Thursday, May 10, 2012

Booking Through Thursday: Introverts vs. Extroverts (and writing)

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is:

Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

I worked in the corporate world for 15 years. In that time, it wasn't uncommon to have those team building exercises where we'd all take tests to see if we were introverts or extroverts. Some even told us what color we were.

At first, I liked these tests because they validated some of the introvert/extrovert ideas I'd always harbored. They revealed that then, as now, I am a bonafide introvert.

But this is a great paradox for a writer.

We wordsmiths spend loads of time alone with our own thoughts. We get very personal on the page, exposing ourselves in a very extroverted act. A writer can't escape the fact that his life experiences are exploited for the sake of a a story. Add to that, a writer NEEDS to be out in the world, always observing human nature, always hearing the variety of voices, always collecting bits of life. Hemingway said it best:

"In order to write about life, first you must LIVE it!" 

So are writers true introverts? 

I have to wonder if a writer occupies that space on the spectrum squarely between the realms of introvert and extrovert. Between anti-social and social butterfly. Between, "Oh, I'm so embarrassed, I feel awkward and want to hide and stay home with a good book. There's no possible way I can attend your party" and "Oh, please read the words in my book, let me know I haven't toiled in vain. Adore me and invite me to come up on stage at your party!"

That's where I think I am anyway.

What do you think? Are artists inherently a mix of both?


  1. Maybe a little bit of both.

  2. Really appreciate this post and you're right, an author lives in that paradox between both. Favorite bit was right at the top with the team building exercises...brought back some memories. Thanks!

    My BTT

    @TCAbn The Motley Chronicles

  3. Tribute - We could form a club!

    Thomas - Ah, those team building exercises. Now, they make for good material. Not so much then. :)

  4. I can totally relate to the dichotomy of selves....and, in many ways, my career as a social worker prepared me for having to "put it out there."

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  5. Interesting, I've always wondered that. Here is what I know. I can be pretty good in a conversation and in a group setting. The way I know I'm an introvert is how I feel afterwards...worn out, spent. Now, when I'm in my writing zone, I'm energized, excited and ready for the next page. It isn't about how well you can succeed at certain activities, we're all great actors. It is about what feeds you, what makes you feel alive. That's how I know I'm an introvert.

  6. I really think most people are a little bit of both. I think I'm an extrovert for the most part, yet I have to have some alone time.

  7. Gosh, wouldn't it be just like non-writers in that there is a good mix?


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