Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert Writer?

by Joe Bunting | 72 comments

The stereotype goes that writers are introverts – lonely, secluded souls who spend their days exclusively with their words. As much as this holds true for many, it doesn’t cover the whole bunch.

Whereas some need to travel away and shut themselves down in order to focus on the project at hand, others thrive in  environments full of people, jotting down their thoughts in cafes and bars.

There is, however, a third category for the luckiest of all – those who strike a balance between these two extremes. They call them ambiverts.

introverts, extroverts, ambiverts, writers, secluded, lonely

Photo by David Mican

Nowadays, when a writer is supposed to be a public figure, a marketer, a speaker and a promoter at the same time, being an extrovert is becoming valued far more.

But this isn’t something you can force on yourself easily. Personality is difficult to change; one’s nature is innate and a result of one’s early development.

You have to wonder occasionally what it is like to be different and which one is the preferable option. Obviously, both have their advantages and disadvantages:

Introverts Explore Depths

1. Better listeners

It’s a great talent to be able to listen and it goes to the introverts. Listening to someone’s life stories is a fantastic tool for writers.

2. More time for writing

This isn’t to say that extrovert writers devote less time to writing, but in general introverts spend more time alone and have the option to use their time differently to extroverts. Rather than going out in a bar, they can read, go for walks, and yes – write.

3. Deeper sensibilities

When you spend more time alone, you inevitably explore yourself, which carries you to unknown depths. Using this quality in your writing brings an irreplaceable value.

Extroverts Have Direct Experience

1. Larger exposure to people and their stories

Socializing with numerous people inevitably leads to meeting various kinds of personalities and provides an exposure to people’s stories – an important writing resource.

2. Higher likelihood of direct experience

If you’re open to experience like an extrovert, you’ll embrace whatever comes your way. Getting out there means action, rather than intention and passivity. Direct experience gives you more material to write it.

3. More flexibility

Being able to write anywhere, in all kinds of conditions, instead of looking for an isolated retreat brings flexibility that is needed in day to day life and work. When you’re able to work under any condition, you’ll be a more productive and prolific writer.

Whatever you are, one thing is for sure: You and your unique sensibility make you the idiosyncratic talent that you are.

Over to you: Is there a better and worse on this issue? Where do you find yourself and do you ever wish you were at the other end of the spectrum?

PRACTICE

For fifteen minutes write about yourself as the opposite personality self. If you’re an introvert, write about an imaginary extroverted self; if an extrovert the other way round. When you’re done, post your practice in the comments.

As usual, support others’ practices by giving them a feedback.

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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72 Comments

  1. bluepen

    She stood in the room, the sunlight dappled white across the
    walls and there was quiet. Her mug of
    tea was cradled close and she could feel the heat exude from it. Soon, it would be ready to drink and then she
    would sit down and get started, but for now, she daydreamed. In her mind there were colours and bustle,
    she could feel the muggy heat of the city and the closeness of people as they
    rushed past. The smell of cars and sweat
    and food and heat hung in the air as she laboured her way through the mass and
    crossed the road; she was late now – late and under pressure to not let them
    down. Her bag pulled heavy on her
    shoulder and she pulled it tight to stop it jostling against the people around
    her. At the other side of the road she
    entered the office, through grand glass doors, and entered the bright, cool foyer. Now, the real work would begin.

    The tea was cool now, so she sat down, and in the peace of
    her room, picked up her pen.

    Reply
    • eva rose

      Beautifully expressed images, “Sunlight dappled white”, “mug of tea cradled close” “In her mind there were colours and bustle”. I could see and feel it.

    • bluepen

      Eva, thank you, it is my first attempt, so I really appreciate your feedback!!

    • Susan Anderson

      I could feel the environment in this piece, and the apprehension and responsibility that a writer feels. At once a burden and a privilege.

    • bluepen

      Thank you Susan!

    • Winnie

      Is she aware of those little things around her that mean so much because she’s off to face the hurly-burly of the ruthless business world?

    • bluepen

      Winne, that is a good question and it certainly made me think! On reflection, I am not sure she does. I think she might be more aware of the hurly burly as it teeters just outside her comfort zone and into the world of folk that our out there and part of the buzz.

    • Winnie

      Should be interesting to see how that’s shown in the story arc.

