Why We Need Introvert and Extrovert Authors

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You probably saw the headline and thought I was talking about two different types of authors, right? Ah, but this is an entirely new and different kind of post. This is how to draw on your hidden abilities as an extrovert and an introvert. 

Obviously, it's becoming ever more important for a good writer to use both. Story is king and only becoming more so as advertising and big media lose its dominance. We want writers who get themselves, who know how to tap into their heart message and share it with deep meaning (introverts). But in this new maket of noise and confusion, we also need authors who are dynamic and demand our eyeballs and can speak with authority, wit, and passion (extroverts). 

And this deep writer and engaging author need to live in the same person. 

I have to admit I'm biased. Prejudiced. Like most people, I tend toward one type over the other. Two guesses which it is.

It isn't my fault extroverts aren't as intelligent as introverts. It's why everyone wants to say they're an introvert but be an extrovert. If a respected news outlet reported that extroverts score an average of 10-20 points lower on IQ tests that introverts, who among us wouldn't believe it?

The extroverts. That's right.

I'm only teasing extroverts because they're tougher than the sensitive introverts. Never tease an introvert. Believe me, they carry that stuff around for life (Actually extroverts do too, so you see? There's more similarity than you think).

Now before I get into any more trouble, let me point out that God would not have made the majority of the world extroverts and then go on to make an entire species of animal–dogs–in their image if extroverts didn't make the world go around. Some of my best friends and favorite family members are extroverts, but if you're a dog-lover and a noise-maker who ramps up at parties and sometimes steps on people's toes in conversation, and just can't contain all that bubbly personality sometimes…if you're a bit wild and often messy and don't really get those quiet people and why they can't just lighten up and enjoy themselves…you have the making of a great celebrity author.

But God made cats too (and I know some of you extroverts are cat haters and you know what I'm talking about) and it's thanks to introverts that we even understand personality types to begin with. Jung (introvert) pointed out that introversion and extroversion actually come from differences in the brain and that typically, everyone has some of each in them (this explains why introverts with 1% extroversion need Paxil and extroverts with 1% introversion are commonly illiterate and lack abstract thought capabilities. I'm kidding, again.) 

Honestly, as a dominant introvert, I have many deficiencies if I want to be an author someday. So I'm encouraged because while I need my "introvert" part to produce a deep and meaningful subject and to craft it meticulously, I can draw on my passionate "extrovert" part for that great writing to connect (in quotes b/c it's generalizing). I've never heard this mentioned at a writers conference before, but I think this bears some deeper investigation. If the goal of life is finding greater balance between parts, this seems a good opportunity to blend our dreams for celebrated authorhood and the disparate parts of our personalities into a satisfying whole. 

I do wish history was more of a guide here. Most classic books and even those from several years ago could come from introvert writers and they did just fine. Today, headliner extroverts hire introverts and give them a "with" byline. Though obscure extroverts are probably in the same boat (it's rumored they exist), authors have to tap into both parts of themselves to get a publisher.

I'm just coming to this as another thing to consider in pursuing this writing/publishing business. I'll think on it some more and share my thoughts when I'm back on Monday.

Postscript: I recognize the peril of intentionally generalizing about the actual characteristics of extroverts and introverts. So don't take my word for it, Reading Rainbow-ers! Read for yourself: Please Understand Me

To be continued…

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9 thoughts on “Why We Need Introvert and Extrovert Authors”

  1. There is so much balance required of writers. Oxymoronic (ok, I say its a word) expectations pulling us in all directions, when nothing is accomplished without focus. Writing/Editing. Writing/Marketing. Making a living at writing/ having a life!
    It’s not quite the same as “introvert/extrovert”, but I took a writing course called “How to Think Sideways” that focused on getting the Right Brain (creativity) and Left Brain (analysis) to work together to produce not only good writing, but also an intelligently organised writing career. It gave a lot of unique perspectives on writing and using your brain that I haven’t seen anywhere else. There’s a button on my website if anyone’s interested.

  2. Hey, Mick. I came over from facebook. This post reminded me of something Katherine Paterson said.
    I was a very shy child who loved to show off.
    I love that quote because it feels like it gets to the heart of many writers. .

  3. I can so relate. I’m an introvert by nature and preference, but if the mood hits me right, I can turn my extrovert on, especially where it counts for a writer…at writing conferences and in front of editors and agents. But it IS a constant, conscious struggle to let my extrovert self out. It doesn’t just happen unless I’m “in the writing zone” feeling confident and excited about writing and sharing and learning and encouraging others… Make sense? Well, maybe I should think more about it and come back Monday!

  4. No wonder I’m feeling so conflicted! As a writer and a speaker I often struggle with the paradoxical parts of my personality. The truth is, and you’ve just given me permission to be who I am,I am both an extrovert and an introvert. In a room full of people who are talking to each other, I gravitate to the bookshelf and lose myself in the glory of books; but if someone asks an intersting question at a party, I have to keep myself from openly leading the discussion. Not much for small talk though. Once again you’ve called me to see things differently, Mick. Love your blogs about the writing life.

  5. I can’t offer anything insightful for this blog. I totally believe that extroverts score lower on IQ tests considering I just smiled and giggled as I read your blog. Huh, which am I? Praise God when He brings a balance of the two to a project! Whether in the form of a fried, co-worker, editor, family member, whoever, God blesses us with resources in those opposites so our work can sing. Man, team Jesus is amazing.
    Oh, and it would only take one guess to know which one you are :)

  6. Mick,
    You’re hitting me where I live. I’m an introvert by nature, though my wife would argue I’m a wildly extroverted person. The tough part for me is engaging with people I’ve never met and in unfamiliar surroundings. My introvert tendencies get the best of me there. Once I know you – sure, I can be rowdy and off the wall. I’m trying to find a way to tap that extroverted energy into my personality regularly. Wish me well!

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