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What Does it Mean to be an Extroverted Writer?

Updated on May 29, 2015

Have you ever noticed that most writers are introverts? There’s Edgar Allan Poe, J. D. Salinger, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, J. K. Rowling, John Green, and the list goes on and on. If you don’t believe me, try to name at least five authors you consider to be extroverted. It’s impossible, right?

A Word from John Green, Introverted Writer

John Green, author of The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska, says, “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”

But what about the extroverts, like myself, who are aspiring writers? Are we going against our personal nature to pursue a calling we weren’t designed to fulfill? Are we at a disadvantage to our fellow introverted writers?

John Green is the author of many books, including Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars.
John Green is the author of many books, including Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. | Source

Extroversion vs. Introversion

I say no! If you’re extroverted and love writing, do not be fooled. I agree that writing often is something done alone, and introverts tend to thrive in this profession. But that doesn’t mean extroverts can’t be writers. It also doesn’t mean that extroverts should convert into something they’re not in order to be successful writers.

If you’re extroverted, you gain energy from your surroundings: people, social events, movies, current events, etc. You prefer environments that are stimulating (full of energy). In contrast, introverts draw energy from within themselves, and stimulating environments tend to wear them out.

Source

Using Extroversion as a Tool to Successful Writing

With this in mind, how can we extroverts use our extroversion as a tool to better our writing? Here are some things I’ve done that have helped me with my writing.

1) Be involved and learn from your experiences.

Do things other than writing and learn from them! Whether you are playing sports, playing video games, going to the movies with friends, listening to music, playing an instrument, joining a club, or doing something you’re passionate about (other than writing), always engage in something that will fill you. As extroverts, it’s easier to write from an experience. How you interpret that experience (using it in a fiction or nonfiction context) is completely up to you.

You don't actually have to go skydiving, but you get my point.
You don't actually have to go skydiving, but you get my point. | Source

2) Meet people and apply what you learn to your characters.

Use your writing ability to meet and socialize with people to strengthen your character development skills. Watch their mannerisms, listen to their dialect, and learn what makes their personality unique.

You can even write down certain phrases or behaviors that stick out to you during the conversation. By better understanding the people around you, you will create more realistic characters and dialogue within your own writing.

3) Write in Different Places.

Many authors tell aspiring writers to always write in one specific area so that they get into the “write” mindset. Personally, I find it easier to write when I go somewhere out of the norm. New places offer new experiences and new ideas, no matter how insignificant it may be. It keeps my mind moving and thinking in different ways which especially helps me when I'm in a rut with my writing.

4) Use your network of relationships as personal editors.

The editing process can be painful, especially when you surrender your writing to a fellow colleague or friend who is sharp with a red pen. However, it’s beneficial for every writer, extrovert or not, to gain another person's perspective of your writing.

Extroverts tend to value having an abundance of friends. With this in mind, it’s important to make use of these relationships to develop your writing. Do not send out your manuscripts and papers to everyone you meet. Instead, send your work to a collection of friends you know you can trust and gain constructive criticism to better understand your own strengths and weakness.

Source

Writing doesn’t belong to any one type of person, extroverted, introverted, or something in between. Writing is art with words, and it belongs to anyone who possess the passion and drive to practice and perfect it.

Take the quiz!

What kind of writer are you?

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Are you an extroverted or introverted writer? How does this affect your writing style and craft?

Answer below in the comments section.

© 2015 Noah Clayton

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    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 years ago from Shelton

      I really don't know what I am, but writer's do write alone even while in a crowded room ..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.. you make sound points and this hub is very interesting so glad Jodah shared it, because I would have missed it.. Frank

    • Noah Clayton profile imageAUTHOR

      Noah Clayton 

      3 years ago

      Great point, and I can see how many writers could appear as introverts if they are too busy writing. I never thought of that and that's valid. I also do not agree with John Green's statement about writing be a profession solely for introverts. Personally, I love to write, but I also enjoy being around several people at a time. I'm just curious to find another living and breathing extroverted writer like myself. Thanks for comment!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting hub, Noah. I am without doubt an introverted writer. I actually prefer to communicate through writing than speaking. Although I am better now at thing like speaking in public than I used to be, it was a matter of forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I do however don't see writing as purely a profession for introverts. As you rightly state extroverts are more likely to be out in public mixing with others and gaining valuable life experiences that they can write about. Introverted writers probably rely on their inner feelings, emotions, music and the like for their inspiration rather than actual experiences. Some writer may however just appear introverted because they spend so much time writing they don't have much time to participate in real world activities.

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