Do you think most writers are introverts?

I think the best way to answer this question is to quote my favorite philosophy professor from college (that would be Dr. Walter Ludwig at St. Joe's in Maine). I can't recall which philosopher he was quoting, but he said the only general statement you can make about people is that you can't make general statements about people. In that regard, I would hesitate to say that most writers are introverts. That said, I have met many writers who find it easiest to express their thoughts, fears, and other emotions through the written word, so certainly there are introverted writers out there. The beauty of writing, I think, is that it affords people the flexibility to express themselves. Some brilliant students or writers may have a deep-seated fear of speaking in public, but they can write a beautiful, polished piece of literature.

UPDATE

Since I originally posted this hub, I've had cause to think more about this subject. In my case, I have had what amounts to a roller coaster ride when it comes to the concept of introspection. When I was a child, I was painfully shy, a trait that continued into my twenties. In time, however, I discovered that my shyness was holding me back from achieving some of my most deeply held goals.

That was a time in my life when I decided to take the bull by the horns and tried to overcome my shyness. I am pleased to report that I believe I accomplished that objective.

A few years ago, however, I endured a severe trauma. I won't go into details here, but suffice to say, I was assaulted and nearly killed. There is this terrible condition that I like to call the Incredible Hulk Syndrome, which psychiatric professionals prefer to call Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

People with this condition have a temper that can flare from 0-100 in about 2 seconds flat. It is commonly found in folks who, like me, have suffered severe head trauma. I have learned skills to manage this condition, but I am sad to say that it will probably be with me the rest of my life.

What does this have to do with being introverted? Since I came to terms with this issue, I have discovered that there are times when I am best left alone. It is during those times that I need to become more reflective, spend some time separated from the human race, and try to focus on what is causing my mood to swing.

In that regard, although I know that I cannot remain in a shell indefinitely, there is a forced sense of introversion when I'm having a rough time.

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Comments 22 comments

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I agree with you. I have a difficult time expressing clearly in the verbal....I much, much prefer the written word to the spoken. It's much more comfortable. My brain has a direct line to the pen and keyboard - skips the mouth.


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

Its is so much easier to put pen to paper I reckon. Not always in the correct english and punctuation though.


John Chancellor profile image

John Chancellor 8 years ago from Tennessee

I think Aristotle might shed some light on the subject. He said, "For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." Unfortunately lots of writers learn how to write and never learn to express themselves except with the written word. A good writer must be able to think and communicate in clear lucid language. They could learn to communicate the same verbally ... but only by doing it. Public speaking is regarded as the number one fear of most adults. I believe the reason is so few ever do enough to get comfortable with speaking before a group.

While writers may be more comfortable with their wordprocessor, I believe we get into the habit of expressing our self in one media. The most economically successful writers are also good marketers. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen come to mind - Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

I agree that sweeping generalizations are often wrong. But most people do get into their comfort zone and stay there.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I'm like you Shirley :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Some indidivuals process language neurologically more easily through writing or typing that speaking. Sometimes speaking will unlock ideas, though. It's an individual thing - some writers have to get up and walk around and verbalize a few sentences before an idea or the ending to a chapter gels.

Some great writers have been alcoholics or ill in other ways; writing was great therapy for them, also producing incredible works. Some were more introverted, some extraverted. It's all a continuum, not a point on a line, imo. And fascinating.


crazycat profile image

crazycat 8 years ago from Philippines

Maybe most good writers are introverts. But I know some writers who are extoverts too.


peeling profile image

peeling 8 years ago

True that you can't bunch every writer under a category. What I'd like to add, though, is that the lady who asked the question about writers being introverts is standing at a dangerous crossroad. Writers, especially introverts, tend to attract tragedy in personal life, in order to maintain creativity. You might not do it intentionally, but it still happens. Look up some 'art therapy' links on Google.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Thanks Peeling! Good to see you, by the way. :)


Prem Menon 8 years ago

It depends on whether he/she wants to express or impress?


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Interesting, Peeling. Thanks for your concern.

I found a website called Introvert Energy that inspired this question. At this site, http://www.introvertenergy.com/isthisyou.php, Nancy Okerlund, founder of Introvert Energy, claims that introverts are actually wired differently than extroverts and that part of what we need to value is our own way of being in the world, versus trying to fit into the 75% majority world of extroverts who dominate our society.

