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Finding the Middle Ground: An Answer to a Question

Updated on December 20, 2012

Day #23 of my "30 Hubs in 30 Days" Challenge

Recently, elayne001 posted the following question on Hub Pages: "Are you and extrovert or an introvert? What gives you energy-- people or solitude?"

On a Personal Level

Personally, I'm an introvert. A simple list of my favorite things to do-- reading, writing, small crafts, gardening, and movie watching-- confirms this statement. Every single one of these activities are ones that can be done alone (and usually are in my household). I prefer solitude-- especially when I'm working on a project. The quiet allows me to organize my thoughts, brainstorm, and then transform those ideas into something constructive. Sometimes the result is a written story, other times it's a hand painted craft project. The list of possibilities is endless! But, I need that quiet in order to think. If I'm surrounded by loud noises, I find it hard to concentrate; and I really hate it when people interrupt me when I'm trying to work! Therefore, I definitely get my energy from the solitude (not people)!

On Writing

I think that, as writers, it's necessary to be an introvert. I say this because crafting a story requires a great deal of time and energy. A writer needs to be comfortable working alone and spending large amounts of time with the fictional characters that live in our heads. I've found that when I'm writing a novel (or even a short story) it helps to block out the real world. I'll shut myself away in my office with only a notepad of scribbled notes, my computer, and a never-ending supply of hot tea. I try to immerse myself completely in the fictional world that I'm creating. Only then does the story really come alive on the page. I can't do that when I'm being interrupted my phone calls or people are stopping by to visit. I need that space between myself and reality to create a good story.


The Middle Ground

On the flip side, part of writing stories is creating realistic characters. I've heard other writers suggest going to a public place-- like a park, coffee shop, or mall-- and people watching. Bring a notepad to jot down the things that stand out to you. For instance, study the mannerisms of the people you see. Study the way they interact with other people. Pay close attention to their language, the way they dress, everything!

Although I believe that being introverted is necessary during the writing process, I think that observing the outside world or making an effort to be extroverted can be helpful while you're researching a piece of writing. It can help you to create more realistic characters once you're ready to sit down and write the piece. Besides, if we're always cutting ourselves off from the outside world then we start to lose touch with it. As a result, our writing can suffer-- especially if you're writing about a contemporary character. It's hard to sound convincing when you're addressing a 2012 audience with a character that you've dressed in parachute pants and a neon green leotard who uses slang that was popular in the 1960's.


So, long story short, I think that in order to become really great writers we need to be able to find that middle ground. It's important to be extroverted while researching a story. This includes taking the time to study people (and the way they talk and act) in order to write convincing characters. However, I believe that it's necessary to become introverted while writing a story in order to really focus on it and block out all other distractions. The really good stories are the ones where both the reader and the writer can completely immerse themselves in the fictional world and block out reality for a while.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

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    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      elayne001-- I can understand completely. It was the same way with my ex. He was the extrovert that always wanted to go out and do social things while I was the bookaholic that just wanted to stay home and read! :)

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I also am an introvert. I could go days on end without seeing other people and be happy. Well, except my little boy. I do leave my little comfort zone to glean research information or to minister to others. As a servant and obedient to God, I know I must help others so I do enjoy that now. At first I made myself but can do it joyfully now. I cannot go to malls or Wal-Mart though!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Glad you took my question and ran with it - great hub! I do feel drained after I am around people in social gatherings, whereas my husband gets a charge out of it. He likes to drag me to gatherings all the time, usually against my will, but I have to give in from time to time. Then I get therapy through my introverted activites - writing, painting, gardening, etc.

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      WannaB Writer-- Oh, I'm definately an introvert. And, yes, I do feel tired after social interactions. My point in the article was simply that sometimes you have to leave your comfort zone in order to gain information that can help improve your writing. In this case, forcing myself to become more extroverted (on occassion) can help me write more convincing and realistic characters.

      Thanks for reading and commeting! :)

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      You still may be an introvert who leaves her comfort zone during research. Do you feel drained after one of your attempts to be an extrovert for a while? Most true introverts would be. Or so my research leads me to believe.