Struggles of the Extroverted Writer

It’s well-known that writers tend to be an introverted breed. After all, the lifestyle requires it. Hours bent over a notepad/typewriter/keyboard (depending on what era you live in and how much you like to defy common technology), scribbling/tapping out stories letter by letter, ripping your brains out over the common likeness of the human soul…not to mention, who would WANT to go outside when you could sit indoors all day reading? Writers tout their introverted flag with pride. For example, see this awesome mug made by Cait @Paper Fury at Society6.

PaperFury Mug
(#notsponsored. However, you should go buy her merch anyway because it’s awesome.)

It’s clear that extroverts, while cuddly and cute and good for that cheerleader character you need for the plot, are really not cut out for the writing life. After all, how can you write when you’re hanging out with friends 24/7? Right? Right?

Wow, I wish I hung out with friends 24/7. Now I’m sad about my life.

Okay, so the thing is, obviously extroverts can be writers too. Case in point, I am an extrovert, and I have written the thing you are currently reading. Boom. So take heart, ye extroverted writers! Ye are not alone, despite being in the minority!

And now, for your viewing pleasure…a list.

Struggles of the Extroverted Writer. (Or EW, as I like to call them.)

  1. Needing people time.

I mean, this is indeed the biggest thing about being an extrovert. People = must hang out. Not an option. But the nice thing is, you can hang out with people and still write. Ergo NaNoWriMo and pretty much any writing group out there. However, it’s really hard to actually SSAW (Sit Still And Write) when all your best buds are around, which brings me to the equal and opposite problem:

  1. Needing Time Alone to SSAW

Because friends = hang out, sometimes we really have to force ourselves to sit alone and write. (At least I do. And I am 100% indicative of all EWs. I don’t know why you’re doubting me.) For me, this can lead to an actual dreading of writing, because if I have no ideas I’ll just be banging my head against the keyboard thinking “I could be doing something else right now!”

  1. Recognizing that Pinterest is not the catch-all for inspiration

Pinterest is blind to the E/I scale. It will suck you in. No matter who you are. No matter what you do. You. Will. Die. (What? Turn off the internet? HOW DARE YOU.)

  1. Feeling like maybe you’re not “introverted enough” to write.

Okay, so perhaps I shall disqualify myself here, but…I am almost an ambivert. (Cue scandaled screaming.) I think I’m about 50-60% E on the 16 Personalities Myers-Briggs test. However. I would like to contest that this makes this problem even worse for me, because I am ALMOST an introvert, but NOT. At the end of the day I still need significant human interaction to function, which is the true mark of the extrovert, but it’s probably not AS hard for me to shut myself away as it might be for some more extroverty extroverts.

Point is, when it seems like almost the whole writing community is introverts, it can be kind of daunting to realize that there are people who can shut themselves away for 8-12 hours a day and do nothing but write. But of course, WE’RE NOT ALONE. Like seriously. Just Google EW, and you’ll get…weird pictures. But Google “extroverted writers” and you’ll get at least 5 more blogs on this same topic.

I’m original. I promise.

  1. Learning to embrace THE EXTROVERTED PROCESS.

Okay, I’ll be real here. I have no idea if there’s any such thing as “an extroverted process.” But I had a grand realization yesterday — angels singing, lights shining — it was the best — and I decided to share with all my extroverted (and introverted) friends.

I actually get my best ideas when I’m doing something NOT related to writing.

True, the ideas I get when I’m in the process of writing are good, too, but here’s the point. I don’t get ideas by sitting inside staring at a screen. I get ideas when I’m picking strawberries with my siblings. When I’m goofing off in the swimming pool. The second I wake up in the morning. (Okay, that only happened once, but the light was at a REALLY good angle that day.) I’ve even gotten ideas while scrubbing the toilet. And maybe this has something to do with the fact that I’m an ENFP-T in particular, and also can’t sit still and do better when I’m moving around, but pshaw. I’m sure that’s not related at all.

During my sophomore year of college (can’t believe that’s already over), I realized I LOVE brainstorming aloud with a friend. Like, I like it even better than writing. My roommate and I spent hours discussing her story ideas, adding onto them, twisting them, building the worlds… (We never did mine because that way it wasn’t my job to go WRITE these ideas 😀 Love you Mikhaela) It was amazing. And I loved it even more because it was WRITING WITH PEOPLE.

So, to all the EWs out there: don’t stifle your extroversion. Let it shine! Like a…something or other. Candle? Piece of scrap metal in the sunlight.

Ahem. Just stay with me.

Actually don’t, because this post is over.

Stay crazy, my friends.

4 thoughts on “Struggles of the Extroverted Writer

  1. I’m an ENFP as well! 😀 I really enjoy writing. Being homeschooled, I’ve not been around as much people, but I still hang out with my many siblings, so i get people time. Writing is one of my favorite things to do because it helps me organize my messy brain, and I have the ability (and power) to create worlds! 😀

  2. Wowie what an original post! Thank you for sharing this! I’m personally an introvert, but even I go a little bonkers if I’m inside reading, writing and blogging all day long. I usually take long walks either in the morning or evening in order to separate my reading and writing tasks. Also, walking is a wonderful way to get some much exercise but is a lovely opportunity for coming up with writing ideas!

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