Best Advice For Social Anxiety – Creative and Highly Sensitive People

Writers and creative people share traits of Highly Sensitive People (HSPs).  Think about it.  Creative people spend long hours alone, writing, or crafting their projects.  They tend to live inside their heads for extended periods, playing with ideas, trying new things, struggling to be original.  Building their project in their heads.  Hence, many are shy and experience social anxiety.

onredYet, writers have to be social, for example, they have to pitch ideas to rooms full of executives. They have to collaborate in films or other creative projects. Another reality of working as a writer in film or TV is networking. The point here is not so much to meet the most people, but rather to find some people and nurture your relationship with them. As writers meet colleagues, make a point of staying in touch outside of the parties or events where they meet.

One suggestion is to put together a contact list, and make a point of calling or emailing one person on the list every day. Since writers can communicate alone, better than they can in a room, send an email or text.

I’d also recommend befriending other writers who are currently experiencing some success. Keep in mind, they are probably shy, too.

Make friends with writers who are already working on a TV show, or writers who’ve had their screenplays optioned, or who already have an agent or a manager.  A key, when you talk to them; talk about them, what can you do for them?  Read a draft, and give feedback?

While at this stage, why not consider collaborating with another writer who’s had some success? Your partner may be better with people, better at networking.

For another writer to consider partnering up, they’re going to have to be mighty impressed with your writing or your contacts. You might as well try it. You have nothing to lose.

With a writing partner, you won’t feel so alone in what may be the most competitive job market ever. You’ll have someone to celebrate with when the news is good. And more importantly, you’ll have someone to commiserate with, if the news is bad.

Let’s examine some of the tools that may help a sensitive and/or introverted writer handle social situations.

I encourage writers to be more aware of their self-talk about socializing, about going to parties, and particularly about networking. When they hear “I’m too nervous, I’m going to embarrass myself.” Take some deep breaths, and strategize.

For example, think about past successful attempts to open a conversation with a contact. Remember how it felt. Redirect your thinking from, “I’m too nervous,” to something like, “I’ve done this kind of thing before, and it worked out. It’s going to make me nervous, but it’ll be okay.”

At first I recommend always making sure the discussion centers on the person you’re networking with, and is complementary. Even better – have facts to back up your compliment, like “I loved the way you used a hand-held camera in that scene, it gave the film a lot of energy.”

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Image credit: Creative Commons (185/365) :: on Red 2009 by Lucia Sanchez is licensed under CC By 2.0

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