7 Tips about the Basic Needs and Stressors of Introverts

Image/karenjordan.netThank you, Jesus—I’m home again!

A few weeks ago, I found myself surrounded by extroverts, enjoying their confidence as they absorbed energy from all who surrounded them at a publishing event for Christian writers.

And all the activity almost sucked the life out of this introvert! I’m still exhausted.

Thankfully, my extrovert travel companion understood the strengths and weaknesses of an introvert, even though I’m sure she tired from dragging me out of my comfort zone.

Ever wondered what makes an introvert tick? I don’t have to look beyond my own mirror to answer that question. So, I hope the following tips help you understand some of the basic needs and stressors of introverts.

1. Personal space energizes introverts. And when we get stressed out, we need to be left alone. Being in crowds drains us, so we often need to find some alone time to recharge our batteries.

2. Extroverts often misunderstand the need for personal space, and introverts tend to be more withdrawn at times. So, they might need to come out of their caves and share their perspective with those who might misinterpret their need for solitude. And sometimes, they might need a little motivation to abandon their comfort zone.

3. Social situations routinely cause grief for introverts, as they struggle with small talk with strangers. They appreciate friends who understand and encourage them in stressful social settings.

4. Networking can frustrate introverts who aren’t prepared for that kind of interaction. Pitching new projects to a publisher at large events can be an overwhelming task for introvert writers. So, practicing their pitches with other writers can boost their confidence.

5. Focus can also challenge introverts since they tend to be distracted in intense environments. They may need to consider taking a few tips about planning schedules and sticking to deadlines from their more organized friends.

6. REST is a basic need for everyone. Facing my own weaknesses proved to be another opportunity to utilize my prayer strategy of REST: Remember, Exalt, Surrender, and Trust, based on Philippians 4:5-7.

. . . The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (NIV). (Phil. 4:5-7 NIV)

7. Prayer. During my worst moments under the stress of over-stimulating social situations and networking challenges, I searched for some personal space, and put this prayer strategy from Lamentations 3:28-29 into practice: “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear” (The Message).

Remembering and focusing on the presence of God enables me to exalt his Word over my circumstances, surrender my weaknesses and burdens to him, and trust him to guard my heart and my mind with his peace.

Are you an introvert, living in an extrovert’s world? What strategies help you when the energy of others is zapping the strength out of you?

10 Tips For Writing an Effective Query Letter…

10 query tips again

Whether you’re pitching an article or submitting a book proposal, your query letter—or your cover letter—needs to convince a publisher to keep reading. As you’re writing, remember that the reader will be tempted to check out and check Facebook. It’s your job to grab and keep a reader’s attention!

1. An effective query letter is concise.

Demonstrate you’re an effective communicator with the efficient use of words. (1 page!)

2. An effective query letter states your intention.

Be clear, up front, whether you’re pitching an article or looking for a publisher.

3. An effective query letter is personal.

Address your letter to a particular person. Has he or she represented or published something similar to your project? Make a meaningful connection with the recipient.

4. An effective query letter clearly identifies your premise.

What is the one thing this book or article aims to do? Clearly identify the singular unifying thesis.

5. An effective query letter identifies a reader’s felt need.

Why should this be published? What need does it meet? Who has this need? How will reader be helped?

6. An effective query letter captures and holds a reader’s attention.

Hook reader’s attention with colorful anecdote. Then, work to keep it.

7. An effective query letter communicates your competence.

Highlight the elements of your bio or resume most relevant to this project.

8. An effective query letter pulses with your passion.

Demonstrate your enthusiasm for this project.

9. An effective query letter balances confidence with humility.

Thank the reader for her/his time and offer your availability to discuss project further. Demonstrate humility and teachability.

10. An effective query letter is error-free.

It’s one page. Be fastidious.

Cheering you on,
Margot

10 Tips For Crafting Your Book Proposal

10 proposal tips

Every sentence of your book proposal should have one person in mind: the reader. Whether you’re submitting it to an agent or an editor, that “first reader” will be holding the “ultimate reader” in her heart and mind as she reads. Your job is to meet the reader’s needs—both that first reader and the eventual one—by communicating efficiently and effectively.

1. Don’t get visually fancy.

Elaborate fonts, colors and graphics distract. Use Times New Roman 12 pt font in a Microsoft Word doc or PDF. Rule of thumb? Keep it simple.

2. Employ plain language.

High-fallutin’ intellectual language is only appropriate for academic books. More often, communicate using a conversational voice.

3. Write in the third person.

Compose your proposal in the third person, as if your agent or a professional collaborator has prepared it—allowing you to brag a bit.

4. Be clear and concise.

When a reader sets down your proposal, he or she can easily identify the premise of your book. Make the reader’s job easy; don’t use more words than are necessary to communicate effectively.

5. Avoid extremes.

Claiming every person always feels a certain way distracts reader by challenging her to search for an exception. “Most” and “often” are more effective.

6. Communicate value for the reader.

Throughout your proposal, make explicit the takeaway value for the reader who purchases and reads your book.

7. Title effectively.

Your working title suggests the book’s premise and the subtitle its promise. Avoid titles that are either too generic or too clever—both making the premise difficult to identify.

8. Prove you will market your book.

Don’t just say you’ll help with promotion. Offer concrete plans you will put into effect.

9. Practice Humility

Don’t oversell, insisting Oprah will return to daytime TV just to promote this book. And be cautious, even with faith-based publishers, about claiming that God told you to write it. #redflag

10. Offer an error-free proposal.

If you’re not paying for a professional critique, have a word-loving friend scour your final draft for grammatical or typographical errors.

Cheering you on,
Margot