Thursday, September 26, 2013

Introvert/Extrovert

I’ve just finished the first draft of my new book, Hell With the Lid Blown Off. Thank goodness. I changed the end of this one at least three times. The same person committed the murder in all three versions, but what happened to the murderer changed radically from End # 1 to End # 3. The great irony of this is that I’m not at all sure my editor is going to like what I finally did, because it’s unusual. I like it. But anyone who has written several novels will understand what I mean when I say that after a while, you do like to mix it up and try something different for a change. Oh, well, we shall see.

I’ve complained and complained about how difficult writing this book was for me, mainly because I kept being interrupted by life situations that had to be taken care of RIGHT NOW, and which would take me away from the story for days, sometimes. You know how difficult it is to get back into the flow when you’ve been away from your WIP for even one day, much less several days.

Once the book is published, I’ll be spilling my life blood on the altar of publicity, because as Barbara so eloquently illustrated in yesterday’s blog, that’s what you have to do these days. I’m pretty good at public speaking. I don’t mind it. In fact I rather enjoy it. But I don’t put myself out there nearly as much as I could or as I probably should.

When I don't have to worry about PR, when I do have time...days stretching out before me with nothing that must be done but write, oh, how I love that. In fact, I don’t even have to be writing to enjoy a day of nothing. I can diddle around and/or stare happily into space all by myself for hours on end. Because, like many an author, I am an introvert.



I heard David Morrell, author of First Blood and Murder as a Fine Art, among many others, describe himself as an introvert, and explain that being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy. It means that you are energized by being alone and being around other people drains you. An extrovert may become bored by a day without a lot of activity, but to an introvert, quiet time is a necessity.

A few months ago I read an article on Huffpost by Carolyn Gregoire on just this topic. Gregoire listed some twenty-three indications of introversion, many of which fit my personality type. But a few of them really hit home.

For instance, she points out that to an introvert, giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.
     Amen, sister. In fact, I’ve wondered if I could have been a successful actress. When one is “on stage”, one is in charge of the situation. When one is trying to make small talk in a crowd, there is no telling what the heck you’re going to have to come up with. It’s exhausting.

An introvert, Carolyn says, has a constantly running inner monologue.
     No kidding. It’s crazy time in here.

Carolyn notes that if you are an introvert, you might very well be a writer.
     And if you’re a writer, you’d darn well better have at least some introvert in you. Sadly, if you want to be a successful promoter, you’re going to have to try and cultivate your inner extrovert, as well.

3 comments:

Karen Casey Fitzjerrell said...

Oh my gosh, Donnis. "my life blood on the alter of publicity" and "energized by being alone" describe my situation to a "T". I try to explain those very thoughts to non-writer friends/family and hope they get it. My fear is that they'll think I'm a snob because I want/need alone time. Great post. Thanks.

Donis Casey said...

Karen, Charles Dickens once wrote something to the effect of "I'm sorry if you are offended if I cannot take an hour to socialize, but creativity requires solitude." Euripides probably had the same problem.

Tina said...

Yes, I always say I got into this gig because I like to murder imaginary people while wearing my pajamas. Introverts unite! But not if it requires yet another social hour.