my big creative year : for introverts

On a scale of 1-10 for introversion -1 being an actual hermit and 10 being the super extroverted end – I would place myself at 3, or maybe 2 and 1/2. I don’t mind it, don’t want to change it and couldn’t if I did. It’s not a condition, it’s not better or worse than the other end of the spectrum, I do like people, I’m not sad or lonesome in any general sense, I’m just wired in such a way that solitude, and lots of it, is where my energy comes from.

solitary sailor

I would like to be a BETTER introvert though in three ways I’m clear about:

Figuring out how not to feel bad about it or at least feel bad about it less often – I waste so much time and energy on that.

Being a more diligent and intrepid explorer of myself – I want to reach past the comfortable territory I’ve already navigated and develop more skill at sharing that world.

And by challenging the edge of my natural inclination more often – not in an effort to be someone else but to expand to my full capacity,  to explore and experiment outside myself and collaborate more – in ways that respect what I need but push me past what’s entirely comfortable and familiar.

P.S. If this is something you relate to check out Jonathan Field’s conversation with Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

10 Comments

  1. This May be, the first time I’ve ever seen anyone discuss the topic of their personal introvert issues. I think you were very brave to do so. It’s a curiosity for me. I don’t mean that in a negative way. Just something that I would like to understood, more. I hope you will continue to share your discoveries along the way. Laura

    • We introverts talk about it all the time, it’s just that we’re usually talking amongst ourselves (or to ourselves)!

  2. Thank you for furthering the discussion on this topic. The older I get the more time I need to myself…usually to make things. It’s my favorite soul place these days.

    Friends aren’t very understanding but, hey, we may only have one of these lives!

    I’m a fan, a big fan, of yours. Keep up the inspiring work that you do, on all levels.

  3. Cynthia

    I relate totally. For me, the few good friends that accept and value me as an introvert are invaluable. I’d love a few more. I appreciate your blog very much!

  4. Hi Ann. Yes, it’s hard to own being an introvert. But it is great that we live in an age where introverts can discover their trait, find one another, and tap into wonderful resources (thanks for the link). I am an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person (yes, there are books and blogs devoted to those of us much more sensitive than others), which is often common in creative people. Best of luck in your quest to expand yourself; your fellow introverts are rooting for you!

  5. Hi, Ann! Fellow introvert here, I’d say I’m a 2 to 2.5 on the scale. I highly recommend reading Quiet by Susan Cain, it has really changed the way I think and feel about being an introvert. My husband – an extrovert who’d be about an 8 on the scale – also really benefited from reading it.

  6. Ann — I ‘m also an introvert and finally proud of it (or at least not ashamed of it). Susan Cain has done a lot to promote a better understanding of introversion and emphasizing its very positive side. She also has an excellent Ted Talk you can view online, as well as her website, Quiet Revolution (quietrev dot com), which has many interesting articles and resources.

    I believe my love of solitude, especially when creating, is essential to my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. I have never understood the desire to attend large parties or to have a full social calendar. I’ve always wanted a bumper sticker that says “I’d Rather Be Home Making Something.”

    Thanks for sharing this part of you with us. Obviously, you are not alone!

    Suzanne

  7. Hi Ann – As soon as I saw the word introvert in the title of your piece I thought of Quiet by Susan Cain. It’s an excellent book – I’ve spent many years thinking there was something wrong with me for not wanting to be and not able to be part of the crowd. Reading Susan Cain’s book gave me a sense of confidence in my identity and her descriptions of how an introverts whole way of seeing the world is slightly different really resonated with me. As an artist, as well, I think being ‘other’ is essential for being creative and provides the opportunity, for me at least, to communicate a quirky, off beat view of the world!

  8. Fellow introvert here. 🙂 My husband and closest friend are also an introverts, so I’m a little spoiled in that department; I have two people that understand me without effort. I forget that it’s not the norm to want to focus on one’s personal interests and projects as opposed to hanging out with other people. My co-workers are especially confused because at work I’m outspoken and like to take on big challenges, which they mistake for extroversion.

    My most recent foray in trying to reach out into the world of people wasn’t successful. For a couple of years I cultivated an in-person crafting group. I was hoping to find a group of makers that wanted to talk about techniques, tools, materials, and skill. What ended up forming was a group of people who wanted to talk about anything but that. I suppose the kind of people that show up to a stranger’s craft night aren’t typically introverts (haha).

    Interestingly, for the 9 years that I blogged, I forged a handful of incredibly deep friendships with other bloggers. Every single one is an introvert. These are people I respect and love. We may talk/email once a week or we may go months or years without a word. But every time we connect, it’s as if no time has passed at all. That’s the best thing to come from my blogging. I never would have met them otherwise.

    I think that’s the beauty of blogging (or the internet and email in general) for introverts; we can choose when and how we engage online. We can think about and plan our interactions. We can keep ourselves from getting overwhelmed or drained more gracefully than when we interact with others in person (you can’t/shouldn’t/won’t just turn around and walk away from people in meatspace when it all gets to be too much).

    I think it’s good to challenge ourselves, make ourselves uncomfortable, fail. That’s how you learn things, right? But I do want to say that I believe in my heart that every single one of us, you included, is perfect just the way you are.

    My head keeps telling me that I need to work harder and always be improving. Sometimes I wish I could quiet that part of my head for a time and wallow around in my safe place creating things that are easy and fun. I think that’s where the magic is – creations that are made with no expectation, plan, or self-consciousness.

    I suspect you’re able to tap into that, I see it in your daily paintings (don’t I?). If you share more about how you do that, I’d be all ears.

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