  2. NoahDavid Lein

    I’ve always tested right smack in the middle – an ambivert. So I guess the opposite of me would be… not complicated?

    Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Susan Anderson

    Ambivert! I like that. I have always thought that in categorizing just about anything, there is the proclamation that one is either/or. I rarely see that there is a balance of both. So I guess with age, that is what I am, an ambivert.
    So here it is: She wakes to the aroma of coffee set up from the night before. Coffee is her only companion today– besides her vintage typewriter. She has already scribbled a story in a $1.49 spiral notebook. The re-write should be easy, with few typos. Her preference for the old communicator, inked ribbon, and white-out included, is that she is honest with her mistakes. She takes responsibility. What she lacks in human company, she nestles in with her comfy Queen Anne chair and furry feline. Her heart pours from the pen from an old wound and the solitude of writing seems to be the only therapy.
    Type…type…type.
    She breaks, sets down her reading glasses, and unclips her loosely bunned hair. She is done with solitude, for now. She joins the crowd after school in the kitchen. Peanut butter cookies with the fork criss-cross and a glass of milk are just what her kids like after pounding the playground pavement and the rough socialization of the school bus. She shoves a chicken in the oven and chops veggies. The phone rings. Hubby will be home after awhile. “Do you need anything at the store?”
    She returns, “No babe. Just you.”

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Characters with two roles and sides, as you’ve detailed her, are instantly interesting characters.

    • Jay Warner

      I totally agree.

    • Susan Anderson

      We are complicated human beings…souls of flesh and spirit, lives that live for self and others. Thank you for the compliment, James.

    • James Hall

      Characterization can be very hard for me because I think I over-think the characters. For a given moment, it only takes a handful of things to define our characters. It is the course of their lives that make them complicated.

      I guess what I’m saying is the most simple things about us are often the most interesting.

    • Jay Warner

      Love this. The balance of the character makes her interesting and intriguing at the same time. I like the term ambivert, and I like the term omnivert even more. I think that’s what I am.

    • Susan Anderson

      Thank you Jay. Can you explain omnivert?

    • Jay Warner

      Had to think about it for a bit. “Omnivert” is a made up word. I think of ambivert (which I believe is another made up word, but not by me) as someone who can comfortably switch back and forth between introvert and extrovert but still keep the two separate. An omnivert can be both extrovert and introvert at the same time and everything on the continuum in between. I am actually a true introvert most of the time, as defined by how I energize myself, which is mostly alone. I tend to lean toward extroverted activities/occupations such as teaching, town board trustee, etc., but I get my energy from being alone. I can write equally well alone or in a public setting, but at the end of the day if I can’t spend some time by myself, I feel exhausted and irritable. On the other hand, if I spend too much time alone I get restless and distracted. In a nutshell, omnivert is sliding along the path between the two poles with ease rather than switching from one to the other. Hope I haven’t made this more confusing than it was before. And, this is all opinion of course, others may disagree.

    • Michelle Mieras

      Really like this description. I too, am more of an ‘omnivert’ in day to day life. As a writer though, I lean more towards introvert.

    • Sophie Novak

      This is a great explanation Jay. Love it and I can really identify myself with it.

    • Lisa

      A wonderful explanation! I had only just stumbled on the idea of an “ambivert” and was wondering if that would explain my conflicting feelings about being committing to a label of introverted or extroverted. Then, seeing “omnivert” as described by you, I immediately felt myself in your words. Your comment has triggered a related issue that I’ve struggled to understand, especially in my life as a writer. It’s kind of long-winded, but I thought that maybe putting this out there would resonate with someone who has similar struggles to mine.

      I have a hard time discerning whether I’m a true introvert or extrovert or really a combination of both. Part of that is because I have both ADHD and generalized anxiety so I’ll have multiple conflicting feelings in any situation whether I’m isolated or alone, but surrounded by people. I think that the time I feel the most relaxed and creative is when I talk to other people, but in small groups or one-on-one. However, due to my random bouts of anxiety and having ADHD, this will also depend on my mood at the time and the overall situation (time and place, etc).

      I get significant or equal energy from being alone sometimes, for sure, but I often have a harder time focusing because my brain is so easily distracted and flies off into every random thought that glances by as I’m trying to concentrate. I play music and sometimes just put on a TV show with the sound turned low to have some “white noise” to filter out my brain’s background noise, i.e. anxious thoughts.

