Being introverted doesn’t have to mean that we are always fretful. However, it means that we appreciate being alone and in solitude. It also means that we enjoy our own company and thrive with a bit of alone time. However, extroverts are the opposite—they thrive only when they get out of the house and spend time outside.
Being an introvert seems to be a writer’s dream. However, there are drawbacks to being an introverted writer. In order for a writer to be successful, she must not only be cooped up in her office writing for endless hours, but she must also present at writer’s conferences, send out queries and manuscripts, and consistently work at self-promotion in order to sell books.
Sometimes being a happy, introverted writer requires that we let go of control. When we are ourselves, we have all the control in the world. Not too much can happen and people are not going to criticize us or our work. However, when we are in the public domain, criticism is a very real possibility. So, many introverts refrain from going out into the public domain too much. And this again is detrimental to their success as a writer.
Here are a few ways that introverts can enjoy both the solitude when they write and social situations when they have to get out into the world to self-promote or present workshops.
1. Lighten up on the need to control
We should accept people and situations as they are. People are what they are, and there is nothing you can do about it. For instance, you can’t control the comments coming from a member of the audience; however, you can control your response to the person. Also, there is such a thing as constructive criticism. So, always take the good points out of a criticism and discard the sarcasm or nastiness, if it exists. That way you can learn from the comments and become a better writer without getting hurt all the time.
2. Lighten up on being right all the time
It can be so exhausting to always try being right. It is downright difficult and it can open us up to stressors that we would not necessarily have if we didn’t always insist on being right. Try not to be opinionated. Instead, allow others to share their views and be kind when they do.
In addition, we should not take their negative views of our work personally. Most of the comments that are made by others are not personal attacks. They are simply subjective comments made by another person. So, we have to step out of the victim role and be much more secure and confident about ourselves as a writer. I realize this is hard to do at first. But with practise, you can achieve this.
3. Lighten up on the blame game
Writers tend to feel better when they can blame others for their misfortunes. But most times, when something goes wrong, it is our own fault. For instance, when we don’t get to the desk to write for days on end, it’s not our family’s fault but ours for not sticking to our original writing commitments. So, try to think positively and get out of complaining and blaming others for your misfortunes all the time.
By lightening up on these forms of control, introverts can stop worrying and they can be happier and more fulfilled. We all need to be less controlling and to just let things happen as they should. This is especially the case if we are with people and in social situations. We cannot control what others will say or do. But we sure can control what we do. And who knows, maybe the most important insights come to us from other people. So, we should look for these gems of wisdom as much as possible.
Irene S. Roth
Philosopher, Freelance Writer, Author, and Editor