The Introverted Writer’s Dilemma

You readers of this blog should know by now that I’m an introvert, and happily so. I don’t consider myself, or any given introvert superior to extroverted types, as there are pluses and minuses to both temperaments. That extends to my writing as well.

The vast majority of time, I consider my introversion a plus as far as writing is concerned. I think introversion in general is a slight advantage when it comes to writing, especially fiction. Sort of like being white in chess is a slight advantage, though many brilliant games have been won playing black.

Introverts spend much time inside their own heads, exploring their own imaginations. We do this even if we have no specific creative agenda; we just gravitate inward much of the time. The benefits of this tendency to a writer, or a creative artist in general are obvious. Images, characters, scenarios, phrases, poems, all shining about in the jewel case of the introvert mind.

Yet once in a while it can work against a writer. Sometimes being an introvert means sinking so far into one’s own imagination that things become if not overwhelming than at least tiring. Instead of a specific idea for this story, we find ourselves confronting a nebulous (though usually friendly) monster called “Imagination!” When that happens it can sometimes be difficult for introverts, or at least this introvert, to make sense of what his subconscious is presenting. Like trying to listen to four songs at once. You need someone to direct traffic.

Or you have a coherent set of ideas, but you don’t know what to do with them. Is this a novel, a play, a poem? Is it just a random breeze blowing across my cheek as I hike through my own mind? An introvert writer can enjoy the chaos this entails, but must also be able to sort out the madness for a while, and come up for air so actual writing gets done. Usually this is simply a matter of discipline. But sometimes it is a difficult tide to stem.

As always I’m happy to be introverted, and I have no doubt that being so has been a huge net positive for my creative endeavors. But with the productivity and the positive sometimes comes the haphazard and the negative. Sometimes even the scary, if an introvert looks deep enough for too long into themselves. And even then there is probably some good material for writing, if we can sort it out.

 

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4 Comments

  1. There’s always the danger of getting lost in your own imagination; you’re definitely right there. I sometimes wonder if being introverted makes it harder in the beta reading and editing stage — is it more difficult to ask others to read your writing? Does being introverted make it harder to share, even to publish? I’ve always had a hard time with sharing, myself, but I don’t think it’s due to introversion so much as perfectionism.

  2. I think my introversion might have something to do with that initial sharing of some of my stuff being difficult. I know I have to do it of course, but I also know that others will probably not see it in the way i saw and felt it when i wrote it, much of the time.

    My introversion is certainly at play as i try to market what I’ve written, like my story collection on Amazon.

    • I can imagine…But I, at least, find it slightly easier to be more extroverted on social media than in real life. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. Still, the qualities that make you introverted certainly seem to make you a perceptive writer/blogger.

  3. Social media does somewhat enhance the extroverted spectrum of my personality. (Which all introverts have to some extent.) I am trying to harness that for the marketing and promotion side of this writing thing I do. Message boards and twitter, etc. Maybe if I can master my extroverted side in just my marketing I will be all set! =)

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