One of the most common pieces of writing advice is to write what you know. That idea can be misconstrued if taken too literally, (you don’t have to be an astronaut to write about space) but it’s generally good advice. However, sometimes simply writing what you know is not enough to stand out in today’s world of mass media with millions of books and blogs and Youtube videos.
Some of my writing mentors give the better advice to write about something only you can write about. Provide content that no one else can. I recently had the realization that, for me, that “thing” is my struggle with shyness and social anxiety disorder.
Sure, I love movies, TV shows and sports— they’re a part of my life— but anybody can write about those things. However, no one can write about my personal experience with social anxiety. I know lots of other people struggle with shyness and social anxiety, (12% of American adults, according to Wikipedia) but few, if any of them talk or write about it. That’s kind of the Catch-22 of being shy.
So from now on, most, if not all of my future posts on this blog will be somehow social anxiety related. I may still write about sports or movies, but it will be from a different perspective. For example, how I go to movie theaters alone and early in the day when it’s less crowded. Or how I play in fantasy sports leagues with complete strangers on the internet and never talk to any of them in the message boards, respond to their emails, or propose trades.
I’ve done a lot of self-improvement over the past couple of years to try to combat my social anxiety, as evidenced by the fact that I am able to post this on the internet for anyone to see and read, but I admittedly still have a long way to go, as evidenced by my speaking skills in the video above. My goal is to share what I’ve done— what’s worked and what hasn’t— and document my continued progress in overcoming my social anxiety, in the hope that it can be of help to someone else.