By Louise Waters
Many writers are introverts. Louise Waters, a writer from the UK who defines herself as an Ambivert, contributed to our blog this week. She addresses what she believes draws so many introverts to writing and what strengths make them shine as writers. I hope you enjoy Louise’s perspective.
Writing is hard. Not everyone has the capacity to create stories or articles out of thin air. More often than not, writing is an activity that requires solitude, which is why some of the world’s best writers are also introverts. As famous YA author John Green once said, “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”
Why introverts are drawn to writing
Many writers classify themselves as introverted because they are part of a select group of people who can create new worlds in their head, work in isolation for hours on end, and persevere to get every word just right all at the same time. This is a special group, and many are, indeed, introverts, though some are extroverts and a few are actually ambiverts. They like working on their own, are keen listeners and observers, and are more in tune with their emotions, making them adept at creating interesting characters and settings.
But just because they like their alone time this doesn’t mean that they automatically reject working with other people. In fact, some introverts are actually drawn to writing because learning how to write gives them opportunities to be around other introverts, which is something that, ironically, they tend to enjoy. It enables them to have their own space while enjoying being part of a student or developing a writing community. Consequently, introverted aspiring writers have now found themselves in a perfect situation due to how writing is being taught. Many top universities now provide online English and writing courses aimed at writers looking to hone their craft that are on par with traditional degrees.
Those who pursue an online English degree won’t just be studying in isolation, as they can attend creative writing workshops and meet authors and writers just as they would on campus. Introverts can thrive in a setup like this, as it enables them to expand their skill set and meet fellow writers without having to be in constant contact with others. And with more universities being forced to shift to remote learning, in light of global events, introverts who prefer distance learning will be at an advantage in the coming years. This, in turn, will draw more introverts not only into the writing itself but also into learning more about it in formal settings.
Now, let’s explore exactly why introverts make great writers.
Why introverts are great writers
Introverts are great observers
Introverts are believed to be more observant and are more likely to judge the world more accurately as opposed to their other sociable peers. They’re quieter, too, giving them the capacity to spend more time observing human nature than those who are busy interacting with others. And the observation skills become useful when they start to write, as they are able to infuse the details they’ve gleaned into their story and articles.
Introverts are comfortable with solitude
It goes without saying that introverts like their alone time. They’re good at sitting alone for long stretches of time, and they don’t mind not being in contact with other people. In fact, they thrive in solitude, and writing is their way of unleashing their creative juices. Parking oneself in front of a computer or with a notebook and pen for hours may be excruciatingly boring to some, but for introverts, it’s an exciting activity.
Introverts tend to think more
Introverts are stereotyped to be overthinkers, but this is only because the information they receive goes through a pathway that involves many areas of the brain. Information travels longer, enabling them to also take longer in speaking, reacting, and making decisions. A study showed that one reason for this was that introverts have more gray matter in the front of their brains. What this means is “that introverts devote more of their energy and resources to abstract thought while extroverts have the propensity to live in the moment.” This can appear as a weakness to some, but it can also be a strength. After all, when you let a thought ruminate in your brain, you tend to create more insight and have a much wider perspective.
Introverts are excellent listeners
Introverts are naturally great at actively listening. They’re often the first people you call when you have a dilemma or when you have good news to share. They have the ability to listen and empathize with you without turning the situation around and making it about themselves. As opposed to extroverts who are inclined to jump into a conversation before fully understanding what you’ve said, introverts process information internally, allowing them to hear, understand, and provide careful insight. That way, they’re able to gather lots of information that can help with their creativity.
Add to it recent research, which found out that introverts are better learners when it comes to writing due to them having “more mental concentration” that, in turn, helps them “focus more on the task at hand.” This ability, along with excellent listening skills and introspection, lets introverts glean a wide variety of information, and then explore them creatively through writing.
Introverts like writing their thoughts more than speaking them
For many introverts, writing comes more naturally than speaking. This isn’t to say that they are terrible at speaking out their thoughts, but they are more inclined to lay out their thoughts on paper than in speech. As they write, they have the time to process their thoughts and make sense of what’s going on in their head. Plus, writing is slower than speaking, and this slowness is usually what introverts thrive on.
Introverts are often misunderstood and prejudged negatively because they prefer to shun crowds and instead feel more comfortable enjoying their own solitude. But if people take a step back and try to understand introverts, many will be pleasantly surprised at the wisdom, creativity, and talent this particular demographic possesses. More often than not, this manifests in great writing. And that, ultimately, is why introverts often make great writers.
Louise Waters is a self-admitted ambivert who writes for a living. She is a regular contributor to online lifestyle magazines and is currently researching the interconnections between introversion, introspection, and good writing.
Exclusively for jenniferkahnweiler.com