      Being alone in a sea of people makes it easier for me to narrow my focus sometimes because that chatter acts as my white noise. But there’s a fine line between that and it becoming a distraction because I catch a few words of conversation or my anxieties about being in large groups (and of lots of people looking at me), and it takes me away from my productive thoughts into anxiety-fueled ones.

      I get the most energy when I’m moving around (the restlessness and easily bored side of ADHD), but as soon as I sit and try to put those energized thoughts to work, I’m quickly distracted again. I find it best when I basically do a little bit of everything as long as I can keep my anxiety at bay. I’ll sit, read, and reflect quietly; take breaks to call or hang out with a friend socially for a bit; get up and walk around (preferably outside); and consistently jotting down my thoughts the whole time so I don’t forget them immediately when I go to sit, reflect and get back to my task.

      Unexpected interruptions are a death sentence for my productivity though. I become irritable and have a much harder time getting back on track. I’ve tried to get over that by finding inspiration or a new idea when the interruption happens, if possible.

      But I agree with the idea of “omnivert”, anxiety and ADHD aside, I find that I can’t spend too much introverted time or too much extroverted time. I need a balance of both and I find it easy to slide from one to the other, in fact, it seems to help keep my momentum going.

      Sorry for the long ramble! Maybe somebody will find what I said to be true for themselves as well. 🙂 I’d love to hear from anyone in a similar position.

    • AL

      Enjoyed this. The details were great. Since I have a cat, I’m curious about the furry feline in the chair. Mine used to lay on top of a cabinet and watch. Then switch to the printer to warm up.

    • Stephanie Nickel

      I was there. And now I want peanut butter cookies. 🙂

    • Tiffany Roney

      I like this! I like your writing style and how you described the balance of introversion and extroversion. Where can I read more of your work?

  4. Trish Feehan

    Thanks, Sophie! I’ve just recently been in discussions with other writers about being introverts. How the newbie mistake is to write characters who are introspective and passive. Unfortunately, that can make for a boring read! So we do definitely have to embrace both aspects of our nature (even if more inclined one way or the other) to write characters with depth who also take the initiative, get out there and take action!

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Introverted characters have darn good monologues and internal conflict. A book should be balanced with introverts and extroverts.

    • Jay Warner

      many authors have been successful with characters who are introspective and passive – it’s called stream of consciousness. I wouldn’t say that James Joyce, William Faulkner, or Wallace Stegner were making newbie mistakes. I understand your point, but I don’t believe that introspective characters are by necessity boring. Superficial characters who are on the go (but don’t think much) can be unappealing as well.

    • Winnie

      Is the ‘stream of consciousness’ you mention the same as what they call today the ‘deep point of view’ where the writer digs deep into a character’s mind?

    • Jay Warner

      I think of stream of consciousness more of a running conversation inside one’s head where not much action takes place externally, but a lot happens internally. Think of Sound and Fury by William Faulkner. Four different people having conversations inside their head without clear transitions and most of the action is either past tense or somehow muted by internal dialogue. Ulysses by James Joyce is another excellent example of this technique. Two books by Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose, and Crossing to Safety, are fascinating stories but most of the action takes place in the narrator’s internal thoughts about what is going on around him (both narrators are male in this case). A lot happens even when nothing is happening. I am not sure how this relates to the “deep point of view”, but this is how I see the stream of consciousness style of writing. There is no right or wrong way to write, just as there is no right or wrong style preference for readers.

    • Winnie

      Thanks for your reply. I intend to read Faulkner and James Joyce again in the near future and will watch out for this.

    • bluepen

      What a really fascinating reply! I am a newbie, so will look out some of these books and read them with fresh eyes…

    • Sophie Novak

      I agree that introspective characters aren’t boring. At least to me. Actually, those are my favorites.

  5. eva rose

    It’s hard to think like an extrovert! Honestly, I often wonder what I might be missing by holding back, by a conservative approach to life, by often observing rather than doing. But Mom used to say, “There is a need for an audience for those on stage.”

    I have no trouble talking to anyone, to listening and empathizing. I just can’t seem to jump out of the plane, to ride the scary roller coaster, to travel to India.

    I’ve tried different styles of writing, some with more success than others. Once a writer told me to stick with what I do best, where I’ve had success before.

