Monday, 7 February 2011

Discussion: Thoughts on Bookworms and Shyness

This morning, completely by accident I came across an old post on The Story Siren’s blog.  She wrote it way back in January 2009 and it’s about why Kristi still loves to read Young Adult fiction even though she is no longer a young adult.  The post is interesting and funny and although I am older than Kristi, it reminded me quite a bit of myself, which got me thinking about me as a reader, as a person, and you!

Just recently in the YA book blogging community there has been a trend growing where bloggers are putting more detail about themselves, as people, into their posts.  We are learning about their thoughts, their likes and dislikes, their emotions and their personality, and not just whilst they are reading but in ‘real life’ too.  I think this is great because we all love to get to know our friends better don’t we?

Anyway, as I was saying, it got me thinking about my blogging friends and their personalities and certain traits that seem to arise more frequently than others.  Shyness is one trait that stands out to me more than anything else.  A lot of the more personal posts I’ve read mention the writer being shy, or a preference to staying close to one or two best friends and not being very confident when it comes to joining in with a group (in real life not online) or meeting new people.  Quite often I think “these people are writing about ME!”

I am a shy person.  I am not confident in social situations and I much prefer to stay home with a good book or film than go out clubbing, drinking or meeting new people.  I’m not even particularly confident when I’m writing my blog posts, which is why I’ve never done a discussion post before.  Will people read it?  Will I come across all wrong and upset people?  Will people get involved and leave their responses?  Maybe they don’t like me.  Maybe they don’t like what I write.  Am I being a dork?  Am I too old to be reading and blogging about YA literature?  These are all questions that go through my head when I’m sitting at my computer.  The same questions come about in real life too and here is one ‘for instance’.  One blogger I follow works in a bookstore in my town.  “Come on over and see me” she says ... and I’d love to!  But I’m shy and all the above questions and more go through my head, and if I do meet her I’ll probably end up babbling about the weather or something equally stupid, but I digress.

Whilst reading the In My Mailbox posts, and especially the vlogs, some of you have mentioned how nervous you’ve been whilst filming them.  I think they are awesome and you’re very brave - I’m not sure I could ever do one.  On the other hand I’ve seen some vlogs by bloggers who are obviously totally outgoing and not at all shy, but not nearly as many.

So, I was wondering if you’ve noticed any connection between being a bookworm and being shy?  Does this describe you?  Or are you totally the opposite and outgoing?  I’m interested to find out if I’ve just picked up on these particular bloggers feelings because they mirror my own so much, or if this really is a trait that the majority of serious readers share? What do you think?

If you’ve got this far, thank you!  Please do leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts and I will do a follow up post next week.


Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

I think there is a connection between shyness and a passion for reading - especially those who read as much as us bloggers :-) I'm very quiet and will probably never pluck up the confidence to vlog. I'd never pass the chance to meet another blogger though - don't worry about it - you'll have loads to talk about :-)

Small Review said...

Oh my gosh, all of those questions you said run through your head are the same questions that run through mine! I'm super shy and I always think I sound kind of strange.

I like you and your "blog voice." I think we're probably a lot more critical about ourselves than is really warranted.

Attack of the Book! said...

I was thinking the same thing - are you writing about me! I swear I was reading this and thinking did she just get inside my head? I find that in the blogging world and in real life, I do better with people that are more outgoing. I need someone that will hog the conversation, because if you left it up to me I'd just go read something.

Hands down, I am 100 times more outgoing on the blog than I am in real life.

I am definitely shy (though I wasn't always that way - or at least not as much). I'd just rather read and be by myself rather than be in a crowd talking to people.

In my posts, I often wonder if I'm being too dorky. You can always talk to me though. I just started following you on Twitter. I've recently started tweeting and it's been fun. I'll make sure I reply to you there!

This is an excellent post (for me anyway). I can't wait to see what kinds of responses you'll get.

Emma Newman said...

It's not just readers, it's us authors too :)

I guess authors are often avid readers too, so that may stem from the same root, but I feel exactly the same as you do. It's taken a long time for me to feel anything less than terrified whenever I post anything vaguely personal on my blog. Now I just feel slightly nervous and in need of tea.

And why are we like this? A self-sampling group perhaps? Naturally geared towards the introverted end of the scale, so people are chaotic and tiring, whereas books are safe? I don't know.

But I do know that most of the bookish people I know online are absolutely lovely, and just as scared as me, so gradually, I hope to come out of my shell. As I said to someone on Saturday, I feel I am best consumed in text form. Real world things scare me.

Jenny said...

