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As I sit here and neurotically obsess over how my writing is being dissected, I remembered something… 

Once, on a dare, I took an online personality test that showed I was ninety percent introverted. Well, I all ready knew that! There are times I would rather lick a toilet bowl clean than be social with a group of strangers. So, learning I was introverted wasn’t a big surprise. However, that ninety percent number kept rattling around in my noggin annoying me.  Then I remembered how I had exited out of the personality test web site and allowed my word document to pop back up on my computer screen. That is when it hit me. How on earth could I be ninety percent introverted and love to write? Those two just don’t seem to mix. I mean as a writer, you delve into the most intimate feelings and thoughts going on in your soul, vomit them out on paper and give it to strangers for them to read. I know plenty of extroverts who share less with their spouses! This made me wonder, what if writing is like some sort of perverted exercise in extroversion?

Maybe that web site should have another category in their little personality test saved just for writers, such as the perverted introvert. Or for those of us that still hide behind fiction, the subterfuge extrovert.  

What do you guys think?




  1. “Perverted introvert.” I love it.

    The writerly personality has always fascinated me, the contradictions specifically. It can’t be a coincidence that so very many writers and artists have been/are depressives with drug and alcohol dependencies. And yet, these troubled minds produce such beautiful visions. Why? I dunno, but I sure would like to find out.

    And I’d be interested to hear more, Joanna, about this concept of hiding behind fiction.

    Just for fun, one of my favorite quotes of all time: “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” (Gene Fowler)

  2. If you’re ever missing on a Tuesday night, I guess we’ll know to look for you in the bathroom …

    Some interesting questions. What about those writers who keep their work to themselves? I have a friend who is a wonderful poet, but he refuses to submit any of his work. No explanation why. So can we call him an introverted writer?

    What about someone who is the life of the party socially, but who then goes home afterward and continues work on a memoir that s/he plans to never, ever share with another human being? Can you be a social extrovert while also being a creative introvert? And vice versa?

    Like anything else, the line gets blurry.

    I think of JD Salinger. Scribbling away up on his hermit’s hill, stashing his pages in a drawer that nobody will open until after he dies. If he were a true introvert, though, wouldn’t he burn those pages as soon as he wrote them?

    Or maybe he’s not writing at all. But I doubt that. Nobody who creates something as beautiful as “For Esme–With Love and Squalor” can stop writing.

    He’d probably rather lick a toilet bowl clean.

  3. Justine – My mentor had a quote plastered on the front of his podium, which read, “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer, it’s ALL material!” That’s one of my favs.
    As for hiding behind fiction…I’m not sure, I mean we know the mantra, “Write what you know”, but I find the things I write tend to be about emotions/feelings I know rather than the exact literal situation. Maybe doing that is a way to hide yourself, but still express what your soul is feeling? Someone once asked me how I handle my anger in relation to dealing with my situation at home. I responded without thinking and said, “Oh, I just go murder some people and that always seems to help.” As you can imagine I received a blank stare from them. Then I had to explain, I meant WRITE about murdering someone. lol So, I don’t know. 🙂

    David – Your first line made me laugh and for that, I thank you. You’re so right about the lines of life blurring. It can be difficult for a linear brain to accept and you came up with some great categories for that test. More to think about. 🙂 The last comment about Salinger made me remember the quote, “We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.” (Maugham) I think, maybe, that is the driving force behind all of us, perverted introvert or not.

    (Thanks guys for taking the time to comment.)

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