    What is the happy medium?

    I would like to experiment with different types of writing. Do daring experiences come first, or daring poetry and prose?

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Which comes first, experiences or the writing.

      The amazing thing is that with writing and imagination we can write about things we have never or could never experience. Sometimes I wonder if we can’t be so deeply into our writing to be nearly close enough to be experiencing that of which we write. When we don’t have the resources, maybe writing is just as good.

    • eva rose

      Thanks so much, I believe that too! Maybe our focus should be to extend our imagination

    • Sophie Novak

      Whatever comes naturally is what is right for us – that’s my reasoning, but experimenting is definitely welcome.

  6. James Hall

    I lean to the introverted side, though I have skills of both. I can write around other people, but I often block them out. If I am stuck or having a hard time writing, I usually need a quiet place to get back on the boat.

    ——————————————————————-

    “You’re a man now. Gone from me is that cuddly boy of yesterday.” She glanced back at the clock, the carven forget-me-nots at the bottom a dull blue in the gray of morning. “That boy that’d bring me the grandly-tufted lilacs of early spring, bouquets of white and purple, or the deep cherry asters picked as the last fairy spread open its Fall bloom. 0 how I’ve dreaded the day the last petal would fall. Yet, even that day has come and gone, and now stands before me a man, sharp and gentle as a summer’s breeze. Though time may change how I show you my love, time cannot change my love. My heart clings to that child as he once clung to me. Always will you be that little boy. Mama loves her dillydown fawning.”

    Reply
    • Susan Anderson

      Very nice, James. I was just writing about this sort of thing about my sons, in another piece.

    • James Hall

      My character’s parents are introduced and killed almost immediately. Problem is, I don’t want it to seem fake or the readers to not care. I don’t have much time for the reader to make a good attachment to the parents. Yet, it doesn’t seem like it should take that much to do.

      Maybe I need to ask more simple questions of them. I tend to ask for the deep and important ones, instead of the simple ones. But, apparently, they don’ often come in this order.

    • Susan Anderson

      I think an older son could handle it. Sixteen is young. I can picture myself saying to my sons at that age and feeling uncomfortable. They seem to like it when I kind of come in the back or side door, and speak in generalities. If I speak about them all as one and the same, they like that. They also like that I love them all, equally. They seem interested in the era of their babyhood, because they don’t remember it.

    • James Hall

      Thanks for these comments. They help.

      I might actually be able to pull off something close to this because it is in the medieval era, he is an only child, and because she will be saying this just before she and her husband tell him that he was essentially “adopted”. That was another issue that I saw, I tried to jump into the punch line on that too fast. So, hopefully, doing something like this will add both characterization and some spacing.

  7. Deanna Di Lello

    I’m always interested in this sort of thing. Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain was a great eye opener if anyone is looking for further reading.

    http://deannadilello.wordpress.com/

    Reply
    • AlexBrantham

      I agree, this is an excellent book, which challenges some of the traditional assumptions about what intro/extroverts are.

      A couple of thoughts as to how this affects writers: first, should it affect our ability to create characters who are themselves intro/extroverts? I think not – after all, you don’t (I hope!) need practical experience to create a grisly murderer. You need imagination, nothing else.

      Second, about the conditions in which we write: and here, I think, is a big difference. Cain talks about sensitivity – how much we react to external stimuli. Introverts are much more sensitive – and you can detect this even when they are still babies. This means, as noted above, that introverts will find it much harder to concentrate in noisy environments – we all have an optimum level of noise, the trick is to find it.

    • Jay Warner

      Another good book is Party of One by Anneli Rufus. This book really put it in perspective for me.

  8. Katie Cross

    I think there’s no way of saying what is better, but I think writing can help either type of person to equalize a bit. I’m an extrovert myself, but holing up to write has taught me the value of my own company. My husband is an introvert, so it helps me understand him better as well.

    I’d love to figure out how to be an ambivert though. That sounds very convenient!

    Reply
    • Susan Anderson

      I agree, Katie. I am a natural extrovert, my husband an introvert. But living now half my life, I’ve grown to realize that I enjoy solitude as much as multitude. I tend to think that to be called an introvert is a higher compliment. They seem smarter and more sensitive. I admire them.

  9. Winnie

    I’m an intro. Here’s my attempt at being a success in the extro world of business.