I love when bloggers incorporate some personal elements into their posts, it makes them seem like real people and not just a blog name:) I don't think I'm overly shy, but I definitely don't like to be the center of attention. With smaller groups of people I'm more outgoing, but with a large group? I plaster myself against the wall and put a dorky smile on my face to hide the nerves:) I'm terrible at public speaking, and even though a vlog isn't really public given that you can't see anyone else, I still would completely choke. I know it:)

Amber Griffiths said...

I love this post :)It's a great topic! I definitely think there is a connection between shyness and reading/book blogging. I've come across many bloggers who have been very shy, and I've sort of "led" the conversation.

I used to be very shy myself, until I started a new school with my best friend. And then I started to come out of my shell a bit more and I haven't stopped since. I still do prefer reading to going out. I guess that's more anti-social than shy! Haha. I don't particularly like going out to parties, unless I'm with my best friend, or I'm with my stepsiblings.

So, in short, I'm more outgoing now than I used to be, but I'm still not completely comfortable in new situations!

Aside from that, I think it's kind of normal for a blogger to worry about their posts. They are posting them out to (potentially) hundreds of people after all!

I can't wait to read the follow up post! I hope you'll be doing more discussions..? I loved this one :D

By the way, would you mind if I was to do a kind of "video response" to this post on my Youtube channel? Of course, I'd credit you and everything! :)

Richard Denning said...

Yes I am most certainly a bit shy. I read a lot (as well as writing) so it might be connected, I have to take a deep breath before doing things like giving a talk at a school (coming up next month) and get very anxious about what people will say about my books etc BUT I eventually figure - what the heck. Lets just have a go. I can always crawl under a rock later!

Jesse Owen said...

I'm exactly the same - those questions run through my mind on a constant basis.

I don't go out very often (except for a piano lesson once a week lol) - never been to a night club or anything. I much prefer to be at home with a book or in front of the TV.

Great post :)

SJH (A Dream of Books) said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I am shy too and much prefer curling up with a book at home than going out clubbing and meeting people. I always worry about what I'm going to say to people I don't know as well! Being a book blogger is great because it's a chance to 'meet' lots of people online who share a similar love for books and YA without the pressure of awkward social situations.

I look forward to your follow-up post :)

Dizzy C said...

I am a little surprised you feel shy. I would not have guessed from the lovely comments you leave on my blog.

I am 42 soon and believe that my confidence has grown over the years.
As a young adult I didnt go to clubs or pubs. Now I do enjoy going out once a month with my partner.

I would be too shy to post a vlog.
I do add a little about me and my life on my blog but did feel a little weird about it to start with. Would people be interested?
I was surprised at what grabbed people's attention, but even now as I draft a new post I question myself about whether it will be interesting for readers?

Enough rambling. I would say go for it. Write your posts with confidence that your followers will join in.


Gina @ My Precious said...

Well, what a different and great post! I love discussion posts and reading about other bloggers, too.

Shy is a great way to describe me..I am with you I'd rather just hang at home than to go out and socialize. My hubby is the direct opposite, maybe why we are a good match?

I could NEVER dream of doing a Vlog. I'm too chicken to put myself in the spotlight. I don't like to draw attention to myself. Plus, you all complain about being too old and still reading YA books, hmm I'm nearly double the age of most of you all. What the heck do you think that makes me feel like?

Jess said...

Such a great post! I'm not sure if there is a correlation but I am definitely super shy. I grew up being shy and only confident/comfortable around certain people and personality types. I'm extra shy around alphas. Even now, as a 23 year old, I'm still shy around my superiors and alphas...and I try really hard to work at it. Posting vlogs are my way of attempting to open up and work on my shyness...:)

Mel said...

What an interesting question. I've had to work hard to overcome shyness and like Dizzy feel my confidence has grown over as I've aged. I think shy people naturally gravitate to books as methods of escape. I don't know if I'll ever do a vlog - it feels very brave! :)

Annette said...

Just jump right in there - this was a great post. Anyway, I do think there is some connection between maybe being "introverted" (as opposed to shy) and being a book worm. The very fact that you can entertain yourself, all alone, for hours on end with just the pages of a book, kind of indicates that you are, at least somewhat introverted. But there are computer geeks, and other "types" of people who also fall into this category.

I guess I consider myself shy, but old enough to not care as much. I did a couple of vlogs. (Contrary to what some other comments said, I did it because I am OLD, I don't think I could have when I was younger and more insecure.) But, on the other hand, I've never been a "clubber" or anything like that. My husband and I like to stay at home. We enjoy each other's company. And I'm not apologizing for that - it's what makes me happy.

Do what makes you happy!

Kelly said...

Fabulous post! I always enjoy reading discussion posts.

