Let’s talk today about how us introverted fiction writers vex our outgoing opposites. At best, extroverts wonder why we’re so silent. At worst, we fade away.
Lita recently read an article describing the differences between introverts and extroverts. The blog suggested fiction writers are introverts. Of course, we are. Let us explore this fantasy world.
Introverts have rich “inner lives,” prefer quiet environments, enjoy conversations about deep topics, and relish time alone to recharge. Do not confuse introverts with shy people; if properly motivated, introverts are outgoing and charming at a party. But after an hour, the effort exhausts the introverts and we are the first people to flee the gale, I mean gala, and seek a quiet place to regain our wits.
Extroverts thrive in interactions with others. They are party hounds, love small talk, and flock to high-energy people-oriented activities. Extroverts tolerate only small doses of “alone time” before they pick up the phone and seek the company of others. They talk about their families, their hobbies, and most anything that pops in to their head without stopping for breath. How they do go on. They produce a deluge of words, and seek affirmation in the dazzling verbal environment of person-to-person interactions. Fiction writer Lita endured a lifetime of extroverts trying to fix her calm and introspective ways. I wasn’t okay, to their point of view. Nonsense.
Reason #1: Invisibility is Real
Talking heads dominate television. Sporting events have non-stop commentators. Radio DJs chatter. Internet videos analyze everything from the latest celebrity drivel to pointless arguments on how orangutan look (or don’t look) like people.
But there are non-talking persons out there–the introverts. It’s like we have no mouthes. But we can talk plenty. More on this in a few minutes.
Talk, talk, and talk. Because introverts are not talking, we can fade from an extrovert’s notice. I’ve had extroverts continue their talking over the top of my sentences as if I wasn’t speaking. I continued to utter words, and they could not hear me. When I stopped giving non-verbal clues to encourage their outpour, they continued. I’ve even walked away in their mid-sentence (yes, even my patience has limits), and they talked to empty air. Who said invisibility isn’t real?
Reason #2: Inner Worlds are Talking Plenty
Introverts may have rich inner lives, but introverted writers carry entire worlds inside our heads. These inner worlds whisper, show us images, and endlessly present our story characters’ feelings, thoughts, and actions. We write down the images, sensations, and yes, the words.
This process sounds creepy only if you’re an extrovert. Writers are nodding by now because this is where the ideas for our stories come from. Here is the origin of “creativity.”
Of the fellow fiction writers I’ve talked with, each describes a different creative process. Some say they meditate, exercise, or get close to nature to release their inner stories. Some call it a muse who shats on their heads, while others shrug and say they have no idea how the stories come to them. But the stories appear spontaneously, much the same way the brain runs the heart and lungs with no tending by our conscious minds.
I have good news for the introverts. Fiction writing is the only acceptable occupation where it is okay to listen to the voices inside your head, write down their words, and not have the extroverts worry about your sanity.
Reason #3: Welcome to the Other Worlds
People love fiction, fantasy, and make-believe. As children, our play was making up stories and acting them out with toys and playmates. As adults, we struggle with the responsibilities of caring for family, tending careers, and generally seeing to accumulated responsibilities. But many of us love watching a good movie, or yes, reading a good book.
Where exactly are fictional places like Middle Earth, Hogwarts, and Narnia, on a map? For that matter, where does a Klingon, glitter-faced vampire, and Tinkerbell come from? Can you describe The Force? The Matrix? What Frankenstein’s monster looks like?
All of these pretend people, places, and things, first came from worlds inside of writers’ heads. To the extroverts reading this, please do not worry. Those worlds are a delight to explore. Come, take the introverted writer’s hand, and joins us. We will have such fun, then the writer will see you safely home.