Writing with Personality for Extroverts

Be YouLast month, I shared some simple insights on Writing with Personality for Introverts, so this time, I want to speak to their counterparts. Some misinterpret the definitions for these contrasting temperaments.

An introvert is not always quiet, and an extrovert is not always loud. As a certified personality trainer with over twenty-five years of experience, one of the best determiners I’ve found is this: An extrovert does their best thinking out loud, and an introvert’s most effective ideas take place in solitude and silence. They need to think before they speak.

As a bona fide extrovert myself, I often hear myself say something to someone else that I don’t want to lose. Then I have to stop, dig out paper and pen, as I tell them, “I’m sorry. I need to hurry and write that down before I forget it. Some of my best ideas come from conversations with other people.”

I usually receive an understanding nod along with a statement like this: “Go ahead, I’d hate to be the reason you lost a great idea.”

Sharing & IlluminationThe truth is, sometimes too much solitude hampers my creative flow. As an extrovert, I’ve learned that lunch with a friend or two, calling someone to go for a walk and a talk, or a brief phone call with a colleague, client, or family member releases fresh thoughts that enrich my writing.

Another thing I’ve learned is to use an audio app, so I can speak my thoughts out loud, and capture the concepts that flow from my loose lips. Sometimes I pretend I’m talking to another person, but whether I imagine a human face or not, my rambling, audible monologue releases many interesting pieces of prose.

Guilt used to smother me, because I felt stifled by sitting in solitude for too long. Now I realize extended periods of silence drain my energy, while intentionality in human exposure lifts my spirits and infuses my creative zest.

Nelson Mandela Know YourselfThe key to making any of us more effective in our endeavors is knowing who we are, and giving ourselves permission to operate in our natural giftings and preferences. As long as we are careful to do so in balance.

Whether introvert or extrovert, all writers require a healthy amount of time spent in study, interview, and interactions with other people. We equally need quiet moments with our thoughts and computers. Depending on our personality, some of us require more on one side of the spectrum or the other. Simply realize this — it’s okay to be different, we’re wired that way.

Are you an introvert who needs to think before they speak, or are you an extrovert whose best ideas pop out of your mouth while in conversation?

 

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Introvert Marketing in an Extrovert Market

My name is Olivia Newport and I am an introvert.

I’m not a hermit. Rich relationships nourish me, and my peeps keep me buoyant. Speaking, preaching, or leading a workshop do not scare me. But they take from me, rather than give to me.

At least 25 percent of the general population are introverts and charge up during time alone. Among writers, the percentage of introverts likely rises.

The rub comes because the rest of publishing runs on a 75 percent extrovert mindset. “Why Writers Have to Market.” “Ten Steps to Building Your Platform.” “Authors Must Be Speakers.” “How to Suck All the Readers in the World to Your Blog!” (Okay, I haven’t actually seen that last headline, but you know it’s a game winner.)

Um. Markets and platforms are places where hordes of people hang out. And since I don’t fuel my creative energy by hanging out with hordes of people … well, you see where this is going.

I do want to be a novelist. I do want to build an audience. I do want to be successful over the long haul.

My challenge is this: How can I accomplish these goals without feeling thrust into a 75 percent extrovert mindset that is counter-intuitive to who I am? I’m not talking about the work of learning new skills, including social media. We all have to do that. I’m talking about being able to meet readers out of the strength of my natural introversion, rather than being squeezed to set it aside in order to play the game.

I can’t turn myself into an extrovert. I don’t even want to pretend to be one for periods of time. It’s exhausting, and how does that help? As I got ready to launch a website and blog, I thought a lot about how to build an online presence based on my strengths, not on rules that are a foreign language to me.

• Be present. It’s not hard to find me. You find my name, you find me. I don’t spurn social media, and I don’t make it tricky to be cyber-friends.

• Seek connection. I like people. Really. My heart rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep.

• Risk authenticity. I’m not perfect. I’m figuring life out as I live it. I love to go deep and share that experience with others doing the same.

• Build on consistency. I am a creature of habit and lists. I’m generally predictable. This will serve me well in an expanding author-reader universe.

• Celebrate being me. I’m not competing in that reality show, “She Who Dies With the Most Wins.” Embracing and celebrating the person God created me to be is the greatest value I offer to readers.

We all connect with readers by building on strengths. Being introverted is a different sort of strength than 75 percent of the population, but it serves me well because it’s my strength and I understand it.

Are you introverted or extroverted? How does that affect your experience of publishing?