As a writer, you are uniquely gifted with a voice that is capable of understanding and giving language to the human condition. Pretty lofty, huh? Knowing this, it probably behooves us to familiarize ourselves with what it means to be human. And the best place to start is getting to “know thyself”, as the old standby goes.

So let’s start with the basics and ask, “Am I an introvert or an extrovert?”

In today’s episode of the Write Now podcast, we explore the places and social situations in which you as a writer flourish and the source of your creative energy.

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The Armchair Philosophy

Let’s get one thing straight: the classification of introverts and extroverts is not scientific. It’s simply an assessment of your personal reactions to social stimuli and how you prefer to rest. As such, there are many already-debunked myths about each kind of person that continue to pervade what we think when we hear these terms.

Introverts are typically viewed as shy, quiet, overly sensitive anti-social shut-ins with a penchant for collecting felines. On the flip side, extroverts are labeled as loud, self-centered, overly-friendly, people-loving leaders with energy to spare. But we all know these are just stereotypes. No one is truly one or the other. In fact, the term ambivert eludes to a fairly even mixture of intro- and extroversion. But yes, there is a definite spectrum here. And understanding where you thrive on that spectrum can help your writing in a big way.

Most people see writing as a quiet, solitary introvert activity. But some of the greatest authors of all time are extroverts. It all depends on how writing energizes you. Do you prefer exchanging ideas in a group? Do you need a quiet place in which to lose yourself? Or do you like mixing it up with a bit of both? You don’t have to limit yourself to just one method. Just be flexible and be sure to take time and refresh yourself between writing sessions.

Wearing Many Hats

As modern-day writers, we have to fill a plethora of roles that, on their own, make up entire job descriptions. On top of actually writing something, we are expected to:

  1. Read and critique others’ work
  2. Listen to criticism and praise
  3. Observe our surroundings
  4. Strategize, both novel plots and advertising our work
  5. Market ourselves as authors and maintain our platform
  6. Act as Public Relations to our readers and critics
  7. Speak about our processsometimes for crowds
  8. Communicate with editors and publicists
  9. Sell our writing as a product
  10. …and the list goes on…

As you can imagine, no one person is able to flawlessly perform all of these duties. But when we understand how much of an introvert or extrovert we are, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses. This, in turn, helps us discover the types of people we need to surround ourselves with and draw upon to be successful. It also helps us identify how and how often we rest and recharge.

One of the most helpful tools you can draw upon is a personality assessment. Whether it’s an extensive Myers Briggs test or a free evaluation like 16personalities, understanding how you make decisions, what motivates you, and how you interact with people is invaluable to a writer. I encourage you to take one, if you haven’t already. It never hurts to reconnect with yourself from time to time.

Helpful Resources

I hope you found this week’s episode useful! Here are the different personality tests I talked about:

As a writer, where do you get your energy? How does your personality reflect how you write?

Tell me all about it on my contact page. You can also leave a comment below, or simply email me at hello [at] sarahwerner [dot] com. 🙂

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