    As soon as I walked into Joe’s Bar, alone, I sensed the stir I caused. The low hum of conversation dried up completely, the uncomfortable silence that followed told me I was the subject of interest among the top businessmen that gathered here after work to network and remain in the loop.
    A single space opened up for me at my favorite spot on the long curving bar that was the hallmark of the club. They knew I wouldn’t be chaperoned from now on. A double gin and tonic stood ready, the dew pearling down the sides of the glass.
    “How did the meeting go?” Even before I’d sat down on the hard metal bar stool
    Martin sidled up to me. Dear reliable Martin who’d been in the company longer than anyone else.
    “You’ll know tomorrow.”
    “Meaning?”
    “Be in your office at five.” I winked. “There’s a flood of work coming.”
    Martin threw his head back, rolled his eyes heavenwards. Raising his glass, “To think yesterday we were planning to downsize.” He walked away shaking his head.
    The conversation around me picked up again. I’d obviously said the right thing.
    The meeting had ended when negotiations were still at a delicate stage. I looked around and recognized the faces of top men in business. They had more than just an ear to the ground. Years of experience had bred a sixth sense into them. I thought I saw faint smiles of approval when their eyes met mine. The outcome of the merger talks were cut and dried.
    “Hard luck, Mr. Bates.” I said to the CEO of the top company on the Exchange who was bidding for the same thing. He gave me a wry smile, acknowledging defeat.
    And so it went on. As I walked around another offered me a seat in a circle I knew was reserved exclusively for the established members of the Club.
    “What are you having, Bess?”
    “The usual.’ It wasn’t Ms. Greene anymore. I sat down and looked at the greying heads around me. I was just into my late twenties, a whippersnapper in their eyes. Another lamb waiting to be sacrificed on the altar of big business.
    But I was already over the first hurdle. How long had it taken them to get a foot on the first rung of the corporate ladder?

    Reply
    • James Hall

      I like this, it is vivid. Would make it more interesting if we had a hint at why he is trying to race up the corporate ladder. Maybe, to marry some rich women that isn’t any good for him anyway!

    • Jay Warner

      I thought the narrator was a woman. I enjoyed this piece. The images are striking and you can feel the “old business” power vs. the “new force to be reckoned with”. Good job.

    • Winnie

      Thanks, Jay.

    • Winnie

      I appreciate your comment.
      “She’ intends to race the rest of the way up the ladder, just to feel the power, or whatever else it is that’s driving her. On the way she’ll pick and choose from her many suitors, most of whom see her as a meal ticket..

    • Sophie Novak

      I think one of the best things about being a writer is the opportunity to be whoever you want to be; by writing about a character you are him/her. Nothing beats that. Great practice Winnie!

    • Winnie

      Thanks very much. This is something that only happens in my dreams.

  10. Sujata

    Introvert.
    ————————————————————————————————-

    Once again she was searching and today it was the pen. She wanted to scribble a line and was wondering where had she left it after writing those couple of lines about an hour back. She searched for it in all possible places – the table, the kitchen counter, the book shelves, the sitting area but failed to find it. As a matter of habit she always had an extra pen next to her writing pad. Her son had come out of his room as he was hungry. Seeing his mother searching for the pen he told her “Mom ! it is very much next to your writing pad. Isn’t that the one you have been searching for?” Mama smiled and said ” I know darling ! but this is not the one I am searching for”. “Why don’t you use it for the time being” said the 12 years old. ” Yes ! I must do that” said she and went back to the kitchen to knead the dough.” She peeped out of the kitchen to check if the son was still there. He had left for his room. She rushed out of the kitchen and desperately started searching for it again. Oh ! she was about to yell as she finally found it inside the spoon rack. Kicking her own bottom and hitting the back of her head she giggled.

    Reply
    • James Hall

      I like this, but If I might make some suggestions:

      Brush up your dialog a bit, comes across as a little fake. Even if the purpose was to show awkwardness between them. Read and try some of these lessons. https://thewritepractice.com/dialogue/

      “Kicking her own bottom and hitting the back of her head” Not too sure those would be very easy to do at the same time. The latter sounds painful and the former is usually hard to do. If you said “Slapping the palm of her hand against her forehead” you’ll get the same effect without making us feel she is a flagellate and a cheerleader.

