Book Review: The Shy Writer

The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success

By C. Hope Clark (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)

Many writers are shy. C. Hope Clark understands this too well. At best, the effect of shyness serves as a roadblock for writers. At worst, it’s enough to cause some to cease writing altogether; the cost of confronting their shyness is simply too great.

For withdrawn writers who decide to push through, she offers two strategies: become less shy or figure a way to reconcile with it. Though her tips apply to both solutions, she gears her book to help writers accommodate their timidity. Along the way, Hope gives permission for shy writers to determine which areas they will make adjustments for and which they will avoid. Allowing reserved writers to choose which items they will press into and which ones they will skip is a viable plan.

For example, consider public speaking. Perhaps leading a small group can become acceptable, while standing behind a podium will never be, so saying “no” is okay. Or maybe serving on a panel is a reasonable alternative to a formal presentation. As with all her advice, she offers tips for dealing with these uncomfortable social situations

In the book’s twelve chapters, Hope effectively walks shy writers through the various issues they could encounter when confronting their introverted tendencies. Although The Shy Writer applies to males and females, her examples often center on the ladies.

Written in 2004, the truths about shyness remain unchanged. However, some of the recommended solutions are no longer applicable or require tweaking. Most of the out-of-date advice addresses the Internet, which has evolved greatly in the intervening years. Other outmoded suggestions relate to navigating the publishing industry, which has changed almost as much. Yet despite the dated references, the book contains a great deal of encouraging information for writers who are shy.

If you write and deem yourself shy, consider this book as required reading.

[The Shy Writer, by C. Hope Clark. Published by Funds for Writers. 2004; ISBN: 1-59113-583-4; 163 pages.]

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