Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Reluctant Blogger

Hello! I'm Ashley, a newbie with Champagne Books, and I'm very glad to be part of the Writers Vineyard and a wonderful group of writers. You haven't heard much from me yet, but you've seen me around. I'm the neighbor who smiles and waves before ducking into her car before you can start a conversation. I'm the coworker who starts chewing her nails and tearing cuticles until they bleed if your good-morning salutation lasts longer than two minutes. I was the kid in the schoolyard talking to imaginary friends instead of real ones. I'm the one who always has an excuse not to attend your party, and the one who never answers the phone, choosing instead to communicate with you via email.

It's not that I don't like you; quite the contrary! It's just that I'm, well, shy. I'm shy to the point of quirkiness; in a recent personality test my idiosyncratic score went off the chart. I'm shy and sensitive, two qualities I know I need to shed if I want to survive in the writing industry. This was made painfully apparent recently at the library. There was a young man in front of me in line at the automated checkout, his chin barely holding in place his precarious tower of fantasy novels. I remembered that in my purse were brand-new, shiny business cards touting my website and soon-to-be published fantasy novel, and realized this was a perfect opportunity for a little promotion. But when I opened my mouth, nothing came out, not even when he lingered at the counter to organize his books. I've been trying to toughen up, do some creative visualization. But then I see myself squirming at a book signing as soon as someone says, "Hey, what's your book about?" Uh . . . well, see, there's this planet . . .

It doesn't help when I see the comments on other writers' blogs that state things like, "I wish you would have a stroke or heart attack so I wouldn't have to read your [movie] reviews anymore." On a fellow fantasy writer's blog, one eloquent reader wrote, "I wish I had never read your shitty book." This age of instant communication, where readers flippantly tell you in so many words to drop dead, is no place for a shy and sensitive gal. Time to grow a thicker skin and rein in that heart I usually wear on my sleeve. I will tell you one perk of being shy, however. I love seeing the look on the faces of those who read my books, when they realize the sweet, quiet, innocent Ashley they thought they knew is just on the surface. Get to know me and I promise you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Ashley J. Barnard


Jude Johnson said...

Sweet, quiet, innocent Ashley:

Ooh, I can't wait to read Shadow Fox to find out just how devious you are behind the shyness! Some of my demure mystery writer friends are amazingly brutal killers on paper...

When it comes to reading nasty blog comments, I think it's best to remember the old adage, "Illegitimi non carborundum" - don't let the bastards grind you down.

Looking forward to reading your work!


Big Mike said...

I think many authors are introverts. Writing is an outlet that allows them to make contact in private to circumvent the fear of frontal contact. There is a big eight author that my wife once meant in a store she runs and my wife said she was really shy.

Now me on the other hand, I'm from the opposite end of the spectrum. Gab, gab, gab. I love to jaw.

Michael Davis (
Author of the year, 2008 & 2009)

Ciara Gold said...

Well said, Big Mike. I'm rather shy too. I do well with people I know, but don't stick me in a crowd and expect me to just fit in.

It does take a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that. I remember a talk or blog post from author, Colleen Thompson who said writing and being published is a lot like walking down your neighborhood street butt naked. You expose a lot of who you are when you write even when you don't mean to.

Ashley Barnard said...

Thanks for commenting, guys. Ciara, I agree wholeheartedly with your naked comparison! I think with practice I will get better. I can now say that I write fantasy without squirming...too much. ; )

Holly Hunt said...

I'm a mix between Mike and Ashley on this. I have to be invited before I'll join a conversation, but once I'm in it, I'm the annoying person who won't shut up.