Yesterday was the Writing Excuses Retreat Summer Reunion. It was an event run on Zoom where more than a hundred writers entered the same space and circulated through breakout rooms just like circulating through conversations at a party. One room had a bartender to talk people through making their own cocktails and mocktails, another room had a book bartender to help people triage their TBR pile. There was a room with a dance party and a room with Karaoke. Mostly I set myself up in one of the quiet rooms and enjoyed conversations with small groups of people. There were so many friendly faces that I was glad to see. I came away after six hours of being on Zoom, truly exhausted, but feeling happy and more balanced than I’ve felt in a while.
I think as a socially anxious introvert, it is really tempting for me to opt out of social interactions. I’m pretty content hanging out by myself watching a show, reading, or thinking my own thoughts. The pandemic has made it even easier for me to go nowhere and talk to no one. Then I hit an event like the one yesterday and I realize (again) that just because withdrawal into solitude is my natural inclination, it is not necessarily the best thing for me to be doing. Like eating healthy exercising, I should probably be putting effort and attention into making sure I spend time being social. I’m not sure yet how to accomplish this during the pandemic. My preference would be to show up at online social things that other people host, because then I could lurk and duck out at will when anxiety built up. However I suspect that many of my friends feel the same way and would appreciate coming to an event where they didn’t have to host. More thought required.
In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to October when WXR is teaming up with Surrey International Writer’s Conference to hold an online event. There will be parties like the one I attended last night, writing dates, and (of course) classes. I even get to teach some classes, which I’m excited about. You can register here if you’d like to join me. For today, I’m going to rest and remember the fun conversations I had. Then tomorrow I’m going to get back to writing, because talking with all my writer friends got me motivated again.