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November 18th, 2002, 11:33 AM
I am a closet Introvert. I admit it. I have poor social skills that I gloss over with a veneer of detachment. Many of my friends comment on my lack of communication and I merely shrug it off. I think this is crutch when it comes to my writing career.

Do any other budding or published writers out there have this problem? Is introversion a desired trait that should be harnessed for optimal writing abilitiy? After all, it would seem possible that an extrovert would get distracted by the myriad friends he/she has collected.

I wonder this only because when my moods swing into my manic phase (yes, I am bi-polar)I am a bit more- social than normal and I enjoy talking to people. In my conversations that I have had, most of the times I have discovered things in that persons' personality that could only be helpful in my characterization processes. Which makes me doubt my earlier assesment that introversion is a great quality to have for a writer.

So what could be the desired trait? Introversion or extroversion? A mix of the two, in balance with one another? A sort of a yin and yang of balance and harmony? If extroversion is the better quality, what sort of activities should I engage in to better my social skills? (for the utimate goal of the betterment of my writing, not to be the center of the party)

What do some of you writers out there think?

November 18th, 2002, 02:25 PM
interesting question. If you would like to know where I stand check my post on the "why do you write" thread. You might find it interesting. I understand your bi-polarness. I would have to say that a balance is good and agree with the fact that introverts find it much easier than extroverts to find time to write. I definetely have both in me. Being social won't help your book unless you are social with the goal of it helping. Don't worry about talking to people that much or making people like you. For writing, it is better to just listen to other people, and secretly record their dialogue in a notebook, etc. This is a useful activity and fun because you feel like a spy. It is important to find a balance to your life, a yin and yang; everyone needs a few people that they can relate with. If you are primarily introverted, try finding a nice group of other introverts that you can engage in a social activity that centers around some sort of task or production, and find at least one extrovert that you can experience things vicariously through (every extrovert needs an introvert to talk to, they are fascinated by them) and to every so often make you do things that are against your nature. That is what I recommend. In short, just write and enjoy your life. Don't worry about being social, it won't help you be it.

November 18th, 2002, 02:40 PM
This is like asking "what kind of writer is the best writer?" Writers are different, and different people can be different, but good, writers. Don't worry about THAT side of it.

On the other hand, if you want to find a way to better your social skills, practice those skills - take up some activity that involves a lot of contact, in all kinds of senses, with other people. It can be anything, partying or work or whatever. Right now, it' s aikido for me - I don't consciously do it to 'better my social skills', but it is one of the rare areas of my life in which I interact actively with quite a lot of people.

November 18th, 2002, 02:55 PM
Originally posted by Duarh
Right now, it' s aikido for me - I don't consciously do it to 'better my social skills', but it is one of the rare areas of my life in which I interact actively with quite a lot of people.

I wanted to take aikido for some time, unfortunately there is not a dojo that teaches it in my area. Hapikido though. :(

November 18th, 2002, 02:58 PM
Hapkido's nice too, though I do prefer aikido, 'course ;). Hapkido uses many elements of the latter, btw. Recommend you try it out

btw, use the www.aikiweb.com dojo search engine to make 90% sure there's no dojo in your area

November 18th, 2002, 07:19 PM
Writers by nature are generally introverted, it comes with the territory. You have to spend hours, days weeks, months etc with nothing but your own thoughts for company. It helps you refine your art and free your mind without the distractions that socialising causes.
I've been spending a lot of time recently with close friends and my partner, as a result have got absolutely sweet F.A. done regarding my writing aspirations.
When I am with company I am very extrovert, ramming my opinions home with the subtlety of a battering ram, so I think it's not so much about introversion as isolation.
You need that old cliche of "time and space to yourself" to concentrate on your art. It just won't work otherwise.
At the same time, when I was doing a lot of writing (e.g. around 8 hours a day) I needed to get out and have a drink down the local to relax. Isolation and writing can drive you to extremes.
One minute you want to be alone to cogitate over the story-line or possible paths for characters to take and the next minute, you just have to get the Hell out of the house and unwind for a while in a social environment.

November 18th, 2002, 11:35 PM
During Primary School and most of High School I was a big non-talker. Finally realised the problem and slowly started gaining confidence in social situations. I prefer to spend most of my time at home, aside from the occasional club or pub, and seeing friends. Writing, reading, TV require my being at home.

There are certain things that bring out my true confidence. Writing, talking about interests (computers, music, soccer etc.) I'm still not a big talker, but I'm so much more confident than I used be.

November 19th, 2002, 11:01 PM
A lot of people seem to be phrasing their answers in terms of introversion as a result of the writing process, and this is a really interesting thought. I've always assumed it worked the other way around, that is, that the old phrase that goes "Writers are born, not bred" means that introverts become writers (and not that writers become introverts). The above arguments, that you need the time and space, etc., are perfectly true, but my approach would be that an introvert has more time and space as a result of their personality, and that out of this comes the inspiration for creation.

Also, often introverts very badly want to connect with others but just aren't sure how to do this. Writing is one such way - a way to show outsiders what you have within your mind, and a way to convey your own world view. Funnily enough, that is exactly why many of us on this board are no doubt introverts - we write, we love reading - but we still feel the need for human contact. And so we come along to this board to converse with like-minded people while retaining the security of sitting in our own homes or workplaces... social interaction with none of the confronting feelings this often involves for introverts!

November 20th, 2002, 12:25 AM
Some good points made there Valada, and I shared a lot of those feelings some time ago.
However i find myself more and more wishing and longing for the isolation which allows me to concentrate on my (our) art.
The most conducive environment for writing is being locked away from the rest of the world.
I find increasingly that I am dragged out to social gatherings of friends who I care for dearly at the expense of my own time, and as much as I enjoy their company, there is always that nagging voice in the back of my head like the "ball and chain", "trouble and strife" telling me I should be doing something else.
Writing is the ultimate bitch. It's the lover that demands your attention all the damn time and is never satisfied no matter how devoted you are to it as it always wants more. It's the cigarette that leads to cancer, the drink that leads to alcoholism, it's the child that is constantly crying for your attention.
It's the pleasure and the pain rolled up in one soul consuming package.

At least that's the way it feels for me.

November 20th, 2002, 03:33 AM
I don't know if being an introvert makes a good writer, it may help but then many people who are that way never write more than a letter to a friend. Personally I find being a misanthrope is great for writing. I feel my distast for the world I see around me help me to create the kind of world I would reather be living in.:D