Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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October 29, 2012

Putting Lipstick on the Troll - The Introverted Writer

I can't tell you how giddy we are here at WITS.  We've been sitting on an announcement, dying to blab, but having to sit on it until today (well, okay, maybe that was just me-I stink at secrets.)   You ready? 

We have a new crit partner, and full time WITS author/blogger!

Orly Konig Lopez!

You might know her from the RWA-WF or Chick Lit chapters. You might know her from Washington Romance writers or Backspace, Savvy Authors, or SCWBI. You might know her from prison . . . okay, I made that last part up. But we're already loving her sense of humor, and we think  you will too. She's going to be around the blog a lot, so I hope you all will show her some comment-love. 

Have at it, Orly!

Photo via www.freefoto.com

Not long after my son was born, I made the decision to quit my corporate job and take up freelance editing, and marketing communications. At first the idea scared the crap out of me, and not necessarily just the obvious, “will I be able to make it” question.

What was going to become of me at home all day, alone, just me, alone, without the daily interaction I was so used to, alone?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had a problem being on my own. I’m an only child, so I’m used to entertaining myself. When I was young, I had imaginary friends (the Ghost of Scotland was my partner in crime when I was six and living in the UK—he had a bad habit of breaking things though, and wasn’t allowed to stay long.) I’m perfectly happy curled up in a toasty corner with a book.

But you know what I discovered? I liked being alone. Maybe I actually liked it too much. I was becoming a happy little troll in my solitary cave.

And writing fit the new me perfectly. All I needed was my laptop and my kitty companions (and a functioning espresso machine.) Because, really, what else do you need? You read craft books and then you write, write, write.

Until someone recommended I join RWA. Ummm, an Association? That meant interacting with people, right? No need for panic, little troll, the chapter I joined was an online one. I could lurk on Yahoo loops, sponge information from the wise members, then write, write, write. I could do this.

Then I pushed the comfort zone a bit more, and joined an online critique group. The idea of sharing my work with someone other than anonymous contest judges made the troll sweat. But after that first scary step, I realized it wasn’t so bad. Okay, it was pretty darn great actually.

Hey, we were on a roll. I joined a local chapter and, tossing that comfort pillow around like I was big troll on campus, then looked at the next thing on my “Oh please don’t make me do this” list—pitching an agent. Live. In person. Not an email query. See the troll cowering in the corner?

But, hey can’t stop now. So in March, when my local chapter had their retreat, I signed up for not one, but two pitch sessions. I wrote the pitch, I practiced, I even put on lipstick. And you know what? The troll survived. I even got two requests out of the experience.

I was kicking some comfort zone booty, people.

And I learned something important. There’s nothing wrong with having the cushy safe zone. Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to roll the boulder in front of the cave and hide. But leave a tiny crack. You never know when a big hairy opportunity will stroll by.

For me, the scary, hairy comfort challenge is in putting myself out there. I’m doing that bit by bit—querying, pitching, becoming active with the RWA chapters., And now, my latest; blogging with this amazing group of ladies. My lipstick may not always be on straight, and I still prefer the safety of my cave, but hello world!

So, what scares you? And who helped you pick out your most flattering color of lipstick?

NOTE: Orly lives on the East Coast and is dealing with Hurricane Sandy at the moment. She's safe, but hit and miss in her electricity. She will respond to comments, but it might be "hit and miss" for the next day or so.

About Orly:

After years of pushing the creativity boundary in corporate communications, Orly decided it was time for a new challenge. Three women's fiction manuscripts later (plus a handful of picture books), she's found her creative outlet. Her manuscripts have finaled in the Wisconsin Romance Writers Fab Five Contest, the TARA contest, Stiletto Contest, First Coast Romance Writers Unpublished Beacon Contest, Novel Rocket Launch Pad contest, and the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America's Emerald City Opener Contest.

When not writing fiction, she's still pushing the creativity barriers for her marketing communications clients and trying to hide from her family long enough to read "just one more page."

0 comments on “Putting Lipstick on the Troll - The Introverted Writer”

  1. Hey Orly ... Good to put a "face" to your amazing voice. Love that you joined my fav group blog ... love that you are also a closet-cousin. Me? Hey, I've got a mouth bigger than Brooklyn, but I love my solitude, have worked at home or from home for years and when my comfort zone gets invaded, I might even whine like a little girl.

    You are brave to enter so many contests and do the inperson pitch thing, the group critique thing ... and you lived to tell the tale! Thanks for being here and at RWA where I also love your energy and ideas. Thanks to WITS for yet another great addition to this blog ... love you guys 🙂

    1. Thanks, Florence! Your support this year has meant the world!

      Brave? Crazy? Determined! Laura has been dangling all sorts of troll treats trying to get me out of the cave this year. 🙂


      1. Yeah, and they worked! Just ask the WITS Bloggers - I'm a force of nature when it comes to motivating OTHERS! It's me I have the issue with....which could be why I'm here and not revising....Oh look, a squirrel!

  2. It's so nice to have you join our crit group Orly and now I'm not the only introvert!

    With friends, I don't shut up but in crowds, not so much. I'm not one to elbo my way through a crowd to meet a particular agent or editor either. My mother raised a lady. I go with--if it's meant to be, it will happen. Problem is, the gals with the big elbos make sure it's not meant to be.

