As writers, we all know (and love) the feeling of being “in the zone.” You know, that flying-high, can’t-get-any-better-than-this feeling when our fingers or pencils can’t keep up with the awesome rainbow pouring out of our minds and onto the paper. But what happens when someone bursts in and makes that rainbow splatter onto the floor?
All writers can relate to that fury, the fury of a creation put on hold.
So what about introvert writers, those individuals whose writing time equates to recharging their batteries and finding themselves again?
My Introvert Writer Experience
This has been a struggle for me since my early teen years. I was angsty as many teens were, and on top of that I was an introvert, and a writer. My room was my sanctuary, and my mom, a fellow introvert, always respected that bubble. She understood, and that’s a privilege not many introverts can enjoy from their parents.
My bubbly kid sister, however, provided the interruptions I lacked from my mom. She’d always find a way to wander into my room and ask me what I was doing, requiring me to remove my headphones, let the rainbow of glorious words fall with a splat to the floor, and glare at her uncomprehendingly. Can’t you understand I’m working? I’d think. Just go find something else to do. Entertain yourself like I did growing up.
This was not a child who could entertain herself, and I was not the entertaining type. Needless to say, there was lots of tension between us as she got older and more social, and I became more and more wrapped up in the fantasy world I was building all throughout high school and on into college. I loved my sister, and I still love her dearly, even more so as we’ve both matured.
But I simply couldn’t handle my precious writing time being interfered with.
The Big, Bad Ugly Introvert
Now, there’s a difference between being irritated, as all writers certainly would be at constant interruptions, and being furious. I looked upon every intrusion, whether it was a call to dinner or a request to clean the cat box, as an enemy, and I responded with not only frustration, but downright meanness. I shooed my sister out of my room many times and locked the door behind her. I sassed my mom when she wanted me to come to the table. I went about my chores angrily and muttered vitriol under my breath.
You might say, “Well, that was when you were a teenager. You’ve grown up since then.”
Well… I have a confession.
I hate to tattle on myself, but I’m going to. I still feel that way. I sassed my grandmother as recently as two weeks ago about interrupting me while writing. I apologized afterward, but the point remains. My initial reaction to someone coming in my room while I’m writing, even innocently to bring me ice cream, is to pick up the flamethrower and dare them to come any closer.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like that’s pretty intense. As an introvert, I highly value my alone time. What makes it worse is knowing my enneagram. I’m a 5, the Investigator, whose good points include being super smart and analytical and creative. The bad points are…you guessed it. The 5 is greedy with their time. They will give it to whom and what they please, thank you very much, and to try to steal time from a 5 is akin, in their eyes, to murder. Having that time to tinker and think is a core part of who 5s are.
People Must Be Loved
Granted. Granted, all that is true, and I know it’s true because I experience it every day, wishing I had more time to think, more time to journal and write and create and explore the world. It’s the reason I was one of the weirdos who loved documentaries in elementary school and why I subscribe to channels like Vsauce on YouTube.
But here’s the thing. The world is full of people, and those people must be loved. This is the lesson I as an introverted writer have to realize. I have to connect with the world, not only through my writing, but through my daily life and actions as well. I need to be generous with my time and show others that I care. If love is sacrifice, then the sacrifice of my time, as a 5, is the greatest expression of love that I can give.
It’s that easy, and that hard. I’m still working on this and realizing the truth of it day by day. With God’s grace, I’ll get better at letting people in and not shutting the door on my sister and not grouching when I have to go be a human being and interact with others. I’ll get better and grow as a person by loving sacrificially and stepping out of my fantasy world when the real world requires me to. It’s hard, but I can do it, with God’s grace.
And if you struggle with the same thing, you can, too.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you on the next ship in.
Tell me your opinion: Do you have a similar experience, or even a totally different experience as an introvert writer? Are you an extrovert writer and want to chip in your experience? Tell me in the comments below: I’d love to chat!