      (Flagellate are those religious extremists that physically beat themselves up. Don’t know how common knowledge that is.)

    • Sujata Patnaik

      Thanks James Hall, shall make a note of your suggestion. Flagellate is indeed a new word to me.

  11. Sarah Lee

    Extrovert —

    “Tonight’s the night m’ dear” I whoop, looking in the long hallway mirror. I see my reflection, done up like a China doll. I add a touch of rouge to my pale cheeks, and brush a lock of hair from my forehead. Feeling excited, I slip my arm through that of my giggling companion. We race towards the open front door. “I can’t for John’s expression when he sees you dressed up like that!” she exclaims, her golden eyes sparkling with mischief.

    Outside, we are enveloped in darkness. We run along an old narrow footpath, screeching like owls, until we reach the playing fields. There’s a crowd gathering. The air is humming with expectation. Above I see what looks like the glow of fireflies. “They’re already lighting the paper lanterns,” sighs my companion, “I knew we should’ve got here sooner!”

    “Don’t worry, we won’t miss out on any of the fun!” I feel exasperated. I know I took a long time to get ready. I want everything to be perfect, not just for myself, but also for her, my dear baby sister Mary. Barely into her teens, and only just allowed out of Mom’s sight, she follows me round like a shadow.

    Lost in my thoughts, I feel a shiver coursing down my spine, one vertebrae at a time. There’s a cooling of the night’s air.

    “I wish I’d brought a cloak,” I say to Mary. There’s no response. I look to my side. There’s no sign of Mary. Exasperated, I fight my way through the crowds. I’m met with hostility as I thread my way through the New Year revellers. A deep voice shouts “Flipping well look where you’re going”.

    I feel anger and frustration rising. I turn around to face the voice, knocking someone’s elbow, and nearly getting drenched in ale. “Flipping well let me through, I’ve lost my sister.”

    The voice glares at me, a sarcastic sneer spreading across his brooding Latino features. His expression seems to say ‘too much makeup’.

    “John?”

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Very interesting. I wonder where her sister got off to.

      I think you are missing a wait in here…

      “I can’t for John’s expression when he sees you dressed up like that!” she exclaims, her golden eyes sparkling with mischief.

    • Sarah Lee

      Oops, I think I “edited” it out!

      I’m not sure where to take this further myself. Any suggestions?

    • James Hall

      Several options. Ran off with some guy, went somewhere else to be alone for interesting personal reasons, Is really a werewolf and is going to jump out and start killing everybody…

      What I found chilling was I had a suspicious things are going to take a turn for the worst, her sister’s been kidnapped. Yet, if you want to, you can hide this fact and keep the mystery high when she simply can’t find her sister.

    • Sarah Lee

      Thanks James, I like your thinking. I guess I could turn this into a quest plot, with the disappearance of the sister at the centre of it. The sub plot could be a disagreement or personality clash between the main narrator, and the third character, John, which they have to rise above in order to pursue their cause. I guess another source of conflict could be whether the local community rally behind them or not. I could cast them as new people to the area, to be viewed with suspicion.

    • James Hall

      Take it and run with it. Good Luck!

  12. Kori Miller

    Interesting! I love talking about personality. This would be a fun chat for Back Porch Writer’s Special Topics Twitter Chat. I’ll send you a direct message with more details. Thanks for posting this.

    Reply
  13. AL

    Think I may be an ambivert. As an introvert I enjoy having blocks of quiet time, uninterrupted to work. Yet I often choose to work at MacDonald’s. Few if any interruptions occur there and I have an endless supply of beverage. At times a friend will stop at my table, or one of the employees. The funny thing about always going to the same location occurred when the counter staff asked, “Do you want the usual?”

    I have introvert qualities like listening, but in reality I get tired of always being the listener and not sharing. Since I was a child, I’ve been told I’m too sensitive. How this applies I’m not sure. It can give me a self-centered point of view.

    My extrovert qualities lead me to not have time to write. I’m on the go and not paying attention. Since I love to travel, I have many experiences from which to draw. I often have difficulty opening conversations that have any depth.

    So an ambivert am I. I like writing in my office at home but also in public but alone, not sitting at a table with talking people. (That’s always been a problem when taking a course and I’m supposed to read something. I can’t concentrate. I’m distracted.) And I love being in a semi-busy place, alone.

    Didn’t get to the imaginary part.