    I got over part of the stage fright years ago when I agreed to be prez of NTRWA. Doing that forced me to stand up in front of fellow writers once a month. It helped tremenously. Talk about knocking knees a sea sick belly! I did get over it though. But I have to be honest -- I've stopped live pitches altogether. I don't mind putting my lipstick on -- never leave home without it -- but when the editor or agent comes without hers and looking craby to-boot the sea sick belly returns and I end up sounding like an idiot. So mostly, I just query in letters these days. I'm not advising that for everyone, but I think we all have to make the most of what we "can" do and what we're good at. 🙂

      1. Hey, you introverts are the majority now! Orly, Sharla and Fae! Jenny - we're outnumbered! Good thing we don't mind talking loud and drowning them out.

        1. In your dreams, Laura! I'm just really happy to have Orly with us--never thought about the us vs. them numbers. Maybe I can turn Orly to sci fi, and the three of us can write that alien bull riding story!
          Love, Fae

        2. My alien may be a dressage rider instead. But I like where this is going.
          Good luck overpowering the Introvert Sect ... it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for the most. 🙂

  3. Hi Orly, nice to meet you. I'm a cave troll of the first order, one reason I prefer online publishing. I admire you for breaking out of your cave in so many directions. Sounds like you're on the road to a sale. I'll look forward to hearing about your progress here on WITS.

  4. Hi Orly,

    It's good to know another fellow introvert. I can't imagine pitching an agent. Sending e-queries is intimidating enough. But I have learned recently that stepping out of my comfort zone is a good thing. It takes baby steps but I'm working on it.

    Welcome and look forward to more of your posts.

    Vicky Green

    1. Hi Vicky,
      Nice to know I'm not the only one poking my nose out of the cave once in a while.
      I'm a firm believer in baby steps. And each one gets a bit easier! Trust me. 🙂

  5. After 20 years of doing pitches, I'm finally getting to the point where I don't get too stressed. (I didn't sleep at all the night before my first one!) What I do is focus on the story and doing the best I can to describe and promote it, not on myself and what the editor/agent might think of me. But I still struggle at receptions and banquets to introduce myself and promote myself. That will never come naturally.

    1. Oh, Mary, I'm so miserably awful with networking. I would much rather stand in a corner and have a brilliant conversation with a potted plant over having to introduce myself to strangers.

    1. Hi Laurie! It's amazing what a baby step like sitting at the back of a local chapter meeting will do for your confidence. Next thing you know, you'll be speaking up at a meeting. And then watch out world ... 🙂

  6. Hey, Orly. Welcome to WITS. I visit frequently. So no one else has asked about your unusual name. Is it short for something? But I'm curious, and I figure others must be, too. Lots of times when I've asked questions in a group, others have come up after and thanked me. They were just too afraid to ask. (That may give you the idea I'm an extrovert. No, I've just learned to live in a society that favors extroverts.)
    Most of my life I've been in that extrovert position: teacher, school board member, school administrator, but it took a lot out of me. When I retired, I worried how I'd do without all those people and found I did just fine. Probably because I'd found RWA and NTRWA and all the loops and ultimately blogs like this one. Funny, I can use a mike to speak to a room of 1000 people and be okay, but the whole social media world has been intimidating. But I'm getting there.
    You've found what I've told my students in the past, Orly. Get up and speak. Each time you do it you'll get better and feel more comfortable. I guess that's like writing. A learn by doing activity if there ever was one.
    Thought this would be short. But I'm seldom short on paper or in person. LOL Well, actually, I'm a short person. Okay, enough! Glad you're here, Orly.

    1. Ha! You made me laugh ... thank you! I needed that today.
      The name - Orly is an Israeli name and means my light. I was born in Israel Konig is my maiden name that I refused to give up when I married my French husband (in case the Lopez didn't give that away). Quite the mish-mash. 🙂

      I'm so touched by all the warm welcomes. You guys really know how to make a troll feel special!

  7. Welcome Fellow Cave Troll! I enjoyed your confessions, Orly, and look forward to your posts. have had to overcome my introversion to conquer fears and face challenges over the years, pitching and networking included, but that doesn't mean I still don't *prefer* my cave (with cats) to the big old populated world out there. I still have to fight with myself every time I think it's necessary to go OUT. And don't even get me started on lipstick! Thanks for sharing. MA

    1. Lipstick I can do. But mascara ... forget it. I buy a tube a year and end up having to junk it most times. Must admit though that I get high-heel envy once in a while. 🙂
      Glad to know I'm in good company. 🙂

  8. HI Orly and welcome I visit here frequently also. I haven't braved a pitch-you have to have something to pitch first right? But I keep writing and hoping something resembling a novel will emerge from the conglomoration of ideas in this brain. Nice to read about your talents. Good luck with your steps. Oh and I wonder if someone would explain how to choose an agent to pitch to also. Thanks. PS Laura the book arrived today 😉

    1. Thanks for the warm welcome. Querying is fun (oh geez, did I actually say that out loud?!). Thanks for the idea for an upcoming blog post. 😉
      Keep writing - you'll end up with something very much like a novel if you do!

    1. Someone wise - *cough Laura* - told me "just don't throw up on any of the agents and you'll be fine." An empty stomach helped. If - big IF - there's a next time, limiting the coffee might be a good idea too. 🙂

  9. Orly,
    Love that mental image of "lipstick on the troll" -- LOL!! That's definitely me at conferences, too :).
    I'm a major introvert. I really like people, but I prefer talking with them one on one or in small groups. The chaos of a conference and all the expected networking is really draining for me, but I've really appreciated getting to know so many writers along the way. It's made even those big events worth it. Way to go stretching outside your comfort zone!! I hope it'll lead to even more good things for you ;).

  10. And now I know why we get along so well...introvert, marketing communication gurus, writers, freaks...you get the idea. Lovely post. Look forward to more.

  11. Orly, I would've never imagined you being a troll. LOL. So excited to see you on this blog and am looking forward to reading more. I'm glad you and your family are safe and sound!

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