol Riggs said...

Good for you! There are good points about a live critique group, but it's more difficult for me to formulate my thoughts and say them aloud. That's why I prefer online swaps. :) Plus, I don't have anyone close by to have live groups anymore, since I moved to southern Oregon instead of in the Portland area! I'd love to meet my CPs though, but one, for instance, lives in Australia. Foo!

Tracy said...

Yay for you, Chantele!

I'm not really a shy person. I mean, I am in extreme circumstances, but for the most part I can't help but talk to people and get a easy-going atmosphere rolling. My suggestion to the shyer types, look for the happy-go-lucky types and make nice with them...they'll do all the hard work for you and you'll be introduced to new people through them without having to do all the stuff that may still feel a little socially awkward to you, like starting conversations with complete strangers. :D