Monday, April 11, 2011

200th Post: Put Yourself Out There

And I don't mean streak. Because don't want THAT kind of attention, m'kay?

What I mean is don't be afraid to take a chance on your blog, in your book, when you want to email someone but you're afraid to. Be personal! Be bold!

The Internet is an interesting place. On one hand, we have all this information coming straight for us, but on the other hand, it's on a screen. People are blogging, tweeting, Facebooking their thoughts and feelings and just throwing it out there.

Sometimes there's a response. Sometimes not.

Here's something interesting I was thinking about today: almost all of my friends that I met via the Internet came from either me or them emailing me out of the blue. In the cases that I emailed them, they posted something I felt like I needed to comment privately on. I thought, "I should email them about XYZ."  And then of course, I felt terrified at the idea of emailing a near stranger. But then the compulsion returned. "No, I really should email them about this. I think they might like to hear what I have to say."

And you know what?

Every single person I have ever randomly emailed was awesome. Nice. Considerate. Happy that I, a complete stranger, was emailing them (strange, I know). I have never once regretted emailing a stranger to tell them nice things.

Here's the catch though:

*Don't email people to complain. Seriously, just don't. I am sure they get tons of emails from people whining, you don't need to add to the fire.
*Be nice. Be very nice. Even though you're emailing someone and they aren't standing in front of you, pretend they are. Never say something on the Internet that you wouldn't say to someone's face.

That's all there is to it. Every person I have ever emailed was a joy to converse with, and I wasn't sorry that I put myself out there. I took the first step of contacting someone, and let things develop from there.

You can do the same thing too. You really can. Make connections. Don't just blog or Tweet in isolation! Get out into the Internet and shake some things up! Reply to Tweets! Comment on blogs! Email people to tell them how their latest blog post resonated with you! Or to tell them you approve of their user icon (seriously, that's how I met Joe Selby. He commented on Nathan Bransford's blog, and I saw his Brown Coat icon (from Firefly). I checked out his blog and website and emailed him to tell him it was awesome. I think I had a question too, but I can't remember.)

Don't spam people. Be genuine about it. But if there's someone you've always wanted to email to tell them what a difference they have made in your life, do it. I emailed Holly Lisle, an amazing author who I haven taken numerous online writing classes from, just to tell her that she's made a huge difference in my life. 

I figured I was a bug in her universe and she would never email me back, but you know what? She emailed me a few hours later, telling me she was having an awful day, and was literally in the process of moving, but saw my email and had to respond. I totally made her day.

So be brave. Take courage. Don't go gently into the good night, and all that jazz.


  1. 200th post! IMPRESSIVE.

    I think it's important to reach out (sincerely, of course, not just to blow smoke up someone's dress) even if it scares the bejeezus out of you or makes you feel silly or whatever. Nine times out of ten, the payoff is so worth the risk.

  2. Yes! It is scary to jump into a whole new swimming pool, but I am constantly amazed at how nice people have been. I guess I'd really expected the n00b treatment, but so far, it's been great.
    And it is excellent advice.

  3. Liz: SO SKEERY! But that's why I made this post--to tell people, yes, skeery but so very worth it!

    Rena: I know! Me too. But everyone I have ever talked to was very nice.