What Does it Mean to be an Extroverted Writer?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Extrovert/ Introvert Quiz
- Self Tests by Psychology Today
If you don't know what type you are or if your looking for some reassurance, take the extreovert/ introvert quiz provided through this link.
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