Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Both are often misunderstood by each other.
This writer and blogger is a confirmed introvert. I am declaring it loud and proud, well maybe more in a quietly confident manner.
No disrespect intended to extroverts at any point in the proceedings, but for goodness sake, stop being so chirpy and shouty will you? I’m trying to make my voice heard here.
Common Introvert Myths
- We don’t like people: we are actually selective in choosing who we spend time with because we keep our gatherings small and perfectly formed.
- We shun all social activities and spaces: we will go to the pub or the shops. We even take off our invisibility cloaks every now and again.
- We are all shy: some of us are and some of us aren’t. It doesn’t come with the territory.
- We aren’t rejecting you when we turn down your party invite: it’s the party we don’t want to be part of, not your life. Unless you’re a git.
- Introverts don’t know how to have fun: watch us go after a few shandies or when we are in a group of valued friends. We can be chatty little blighters then.
- Introverts can be moulded into extroverts with some pushing: no, we can’t. You do your thing and we will do ours. We like some of you but we cannot be you any more than you can be us.
- All writers are introverts: some are, some aren’t, same as any pursuit in life.
- We value our personal space: tread gently and ask for permission to enter.
- We can be social: as long as it’s not for too long and we know where the exits are.
- We recharge by having some time alone: this doesn’t mean we spend more time alone than anyone else. We can get over stimulated by social interaction. Just the right amount is good for us.
- We feel energised by solo activities: reading, writing, art, creating, to name a few.
- We’re not fans of small talk: when we are talking to you, we’d rather chat about something that counts than useless, never-ending observations of the weather.
- We like people: not all of them, but definitely some. We do not hate humans, unless they are cockwombles.
- We aren’t all sensitive little flowers: yes, we process a lot, but introverts are no more emotionally fragile than extroverts.
Writing as an Introvert’s Solitary Bliss
This introverted writer and blogger cannot believe that it took so long to realise that writing is an introvert paradise.
I have previously worked in retail and customer service, which of course by their very nature mean interacting with a lot of people. My former deluded self was convinced that I was a socially outgoing woman who wanted to relate to and help the world. Oh, to be young and foolish.
Let’s just say that a long stint in helping the public has helped this lady to realise that writing is where it is at.
I can spend hours working alone, tapping away at the keyboard in my beautiful introvert bubble. I have the luxury of not having to utter a single syllable throughout the day.
When cabin fever sets in, the internet becomes the social and procrastination gift that just keeps on giving.
In my writing space you will find this introvert lioness proudly protecting her young; Feegle (the only company allowed, due to a cat’s inability to spout incessant crap), and emerging blog posts, novels and short stories *laughs at the optimistic pluralisation*.
Caution: do not phone, knock on the door or, horrors, talk to me when I inhabit the writing introvert planet. This lioness bites.
Leave me alone with my thoughts, ideas, and a demanding kitty cat, and you will come home to someone who actually has something fairly interesting to say and will interact with you. I can hear the Husband thanking the introvert’s writing gods from here.
When Writing is no Longer Solitary
In first draft nirvana we can often forget that one day, unless we are prepared to die smothered by crumpled up unedited typed paragraphs; we and our writing will have to face the public.
Writing is the introvert’s best friend when it comfortably snuggles up to us in the safety of the ‘First Drafts’ documents folder. However, writing can be somewhat of an extrovert with its demands to be seen, heard and displayed for all to see.
Writing will often have to be shared at some point. Be it beta readers, blog followers or the golden readers of the published piece; we are going to have to interact with the wider world. Strangers even *lies down before she faints*.
Let’s not be totally negative and perpetuate the introvert myth of being angsty souls who listen to ‘The Smiths’ on a loop, although there’s nowt wrong with that. Sharing can be good. It can result in encouraging blog post comments, amazing reviews and positive feedback.
Introverted writers and bloggers, hold on to these possibilities from the safety behind the sofa, bracing yourself for the outside world to hit you with their engagement.
The Scary Self-Promotion Trail
From the moment I started writing proper, I was barraged by the advice that I must get social media savvy from the off. I recoiled in fear at having to self-promote. I have since learnt that you can do it, in your own way.
I play the game. I am even genuine (believe me, many aren’t). I have learnt to do it but it does not always come easily.
For an introvert, self-promotion is akin to streaking naked through London whilst the event is simultaneously streamed live across the world. I have learned how to cover up some of my ‘bits’ so as not to let it all hang out but I often find myself checking what is on show. I have to face my family after all.
Of course I’d rather be snuggled up in multiple layers and my blankie, safely in my writing cave, chucking my blog posts and writings out at the world for them to snap up. However, this writing and blogging gig just doesn’t work like that.
I am constantly learning how letting the world know my thoughts on writing and offering up written pieces isn’t all, ‘Me, me, me’. It’s what writers and bloggers do. It is work.
For now I’ll just hope that I can actually offer you a novel some day and not consider the self-promotion implications in the meantime.
The Scary ‘Social’ of Social Media
When I set up my Facebook writer’s page and Twitter account I had no idea of what and how much I needed to share with the lovely followers.
I’ve never been that woman who takes pictures of every meal and expects the t’interweb world to share in the experience. I’d much rather have intimate dinners for two with my husband than the imposition of hundreds of people commenting on how soggy my pasta is. Not that it ever is, cheeky.
What the hell did people who overshare on social media do before it was created? Did they phone all their friends to let them know that they were having a curry tonight, made by their own fair hand?
I’ve since learnt that social media can operate on the level of personal that you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to share every cough and spit. In fact the world will be grateful if you don’t, unless you’re a food blogger who is just spoiling for a fight regarding how ‘al dente’ the pasta is.
Social media does have its positive points for the introvert. After all, we can be ‘social’ from afar.
Back in the day we had to do this socialising thing face-to-face. Now I can sit in my PJs, with serious bed head, and set the world to rights without losing any respectability. Until I write something, that is.
I’ve made some genuine friends from social media. I may never meet them but they remain people I want to regularly connect with. This is introvert bliss.
I can choose when I am available without appearing rude. I can decide if I want to meet these people in the actual flesh (we may be skirting dangerously back around nudity analogies).
For now, I’ll just interact and let you know about life and my writery world from the safety of my make-up free, potentially scary to children and vulnerable adults visage, introvert utopia.
Engaging on My Blog
I shall tread very carefully here as you’re reading this blog and anything that is seen as derogatory in this section will soon mean you’re no longer reading this blog *grabs on to your leg in an introverted ‘please don’t notice’ manner*.
I love it when you comment. That could be because I don’t have to deal with strangers in person but I genuinely enjoy that you read my posts and then take the time to respond to them. I hope you notice that I endeavour to reply to every comment.
I want you to know that I’m here, acknowledging you, and I honestly like ‘talking back’ to you.
I like writing, both for me and you. I feel honoured when you tell me you like it back.
I like knowing people exist and could be potential readers.
I like that I’ve made friends with some of you through shared experiences and mutual interests.
I like that some of you regularly read my posts and know that this blog and I exist.
I may be an introvert but I genuinely like you being in my life; little and often.
Thanks for being part of this introvert’s life, both those close by and from a distance. You’re welcome in this virtual introvert bubble but keep the noise down, don’t speak before coffee happens in the mornings, and acknowledge that weather reports are best given by the forecaster and not through inane chatter.