The Extroverted Introvert (In Other Words, A Writer)

Monday, February 12, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, this was my horoscope:

An extroverted introvert is a person who is proactively outgoing to avoid being rude though they prefer plenty of time to themselves to recharge and enjoy the hours however they please. Can you relate?

First of all, how is that a horoscope? That’s just a statement, thrown willy-nilly out into the universe.

But second of all, of course I can relate. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as an extroverted introvert until a few years ago, but as soon as I found out about this personality classification, I nodded. That’s me, all right. 

And it’s confusing, I know. I started out life as a total so-shy-I-wouldn’t-speak introvert. I became sociable and outgoing in my adolescence, an extroverted introvert (though I didn’t know it), through sheer will power and doggedness. So I know it’s possible to turn from wallflower to witty life-of-the-party. And now maybe you’re wondering so what? Who cares about extroverted introverts?

Well, perhaps you do, if you’re a writer.

It’s no surprise that many writers lean toward the introverted side of the personality scale. We tend to love introspection and prefer living in our imaginations rather than the real world. Just about every writer I know will admit to thinking up stories while fixing dinner or changing babies or driving to work…um, maybe we shouldn’t admit to that one.

The point is, writers live an interior life. Or would prefer to, if we didn’t have the outside world banging down our doors. And that can be a problem for a writer. Because these days, we have to regularly and purposefully go out those doors and engage with the world if we want to be successful in our writing careers.

This week, I participated in a Twitter party to launch the Chicken Soup for the Soul Miracles and More, and I really, really didn’t want to jump in. Wasn’t it enough that I posted the announcement on my Facebook page and blogged about it?

It was probably better than doing nothing. But I did realize the importance of spreading the word about a new release as far as the Chicken Soup publisher’s business goes, and I knew that if I jumped in, I might gain a couple of new readers and/or followers. So I put on my extroverted pants and waded in.

And I had a lot of fun. That’s the thing about us extroverted introverts. Once we get into the swing of things, we thoroughly enjoy ourselves! Or at least, I do. What starts out at a conference or a workshop or a party as me going so as not to appear rude ends up as something entirely different.

Turns out that in small doses, I like meeting people! I make new friends, and I invariably help my writing business, too. So here’s my advice to introverted introvert writers: follow the “Just for today” philosophy.

You know, like, “Just for today, I’ll go to this conference and I’ll do a little schmoozing.” Or “Just for this evening, I’ll mingle at this party with agents and editors.” Or even, “Just for this hour, I’ll talk to someone I don’t know.”

You can become an extroverted introvert, and you can even enjoy it! And best of all, after that conference, that workshop, that Twitter party, you can fall into your over-stuffed chair with a good book and a cup of tea and not speak to anyone for hours.

(Or maybe that’s just me. You do your own recharge thing, friends. You do you.)

Cathy C. Hall is a kidlit author and humor writer and extroverted introvert. See her latest story in Chicken Soup for the Soul's Miracles and More, "God of the Little Things." And if you have interesting stories, go check out the Chicken Soup topics for this year. Maybe she'll see you at the next Twitter par-tay!  (Or come visit Cathy at her blog where she's sorta the life of the party every day.)


Joanne said...

Me to a T! I didn't know there was a name for this. But it fits, for sure.

Pat Wahler said...

I totally get it. I can mingle, but then I need alone time to recharge. Great post, Cathy!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Yes, we writers are a complicated bunch...

(Does that mean you have a story in that CS collection? If so, congrats.)

Cathy C. Hall said...

I'm beginning to think there are a TON of us, flaked out on a couch and feeling drained after any event. Now we know we have a perfectly good reason for needing a long nap. :-)

And yes, Sioux, I have a story in it!

Marcia Peterson said...

I totally get it, Cathy! Your post also reminds me of the Myers Briggs types. INFJs are sometimes called the “extroverted introverts.” My daughter is one, and she is a writer. :) I'm an INTJ myself.

Unknown said...

I love the "just for now" or "just this time" attitude - it takes the pressure of "always" off, and respects who we are right now...Thanks!

Renee Roberson said...

This is so me. I enjoy meeting people in small doses (at conferences, I'll be the one chatting with the same three to four people all weekend) and the same goes at social gatherings. When I get home from work, I seriously have to veg out by myself with my dogs for 30-45 minutes just to unwind from having to be social in the office.

That horoscope also sounds like something you'd find from a fortune cookie, LOL!
Congrats on the CS publication!

Mary Horner said...

This is a good definition for many writers I know. And I also love the temporary view of having to mingle, etc., just for tonight. I'm a teacher and I love it, but can still be uncomfortable in or in front of a group I am not familiar with. We are a complicated lot, but I think that also gives us insight.

Lynn said...

I'm usually exhausted after any kind of social event... totally relate as I have to be alone for a time.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

It's a relief to know there is a classification for me. Extroverted Introvert is perfect.

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