I have been doing some research to find out if I am the only extroverted writer in the world. Obviously not, but a Google search of “Famous Extroverted Writers” will pull up thousands of hits about introverted writers. It feels like a lost cause.
During a vacation to Jamaica my wife and I took last spring, we were faced with the glaring difference of introverts (her) and extroverts (me). We were at a resort for 6 days. By the fourth, I turned into a moody brat. I walked around the gorgeous beaches with a scowl on my face. The rum punch couldn’t even help.
It wasn’t until that evening when we realized that I was socially drained. Not in the sense that I’d been around too many people all week, but in the fact that we had spoken to no one the entire time. Dana was having a blast, but I needed to talk to strangers if I was going to enjoy the rest of the trip.
We went and played drinking games with a few of the other guests that night, and my socio-meter filled. It was two-fold awesome, because I won all the games.
I’m currently reading a helpful/unhelpful book. Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. I’m reading this mostly because I’m trying to better understand my wife’s preferred energy reboot. In the book, Cain talks about how introverts have the focus-power to deliberately practice his/her passion or skill. That’s why bestselling authors are able to write such masterpieces: because they don’t need people around for energy. They chisel out time in their lives to be alone, focus and be brilliant.
That sounds harsh on the extrovert. I would like to tout the fact that I deliberately practice my writing. I focus and write several thousand words per day. But that’s simply not the case.
If I choose to stay home, I rarely open my laptop. If I go to a coffee shop, I meet friends so we can “work” together. Also, since coffee shops are expensive, I’ve been finding myself at libraries instead. This doesn’t help because it’s quiet. I don’t have the social stimuli to rev up the creative juices.
Am I a lost cause? Will I ever finish my first book so I can start on one of the other 13 grand ideas I have simmering on the back burner?
No. I’m not. Sometimes I believe that I am, but I cannot fall into that trap. Ninty-eight percent of my favorite authors are introverts (I just made that number up. Maybe all of them are. I can’t find extroverted authors on Google), but I will work my hardest to become one of the few successful extroverted writers.
How? Focusing. Accepting my fate as a hopeless extrovert, and using that to my benefit. I will seek out bustling coffee shops to write in and invite my friends to join me there. It will take me longer to finish my projects, but that’s a sacrifice I have no choice but to make. Unless, of course, an editor needs 500 pages revised in three weeks. I’ll deal with that once I get a book contract.
I will also build on the platform that was created for introverts: blogs! Blogs offered an outlet for introverts to express ideas from the comfort of their own home. Cain talks about an introvert who would never raise her hand during a lecture hall class, but could easily go home and write a post for thousands of people to read. Blogs have definitely changed from their early days, but it’s still a huge venue for introverts and extroverts alike to spread ideas.
If you are an extroverted writer, perhaps you’ve felt the discouraging pressure. Being passionate in a field that lends itself to a personality type that doesn’t fit you makes you question if you should just give up. I’ve questioned it many times. But I keep going back to the fact that this is what I love. This is what makes me come alive. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Why should I turn my back on that just because I like people around?
Let me know if you have any helpful suggestions for me. I’m always looking for new motivation tools. If you don’t give up, I won’t either.