I'm actually amazed at how many bloggers say they're shy. I know some people who are avid readers are definitely shy and some are not, but it surprises me that so many book bloggers say they're shy, when they're expressing themselves in such a public way. But maybe they're willing to do so because it's online, not in person.

I'm not shy. I was really interested when you mentioned people wanting to stay close to only one or two best friends instead of joining groups, and when you mentioned that you don't like doing things like going clubbing or drinking. There's a saying that everyone has different circles of friendship. Our closest circle has anywhere from one to three best friends at a time. The second circle is a little bit larger, with people we are close to but who aren't our best friends, and the third circle is even larger, with our acquaintances. This is certainly true for me. I have a few people I'm very close to; they are the only people I trust with knowing me fully. I have friends other than them, and I am more than happy to spend time with those friends, either in group settings or in one-on-one situations. I often meet new people as a result of those friendships, too, and I'm completely comfortable meeting new people.

Like you, I don't enjoy clubbing or drinking. I don't like dancing and though I'll have a drink with dinner every once in a great while, I'm not a big drinker. I can see how for many people, they wouldn't enjoy those things because they're shy, but for me, they're just not things I'm interested in. I'd rather go hiking, play tennis, go the gym, go to a sporting event, go to poetry reading, go to an art museum, etc. than go to a club or bar. There are so many different ways to be social and outgoing; once you find the ones you're interested in, it's so much easier to become outgoing.

That said, in terms of the blogging world, I don't do vlogs because I don't have the equipment for it and can't afford to purchase it, but I think it would be fun to do vlogs. I also don't share too much personal info about myself, other than what's in my about me section, but that's mostly because I don't really know where I'd put in those details. There never seems to be a good place in my reviews to add them in, and I've thought about doing a "25 things about me" post, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

One last thing (because I've said a lot): you mentioned (and others have mentioned) that at times bloggers are nervous about posting certain things because of how people will react. I've felt that way about discussion posts; I typically don't post them, and when I did last week, all I could think was, "What if the blogger who's post I'm responding to reads what I wrote and gets offended?" One thing I've learned, for online and real life situations, is that we can't control how other bloggers will respond to our posts. Not everyone will react positively to them, and that's okay. We shouldn't be afraid to post what we think just because of how someone might react to it. Have confidence in what you post, make peace with knowing that not everyone will react favorably but that's out of your control, and enjoy yourself! Blogging is a serious thing, but not THAT serious! :)

I love this post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with everyone!

StephTheBookworm said...

Sounds like me too!

T.B. said...

I think it's great that you're doing a discussion post! So far it seems that you are getting a lot of responses!

I wouldn't say that I'm shy, but I am not the most outgoing person either. If I'm with my friends and such, I joke around and talk, but if I'm with someone that I really don't know very well, I would rather keep to myself. You could say that I'm an introvert at times.

I have noticed though, that many bloggers do tend to be shy, but I think it's great that they're blogging! I love hearing everyone's opinions and thoughts.

I agree though, that bloggers tend to put a lot more of who they are, their personality, into their posts nowadays. When I go onto blogs, I really get to see who these different people are, which I think is nice, as it helps me relate more.

But with older people who are reviewing YA books, well, I think that's awesome! I get to see people's thoughts from all kinds of perspectives. I'm only in eighth grade, but I still enjoy hearing what adults or older teens have to say.

I'm glad with the direction that blogging is going as bloggers are really putting themselves into it. Great discussion! I can't wait to see more!

Aylee said...

Wow, most of these questions you brought up have crossed my mind at sometime or another as well. I feel very self-conscious about bringing up my personal life on the blog...
As for your question about whether I've noticed a connection between being a bookworm and being shy: well, I'm incredibly shy in real life but I don't think all bookworms are shy. I think a lot are though, and they might see reading as a sort of comfort. At least, I know I always like my alone time from being social, escaping from the world, curling up with a good book.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

The more personal side of blogging is nice because it makes a connection with a blog that much stronger. I go back to blogs more when I feel like I'm invested in what the blogger is writing - and this tends to happen when their personality is more vibrant. That's not to say I don't read many blogs where the owner hasn't posted a great deal about him/herself, because I do. It's just that the stronger connection I feel, the more likely I am to keep coming back. That, and I've also talked to more bloggers on twitter and through email when I felt like I knew them a bit.

I do believe that many bookworms tend to be shy, but I don't think that the majority necessarily are. I'd say I'm a relatively shy person. I'm not the type to walk up to total strangers and start a conversation, nor am I much of an outgoing party person. Like you, I much prefer to hang out at home or with my close friends.

I recently started doing vlogs on my blog and trust me, I was deathly afraid of it. The first time I turned my camera on, I pretty much froze...and I was all alone with no one watching. Insecurities eat away at all of us, so you are far from alone there. I'm trying to get more outgoing and fun with my vlogs, but it's hard. I wish I was one of those bloggers who makes people laugh while watching videos, but I'm so far from that point.

