The Introvert Writer

Why do introverts make good writers? According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, “They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.”

That being said, how do you know if you are an introvert? The obvious answer is you enjoy being alone. And, when you are alone, you are more productive, you have more time to be introspective, you can work without interruption, and take breaks to daydream or walk whenever you want. Gloria Kopp has a written an interesting blog, “7 Reasons Why Introverts Are Good At Writing.” It is short, to the point, and worth the read.

To be fair, there are advantages to being an extrovert writer as well. Extroverts are exposed to a wider range of experiences and people from which to draw their stories. Extroverts love to talk and love an audience. They recharge their batteries in social situations, while introverts recharge by spending time alone. It’s not that one personality is superior to the other. You are what you are, and your job as a writer is to make the most of it.

A revealing exercise is to ask yourself which character in your novel is most like you. For me, it is not the assertive outgoing female protagonist, Emily, as some would assume. It’s her counterpart, Abe Freeman, the reclusive loner from the East Coast. Abe is never comfortable in large groups, feels awkward in social situations, has trouble making small-talk, and would rather be hiking in the woods alone or with his dog than spending time with people. At a party, he’s the fly on the wall, the one standing right outside of the group, not involved in the conversation, and always looking for an excuse to escape early. It’s not that he doesn’t like people. It’s just that he hates superficial socializing. Charles Bukowski once said, ” I don’t hate people. I just feel better when they’re not around.”

This post by Rachel Ginder does an excellent job of explaining from the introvert’s point of view.

To use a phrase from Ginder’s article: “When I socialize, I’m not looking for a way to just pass the time. I already have a full list of hobbies and interests and not enough hours in the day to enjoy them all. But I am always looking for a new person with whom I can share my passions and my world. Sometimes meeting that one new person can be worth the agony of socializing. I like to think I’m the kind of person worth socializing for, and I know I’m not the only one of my kind.”

In conclusion, it is about being with people you feel comfortable with, who you can speak openly about ideas with, and who will not judge you when and if you disagree.



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Sandra Bolton

Sandra Bolton is the author of two novels: A Cipher in the Sand and Key Witness, A Southwest Mystery. She lives in Raton, New Mexico with her big black dog, Sam and fat cat, Fidel. Writing is her passion, along with hiking, gardening, cooking, eating and laughing whenever possible. Her goal in life is to do no harm to any living thing or to our beautiful earth.