Do you think you have to be an introvert to be a writer?
Writing to me is a very solitary activity. It’s hours spent alone on long walks or in the shower, just thinking and dreaming and wondering.
It’s hours spent alone doing research and jotting down notes about how things work and figuring out plotting graphs and charts.
It’s hours spent alone with a butt in a chair, just cranking out word after word after word.
I’ve never understood people who write in pairs, but even then, it’s my understanding that one of them plots out the story, while the other one fills in the actual text. I think James Patterson does this with a lot of his branded books that he didn’t actually write.
English authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman wrote the book Good Omens “together,” but they worked on it separately. After coming up with the initial idea, they took turns writing chapters and guiding the plot, sending their notes to each other until the book was done.
And Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her books with the help of her daughter – technically her daughter was her editor, but really she did a lot of work to shape Laura’s memories of her youth into readable stories. I think Laura talked, and her daughter made notes and wrote, which meant a lot of working together, but a lot of solitary writing, too.
I’m an introvert. I love going for walks alone or waking up early before everyone else and making quiet notes in a dark corner on my own. I can’t imagine how my mind would make space for the stories I want to tell if I needed to be around people all the time. I feel like they would crowd out my characters – but perhaps that is precisely BECAUSE I am an introvert, and being around a big group is tiring and kills my creativity.
I definitely write better when I have the support of a writing community around me. They encourage me and keep me on track and get me excited to produce stuff.
So maybe the best writers are a little bit of both – introverts who like people, or extroverts who can work with alone time.
What do you think?
Lee Ann says
I do think most writers are introverts. Even though we need people – especially a writing community to encourage and challenge our work – we are energized when we are alone. In her book ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ Susan Cain talks about creativity, and how, despite teamwork, despite collaboration, when it comes down to actually creating something, it’s a solitary activity. And after that comes sharing. It was one of the ah-ha moments in that book for me!
Yes! This is what I was trying to say, I think – that the act of creation is a solitary activity. You have said it so much better!
Patrick Nesbitt says
Why do you write?