The Foxcub made an interesting comment today – we went out for lunch, and he told me “You look like Serenity today.”
Now that might seem an odd thing to say when you all know me as Serenity. But I explained in my blogpost on attending the RWNZ conference how, this time, I went wearing my author persona rather than as timid little old me. The odd thing is that, since I went to the conference, I feel more like Serenity. Is that weird?
It’s all to do with confidence. All through my life, I’ve been very easily intimidated. I seem to surround myself with strong characters, and, when faced with a decision, the last person whose opinion I tend to ask is myself! Now, authors are supposed to have a presence on social media, but the internet can be a scary place for those of us who have thin skins. On the internet, everyone has an opinion and they’re not afraid to use it, and over the past five years, there have been several occasions where things have gone “tits up” (as the Silver Fox would say) and I’ve backed away quickly from a confrontation that could easily have turned nasty. In the end, it was easier to withdraw from social media, because, well, if you don’t stick your head about the parapet, you can’t get shot, right?
But I’m tired of being a coward. Of taking the easy way of out. Of being made to feel (or, perhaps more correctly, of convincing myself) that everyone else is in the ‘cool club’ and I don’t belong. At the conference, I told myself that Serenity wasn’t the kind of girl who would be intimidated by others. She has opinions of her own and they’re valid ones. Readers love my stories (OMG!) and they're willing to take precious time out of their day to sit and read my books, so maybe I do have something to say. Kristen Lamb taught us that there are plenty of people in the world who are interested in the same things that we are, and it’s up to us to reach out and find them.
Kristen also said that if an author complains of not being comfortable opening up a little, “Suck it up, buttercup!” That, more than anything else, stuck with me. I’ve let other people intimidate me too much. I’m not made of paper. Well, I’m determined that Serenity isn’t going to be, anyway, and if there’s any better reason for having a pen name, I’ve yet to find it. Criticism or a bad review isn’t fact. It’s an opinion. It would be a dull old world if we all thought the same way. Opinions are good and should be encouraged. In some universities, debate is being discouraged because too many people find it ‘upsetting’. Wow, is that a big mistake. We need to encourage our young people to be tougher in this hard world, not more sensitive. People like me just have to make sure we don’t take everything to heart, because not every opinion is right. Also, in the words of Lix from The Hour, (and I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone) “Don’t be so wet.”
I’m done with being wet. (Please, keep it clean, people.) This is one of the characters I play on Guild Wars 2, and this is what Serenity looks like in my head.
I’m a frickin' shield maiden, dammit, and I’m not going to let some trolls on the internet convince me that my opinion is worth less than theirs, or that I’m “wrong” because I don’t think the same way they do.
So, even if you're not a writer, but you'd like to be more adventurous, more outgoing... Try slipping into the skin of your alter ego. Picture how you'd like to be, and try it on for size. You never know, you might surprise yourself :-)
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