“You might be an introvert if you were ready to go home before you left the house.”
I know little about Criss Jami, the author who made this quote, but I can totally relate!
In all the personality tests I’ve taken over the years, I always land on the far end of the introversion scale. Myers-Briggs puts me as an INTJ, and I came out as a Phelgmatic/Melancholic when I did Tim LaHaye’s temperament test.
Spending time with people outside my immediate family drains me mentally, while solitude recharges me. Not that I don’t like people; it’s just that I need a rest after being sociable. Ironically, most of my closest friends are extroverts who kindly pulled me into their circle.
Common wisdom says that most writers are introverts. That could be because introverts thrive on two key elements that are part of a writing career: time spent alone and a rich inner life. Meaning we like solitary pursuits and we find the inside of our own heads an interesting place.
I was curious to find out whether there’s any truth to this stereotype, beyond using myself as an example.
So, I asked my fellow InspyRomance bloggers whether they consider themselves to be introverts or extroverts and how that aspect of their personality affects their writing careers. Their responses were fascinating, not just because I love hearing what makes people tick, but because not all of them are introverts.
Emily Dana Botrous: “I’m an INFJ and a Choleric/Melancholic. My take-charge Choleric side balances my Melancholic side but sometimes puts myself as odds with…myself. Lol. I have no problem standing up for myself—but my heart almost pounds out of my chest every single time I do it. I am an extreme introvert, but I am capable of appearing quite confident in public. I’m not sure how my personality influences my writing, other than that writing is the most comfortable environment for me. It’s where I feel zero stress and can be whoever I want to be on the page. I live vicariously through my less-introverted characters, and express myself through my more-introverted characters.”
Judith McNees: “I’m ISFP the Adventurer. I appreciate novelty in my experiences, but I’m also 87% introverted, so my new experiences often include places in nature that have an illusion of seclusion, even if they aren’t actually secluded. I avoid places like galleries, museums, etc. like the plague. My writing is influenced by my personality quite a bit. For starters, I’m more inclined to hang out with my family or a very small circle of friends. I have to be conscious about including other characters besides just the main family that my series is about, because if it were me, there wouldn’t be a lot of side characters in the story. I also love to give my readers new experiences, so I use a lot of natural settings in my writing.”
Tara Grace Ericson: “I am an ambivert and each time I measure 49/51 percent on the E/I scale (or sometimes 51/49)
I think my extrovertedness helps my author business in that I am always seeking out relationships and collaborations with other authors, and I tend to do well communicating and keeping everyone on the same page. I love in-person conferences and writing retreats.”
Elizabeth Maddrey: “I’m an INTJ. But my I isn’t super extreme (but it’s not close to even. It’s still definitely I.) It’s been a lot of years since I did the other one and I don’t remember what I was. I am an enneagram 6 (I’ve finally settled there as I do have 1 tendencies so tests often need “tie breaker questions” to see where I ultimately land. Looking at descriptions, 6 fits me better than 1.)”
Lindi Peterson: “I LOVE being around people and crowds, but can’t WAIT to get home by myself—in my space. Not sure what that says about me! My alone time renews me, but honestly, sometimes I need a push to leave my space.”
Amy R. Anguish: “I don’t believe in Meyers/Briggs stuff because I hate being put in a box/stereotype. That being said, I am definitely more extroverted than a lot of the writers I know. I don’t mind talking to strangers (hung out at the farmer’s market last Saturday and am not afraid to let cashiers know I am an author, etc) and I am very much a people person. This does make it harder for me to write introverted characters. But not impossible. Because I married an introvert.”
Valerie Comer: “I’m an introvert but not shy. I can do people. It’s like playing a part! But it’s exhausting. ISTJ/ phlegmatic. I’d say it’s a benefit to being a writer since I’m focused and organized and can think through problems. However, I can’t consciously think through plots!”
Narelle Atkins: “I’m a learned extrovert. My mother and sister are extroverts, and that’s how I’d thought girls were supposed to behave, lol. My husband and adult children are more introverted. My natural introvert tendencies are now allowed to flourish. 🙂 In my experience, environment has a big impact. I have trouble choosing answers in personality tests because multiple answers often equally apply. I can cope with lots of people and I enjoy writing conferences etc. I also value being left alone to write.”
Laura Ashwood: “I am an INFJ and total introvert; however, I can have lengthy awkward social interactions about pets, food and books (just not my writing) LOL.”
If you’re curious about your personality, this free test will give you a rough and ready assessment of where you fall on the Myers-Briggs scale.
Do you think your personality has affected your career and how you choose to spend your time?