Thursday, June 9, 2016

An Introvert's Guide to Blogging

Throughout my life, I was often labeled as the "shy" girl. Some would push me to be more outgoing like being quiet is a personality defect. The more I hear about this, the more I'm inclined to spend time alone and lead a less socialized life. Eventually, I learned to nurture what I am – an introvert.

Being an introvert isn't always easy, especially in a society where extroverts are more appreciated. Introverts exude calmness and can be very deliberate in choices. We embrace solitude, that's when we tend to be more creative and focus on depth. I may stand there in silence as if judging somebody's life choices – but truthfully, social environments can be exhausting. Please don't tell me to smile or speak up more. I don't find value in idle conversation. I even have an exit plan during chit-chats (I know, just being honest). My light bulb is flickering and could blow up any minute if I stay too long being around strangers. That made me sound like a people-hater but believe me, I am not. All I need is solitary sanctuary to be balanced and whole.

Leaders don't need to be loud to be influential. We just need to learn how to use our introvert traits to our advantage in life.

I'd like to reiterate that shyness and introversion are not the same. Shyness is being nervous in a crowd or having a fear of public speaking. We can all feel shy from time to time, uncomfortable in new situations and afraid of being negatively judged by others. Introverts lose energy during social situations. Small talks can be emotionally draining so introverts need to recharge by spending time alone. This personality has nothing to do with shyness.

I consider myself an introvert – but not shy. Also, I don't necessarily shut down people. I still enjoy small gatherings with a few of my close friends. What I consider a nightmare are initiating conversations with strangers and networking in events. I'd rather be tucked in bed reading a book or catching up on my favorite series.

When I decided to start blogging again, I had a question floating in and out of my mind. "How do I set myself apart from smart and outgoing bloggers?" Introverts don't talk unless they have something important to say. I would be that quiet girl looking to retreat into a corner probably being called a snob or unfriendly. We can't handle social stimulation as well as extroverts do. For a blog, content is great but you'll have to do more than that. Networking isn't my thing but I made it a mission to become one.

I attended a Digital Media Conference in Abu Dhabi as the company representative. During lunch break, I went to the furthest table hoping other delegates would let me eat in peace. Who am I kidding? It was a big conference so expect to be approached by others. I was ready to pull out the last of my conversational skills when the moment strikes. One man came over to share a table. I just smiled, extended my hand out and introduced myself. He initiated the conversation to fill the silence, which was quite a relief. I was asked about my opinion on the conference steering toward sharing some of our ideas and experiences. His other colleagues jumped in to join the table. The conversation just flew naturally as if no time has passed. That wasn't as painful and awkward as I thought it would be. Phew!

You don't have to worry about saying something clever all the time. You can create a solid conversation by listening, not overthinking, and looking as warm and casual as you can.

If you're an introvert in a blogging industry, there's nowhere to hide from networking. When I get PR invites, there's only one word that came to mind: SOCIALIZING. It's clearly up to you if an event is worth attending. You don't want to end up doing a few bathroom calls or hang out with that friendly looking pot plant. There will be times that you need to challenge yourself. Step out of your bubble without hating the whole experience. Who knows? You might meet a social ally. After all, blogging is about connecting with people beyond boundaries.

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