    Reply
    • Stephanie Nickel

      Because I’m an extrovert, I dream of writing in a cafe with an endless supply of caramel macchiatos. However, I know myself too well. I would be distracted by the people around me. In fact, it’s tough to write in the solitude of my own home office with the virtual world at my fingertips. 🙂

    • AL

      Thanks for reply. Ya, people can distract me. I’m often there when the high schoolers pop in for lunch. It’s fodder for characters and many times a laugh. Remember one day, the lady in the next booth and I looked up at the same time, having heard the same comment and we shook our heads and laughed.

  14. kay

    what are the advantages and disadvantages of being an ambivert?

    Reply
  15. Stephanie Nickel

    It’s perfect. My writer’s haven is finally ready.

    The cabin is empty . . . and quiet.

    Surrounded by furniture and art pieces inspired by Dr.
    Seuss, I’m ready to write.

    Where to begin?

    I feel the breeze caress my cheek from the open window and decide to work on my YA novel. After all, it is about Lindsey’s summer working on the tall ship. She would feel many a lake water-saturated breeze hitting her face full on. I, however, don’t need that much inspiration.

    It was the biggest surprise of my life when my husband came home and said, “Here are the keys. It’s all yours.”

    “What is?”

    “That little place on the cliff you had your eye on.”

    My jaw dropped.

    “Before you start catching flies, gather your things and get going. I’ll take care of the kids for the weekend.”

    I’m sure my eyes were the size of tennis balls. “But, but . . .”

    “You need a place to write. No phone. No TV. No kids. No me.”

    I threw my arms around him and squeezed . . . hard.

    His laughter warmed my heart – like always.

    “Now go.”

    “I have to pack.”

    “Nope . . . I took a couple of suitcases full of your things to the cabin. I also stocked the fridge with your favorites. Just grab your toiletries and get out of here. If you hurry, you’ll make it before the sun sets. I know how you like to watch it go down over the water.”

    “You are the best husband – ever!”

    “And don’t you forget it. And don’t call when you see how I’ve decorated it, but I do want you to write down your first reaction so I can read about it when you get back.”

    Ten minutes later, I kissed my family good-bye, climbed into our beat up Civic and headed for the lake.

    We’d seen the place when we were out biking. I’d casually mentioned what a great writing spot it would be. I was just making conversation. In fact, I had forgotten all about it until Dan handed me the keys.

    And now, I was sitting in my own little corner of creation. Just me. A brand new journal. A dozen of my favorite pens. And the waves hitting the rocks thirty feet below my window.

    I’d wanted to spend a summer aboard ship, but with a family, a job, and a house to take care of that wasn’t about to happen.

    This place, however . . . The acrid smell of the fire. The orange and pink sky. And that gentle breeze. They meant my story just might come alive after all.

    Reply
  16. Linda Joyce

    I heard author Bob Mayer speak. He says the true writer is an INTJ. I believe the thing about Introvert/Extrovert is for one to know themselves and to tend to the needs of self to accomplish both writing and promoting. Understanding self can bring about more satisfaction and less stress.

    Reply
    • Katie Hamer

      I was an INFJ when I did the Myers Briggs test. Apparently that’s one of the rarest personality types. The upside of that is that I have strong opinions, and can feel a lot of conviction when supporting others. However, I often lack confidence in my own abilities. Which is why I originally posted as Sarah Lee.

      In fiction, you definitely need a mixture of different personality types, in order to create the kind of conflict needed to carry a story along. Life would indeed be boring if we were all the same!

  17. AshleeW

    I am an intense introvert and have wished, countless times over the length of my life, that I was NOT – most especially in my teenage years. A few years ago when I hit my mid 20-s, I think I began to see myself for what I was, and realize there was nothing I could do about it. Once I embraced the fact that I was simply not outgoing or aggressively social, and that being around people just physically wore me out many times – and that that was OKAY! – I began to feel more free, in both my life and with my writing. I think, as you mentioned in your post, it doesn’t matter which side of the spectrum a person falls on – what matters most is their personal comfort and acceptance of who they are. I have learned to stop letting that part of me hinder my writing, but instead let it enhance it. What a huge change! Thanks so much for bringing this up with regards to writing – I think it’s something that many people think of in terms of socialization, but not necessarily with the writing angle.

    Reply

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