Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Are You a Joiner?

Cricket McRae

I am an only child. According to Dorothy Rowe’s definition, I am also an introvert. That doesn’t mean I’m shy or always socially awkward, but instead that I trust my inner world more than what’s “out there,” my internal take on things more than what others say.

The other day someone asked if I wanted to join her yoga group. “I’m really not much of a joiner,” I responded.

It’s me, not you. Honest.

Seriously, I liked the person who invited me. Would have felt comfortable enough sweating and contorting and falling over in front of her. I’m not only not shy, I’m not particularly proud. But I’m not a joiner. I’ve always thought that about myself, so it must be true.

Except …

I belong to not one, but two active writing groups.

As a mystery writer I’ve naturally joined Sisters in Crime, and when the local chapter closed I continued as a member of the Puget Sound Chapter near where my Home Crafting Mysteries take place. I belong to Mystery Writers of America, Pacific Northwest Writers, Northern Colorado Writers, and will soon be a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

I belong to three alumni organizations – one professional and two related to education. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I’m a member of seven yahoo groups. A lurker, generally, but still – I watch and see what’s going on with everyone and pipe up on occasion. I joined the Inkspot blog years ago, and have also joined the gazillion bloggers out there with my own blog. In two weeks I’m launching another one.

So no, I’m not a joiner – at least when it comes to yoga. But perhaps there is something about being involved in the writing community that keeps me sane. Yes, the Facebook and Twitter are for promotional purposes, but they are also fun. I like the connection. I like communicating directly with readers. And I enjoy the blogging far more than I’d anticipated.

Writing is a solitary business for the most part. As much as I sometimes wish I was writing instead of promoting or connecting or networking, in truth those things balance out the long hours perched behind my desk, and I genuinely enjoy the human contact. Even working in a library or coffee shop are solitary, though sometimes it’s nice just to have other people around.

As long as I have my white noise app and ear buds, mind you.

Are you a joiner? A loner? A bit of both? As a reader, do you share your (usually solitary) reading experience with others in book groups or by posting reviews or participating in Goodreads discussions?


Darrell James said...

Cricket- I came along very late in my family's life, so I tell people that I was an "only child in a family of six." I spent a lot of time in my head as a kid, and, now, as an adult, still prefer my own company to that of others (much of the time). Maybe it's just the habits we develope.

Keith Raffel said...

Cricket, delighted you've found something to keep you sane. Me? Am still looking.

Cricket McRae said...

"Only child in a family of six" -- interesting! Liking your own company is a good thing whether you're a social butterfly or not.

Keith, you sure seem sane to me!

Kathleen Ernst said...

I'm quite happy alone, but writing is such a solitary (and sometimes challenging) occupation that it is nice to connect with others who understand. I"ve had to back off from some Listservs in the simple interest of time, but I do enjoy connecting via SinC, MWA, FB, blogs, and conferences. (I thought I'd hate FB, but I don't!)

You're starting a new blog? Yikes!

Beth Groundwater said...

Yep, I'm a joiner! Soon after we moved to Breckenridge, to get involved in the local community, I joined the Loosey Goosey group (skiing-related), the Summit County Senior Center, the Friday Afternoon Club (wine & cheese socials), the Father Dyer Methodist Church, and the Friends of the Library! ;-)