Thus my new Hub was written, titled "introverts anonymous!"


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Interesting - there is some truth to the "wiring" theory.


crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 8 years ago from Florida Author

You know, I think it's sort of ironic that on a page like this, addressing the notion that writers are introverts, that I should get a dozen comments. None of the rest of my hubs have gotten this many comments! Go figure!

Jim Henry


Beth Barany profile image

Beth Barany 8 years ago from USA

I am an introverted extrovert; or is that an extroverted introvert?! As I writer, I need the solitude that activity brings, but I also need the food of being around people, and talking and sharing. I love teaching AND I love curling up with a good book and a "Don't Bother Me!" sign on my door.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 7 years ago from Sydney

Crash, I honestly think an extrovert writer must be a very rare thing!

The reason I say that is - I've tried being a full-time writer and it drives me nuts. Why? Because I'm like Beth - I'm shy, but I need people around me to feel happy and motivated. If I have too much solitary time, I feel isolated and demotivated. And I'm an extroverted introvert, not a true extrovert. So I can't imagine a true extrovert managing to get much writing done at all.


Aya_Hajime profile image

Aya_Hajime 7 years ago

Jim, what a beautifully written hub. I am also a shy person, but like you, I have been trying to conquer some of that shyness. I find though that there are classes of personalities that I have a difficult time getting along with. The environment, and the people around me also affects my level of shyness. For example, in a club I tend to be less shy, than at a conference. Alcohol definitely helps :)


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

I find this interesting because as a writer and an artist, I'm curious where I fall - I took the Myers Briggs test and fall just a bit over into the introvert category - most people think of me as outgoing, but the truth is I need lots of down and alone time or I get very grouchy - I really need a break from the demands of other people! Also, writers need time to think and to read! And then we need to process what we think about and are reading, and of course, we then need time to put it all down in writing! Kartika


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

This hub popped up on my Introverts Anonymous hub and I thought to myself, hey! Whatever happened to crash???


crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 5 years ago from Florida Author

Oh, I'm still around, but focusing mostly on editing my manuscript for my second novel - Antiquity Calais Ascending Olympus - and writing the third book in the series, Antiquity Calais and the Children of Light. Every once in a while, I get an inspiration for a hub, but these other projects are pretty all-encompassing lately. Thanks for the note!

Jim Henry, aka Crash Cromwell


TheMonk profile image

TheMonk 5 years ago from Brazil

I was so shy that I had to make the first contact with my wife through a chat room in the internet. I do believe that authors are introverts by nature. At least the ones I know do follow that rule.


xXWrittenSinsXx 4 years ago

I love to write and I am very introvert. I have a hard time expressing myself verbally and I get panicked and flustered incredibly easily. I think my introvert side is the reason I love to write so much. Where I lack verbally, I make up through writing. I might actually go as far as to say my introvert side could be caused by my loving to write. I tend to think more to myself then speak out loud, and I'm always zoning out, dreaming about something or another to write, which tends to make me dazed to my surroundings. Also, I make weird expressions when I'm day dreaming and because of it I get questions like "Why do you look happy" or "Why do you look so sad. What's wrong" which only makes me more self-conscious of myself. I've learned to accept my introvert side, because when it comes down to it, writing makes me happier then anything, even if I can't express myself verbally. Also, I'm over conscious of the words I use and tend to doubt myself since I read the words on paper and learn through reading, so I don't know how to pronounce them and often pronounce words wrong. My first defense when someone points this out is "I can spell it and define it, I just can't pronounce it." All I can think when I stumble over my words, or can't come up with right thing to say, is at least I can write and I'm good at it. I've got more confidence in my writing then I do anything else.


crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 4 years ago from Florida Author

I would suggest you are not alone in using writing as the preferred means of communications. Thanks for your insightful comment!

Jim Henry, aka Crash


sofloguy 4 years ago

I am an extreme extrovert and writing is beneficial to me. I really helps me with my external processing, because nobody really wants to hear everything that I am trying to work through. With writing, I can express myself without filters. It is very cathartic. It helps me to distill my thoughts externally before I express them through my mouth. It is a satisfying alternative to talking.

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