Here’s the truth: writing is not nearly as isolating as it once was. While some of us wish it was easier to sequester ourselves away in an isolated picturesque cabin to write, being a writer now, especially with the advent of social media, means we have a massive community available to us—whenever and wherever.
While socializing with other writers (and humans in general) is great fun and can act as fodder for a plot brainwave, if you’re anything like me, it can also drain your creative energy. Add on the stress of having a day job or even just interacting with others on a daily basis and it’s easy to become an introverted mess. So, in contribution to the never-ending ending pursuit of balance, here are a couple of tips from one introvert to another. And hey, if you have oodles of social energy, read on to understand why some of your friends might need to take a step back sometimes.
1. Protect your introvert (and writing) time
As someone who gains their energy from being alone (versus being around other people), I find my creativity is directly tied to how much social energy I have left. This means that, while I enjoy spending time with friends, family, and colleagues, it can sometimes feel like my schedule fills up so fast there’s no time for my #1: me. Just as I try to schedule in writing time and stick to it, I also try to schedule in a time each week to recharge. Whether I mark it in my bullet journal, on my calendar, or just save it in my brain, having this scheduled recharge time set ahead of time is something to look forward to. Even when life gets really busy, prioritizing a moment of self-care will help you reset and recharge. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how many of your writer friends will totally understand when you say “sorry, I just need some introvert time.”
2. Know your boundaries, and how to adjust for them
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you have to be a total loner. Lots of introverts love interacting with people—both in person and online. Want to make friends but aren’t a fan of large group situations? Head to a writing retreat instead of going to a big conference. Hate how public Twitter can be? DM someone instead of @ing them. There’s no need to feel like you’re missing out on all the good stuff about the writing community just because you need a few hours alone every once and awhile. You’re allowed to have both.
3. Push yourself, just a little
While John Mulaney was a genius when he said cancelling plans is the best, sometimes you need to challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and engage with the writing community. Whether this means saying yes to drinks with a couple of writing friends, reaching out to compliment a stranger on their badass concept, setting up a writing blog with your roomie, or going across the continent for a writing retreat, saying yes every once in a while isn’t going to kill you. In fact, you might just enjoy it and learn something new that will benefit your writing.
4. You Do You
At the end of the day, you know what works best for you and your creative process. Don’t let anyone pressure you into being one way or the other. There’s no one way to be an introvert, nor is there one way to be a writer.
Are you an introvert? What tips do you have for your fellow introvert-writing humans (I have a feeling there will be a legion of us). Let us know in the comments or on social media (or just DM us)!