“[H]ere’s a little “secret” about us: it’s not that we love to be surrounded at all times, it’s that we need to be. And herein, lies the problem.” ~ Dr. Judith Rich

So much attention has been paid to introverts recently that it is easy to forget that extroverts have their own challenges, too, especially when it comes to solitary, creative endeavors.

Photo credit: Martin Fisch

Photo credit: Martin Fisch (CC BY 2.0)

As a reminder, here is a brief explanation of the difference between introverts and extroverts (from Fast Company):

Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.

Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social.

Writing is rarely easy for anyone, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see the potential difficulty for extroverts: Because they are energized by social interaction, they may avoid—and even be depleted by—long periods of solitude, which is necessary for writing.

What is the answer? I have noticed that the extroverted writers I know use social media much differently from the way I do. They pop in and out more often, ask questions to elicit conversation, and generally spend more time interacting (rather than simply “liking” or sharing resources).

While I do some interaction on social media, I think twice before asking a question on Facebook, for example, since that requires I hang around to engage in the discussion, something that I may enjoy but that makes it harder for me to focus on any writing project I might be working on. That very engagement, however, for extroverts is what energizes them, perhaps allowing them to sustain bursts of necessary alone time throughout the day.

Extroverts, what works for you in terms of finding the right balance of time alone and with others?

See Also