A great way to break out of your shyness bubble, is to go to book signings. I've met several bloggers from signings and I've kept in contact with most (if not all) of them. I'm still shy at signings and incredibly nervous to meet authors, but it's so much fun. So, I'd say push yourself to go out and meet this other blogger in your town. You'll probably be surprised at just how much fun you'll have :-)

The Slowest Bookworm said...

Wow! Thanks everyone. Lots of fantastic responses. It does seem that the majority of you mention that you are shy too. I will do a follow up post next week :)

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

I think I agree: I tend to be very shy when it comes to certain things. I guess that doing a blog brings people out of their shells a little: especially as you can't be afraid when you're being so honest about the books you read.
I must admit: I'm not the kind who'd do a vlog, far too self concious, but I think the people who aren't afraid to are really brave.
But about the avid book reader and the shyness... I think that's often true for me, but my friend is one of the least self-concious person I've ever met and she's a complete book-addict.
This really made me think! I think you should do another discussion because this was really, really interesting and I related a lot.
I don't think you should feel self-concious though: I love the way you write your review and blog!
Thanks for the great discussion! (:

Sally said...

Everything you wrote reminded me of me. I am very shy in real life, and especially in groups I won't say a lot. Like you, I would much rather curl up with a book than go out to a club. And I feel the same way you do about blogging- I really didn't think I would have anything interesting to say, or that anybody would care about what I wrote. But I keep doing it because I enjoy it, and the comments people have left me have increased my confidence. Everybody is harder on themselves.
I know that everybody is different, and that there are exceptions, but I do think that in general there is a connection between being an avid reader and being shy. But I do also believe that book readers are nicer people. I used to teach and really could see that the children who enjoyed reading and read a lot, were kinder and had more empathy with others. I suppose because they were used to seeing through others eyes, and seeing another point of view. I'm rambling now!
This is a great post and it has been interesting to read everybody's comments.

Laura said...

I dont think being a bookworm necessarily means that a person is shy. I would much rather stay home and read a great book or watch a really good movie than go out partying, but I also really enjoy interacting with new people. While I wouldn't describe myself as being a shy person, I definitely feel self-conscious when it comes to blogging. I'm not sure if I'll ever have the courage to do a vlog and even though I've been blogging for several months now, every time I put up a post I always wonder what people will think or if they will even respond. It's very nerve-wracking!

This was really great post! I enjoyed reading everyone's responses!

Kelly said...

I can't wait to read your follow up post! :)

Danny said...

I'm a lill late answering to this question and before I do, Look at this incredible response you got from your fellow Bloggers! How wonderful!

Hm that is not easy for me to answer... I, myself am not really shy I can go in front of a students crowd and tell them what to do ... I do hold talks in front of an audience, although I might not like it.. Same is true for my fellow Bookworm Girls, they are also not really shy.

But, I do prefer curling up on a couch reading over going out any time. And, I am very nervous about every post I write. Will people comment? Will anyone read? What if they ... and so on and on. I also try to put in my personality, nobody wants to read a generic Review- Books and Reading are about Passion, for a Book or a Character, this is why we are all doing this.

Super Rambling Post, but I truly loved this post Sweetie and the comments!

BooksforCompany said...

Karen l actually thought the same when l did my first discussion post yesterday and didn't think anyone would care to read it. l was so happy when a got some comments!
Also l prefer to stay in than go out clubbing, l am not confident at all!
l am too shy to do a vlog! l wish l could as l have my webcam and l would love to show my books but l just get too nervous.
BTW - You are no way too old to read YA! No one ever is!
l think probably more people are shy who read books than people who have other hobbies as reading books are something you can do by yourself etc.

Cem said...

I missed this post originally, but caught the follow up one. I'm glad I saw it!

I'm on the shy side too, and certainly an introvert. I'm not comfortable in crowds and I'm always really anxious meeting new people. I never know what to say and tend to just stay quiet. I suspect it makes me come across as distant and unfriendly sometimes! With me, because I'm ill and rarely leave the house, and have been that way for so long, I often wonder how different things would be if I'd been a 'normal' teen and not forced in to an iscolated life. But the fact remains, I am comfortable in my own space, alone with a book, and with my few close friends. I've done 2 IMM vlogs now, and both terrified me. I'm not a confident person doing them and letting others watch them, but I've been trying hard lately to step out of my comfort zones just a little and that's one way I am. But yes, reading your post, you could so easily be talking about me too.

And I too am enjoying some of the more personal posts popping up from other book bloggers. It is nice to get to know people a little better!