One of the reasons I love writing is the ability to share my experiences, stories and beliefs from the comfort of my home office. As outgoing as I might appear sharing common experiences on the job with coworkers or discussing with the grocery store clerk how AMAZING Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy ice cream tastes, if you put me in a social situation with large numbers of people, I’ll curl up in the back of the room and hope to be mistaken for a potted plant.
It doesn’t matter if I’m surrounded by a large group of acquaintances or strangers, I will always come down with a super-sized helping of social anxiety. And, just to be clear, a “large” group is anything over 2.
I think my anxiety is partly due to my dislike of small talk. I’m not good at bringing up random topics of conversation appropriate for the lunch room. I also don’t want to look stupid. Certainly there’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s not the point in a blog about (not) writing my novel.
The point is the other morning, the company I work for had a spring kick off meeting with employees from around the district. Let’s just say, it was about 30 people over my comfort zone. I spent many days distracted by this upcoming event. The night before I decided I could spend some time writing, since I didn’t have to be at the meeting until 10am and the meeting location was close to my house.
My anxiety kept me thinking about the imminent meeting and seven hours of forced interaction (including games) with a large group of people, few of whom I knew well.
I didn’t write one word.