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-- the fearless type --
It's no secret that there are a lot of posts out there for introverted creatives. They proclaim the merits of introversion and extend validation and positivity for introvert writers. This post is a little different, but hopefully just as encouraging. While it is important to feel comfortable in who you are, we wanted to provide a master list of tips for introverted creatives-- tips and ideas for how to write more effectively, grow in your craft, and be creatively fearless!
Quick side note: In case you don't know whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, here's the rundown. Extroverts are energized when they are with people and can get drained if they're alone for excessive amounts of time. Introverts are easily drained in social settings and need to get alone to recharge. Extroverts are not necessarily loud or outgoing, and they may not even like large groups. It is very possible they could get drained easily by certain people, there can be shy extroverts, most aren't shallow or obnoxious like the web likes to portray them, and it is totally plausible for an extrovert to not like putting themselves out there. On the other hand, not all introverts are anti-social, deep, serious, or timid. A lot of introverts enjoy hanging out with their friends and can be friendly and outgoing. Also, it doesn't matter which you are, everybody needs space from time to time, and everybody needs people at times. So don't buy into the stereotypes. It literally comes down to (for the sake of simplicity here): do you get energized more when with people (even if it's only certain ones), or do you recharge best alone?
That said, this is the post all about introverted writers! (If you're an extrovert: please give this a read anyway (you might still learn something), and then head on over to our post for you!).
1. Create your own writing space. It's important to have an area to write, and especially for introverts, it can be beneficial to have a place set aside that's private and quiet. Not only will this help you think better and work smoother, but you will also discover that having a specific place you write can help jumpstart your brain into writing mode whenever you go there. The problem is, a lot of people don't have room for an office or even a small desk. This is when it's time to think outside the box! You can create your own writing space in multiple different ways. Maybe that means clearing your nightstand to fit your laptop and hanging up a little bulletin board next to it. Or maybe it means setting up a little table and chair by a window out of the way. The point is, try to carve out a little space to be yours for writing-- a place you can go and be distraction-free.
2. Form writing routines and rituals. Creating little rituals connected to your writing times is a great way to help you instantly be tuned in to your project every time you complete your routines. This can be as simple as lighting candles, grabbing a coffee in a favorite mug, turning on a custom playlist for your book, or adding some ambience. It can even include things like scribbling a scene list on paper first, clearing off your desk, our spending five minutes to free write. (We talk a lot about freewriting here, but if you aren't sure exactly what that means, check out this in-depth post all about it!).
3. Find your community. You hear it everywhere: Connect, socialize, reach out to your fellow authors and potential customers. Well, forget all that. Not only is that going to stretch anybody too thin, but it can easily end up that you can spend too much time on connecting and producing content for the public that you don't focus as much as you need to on your actual books (or creative works). This is why it's important to find your community-- the unique people that will help you on your journey, that are your kind of people. You don't want to just ignore all thing social, because that is going to be detrimental in the long run. You just want to find your niche of people-- everyone needs that support and an audience-- and stick to them.
4. Focus on What's Important. Going along with the previous point: Focus on what's important to you as an indie author. We wrote about that more in this post under the point "It's good to have a plan and clear goals" but let's recap here: Ignore the idea that you need to jump into all these different things to be successful as an indie author. Trying to do everything will just lead to burnout and that's especially true for introverts. Sit down and work through your brand, your mission, your personal goals, and who your audience is. Then use that to hone in on what exactly it is you need to be doing, and how to do it well.
5. Learn how to get (and take) honest feedback. It's tough to write something and then have somebody find flaws in it, but as a writer, it's imperative. It's also important to get that feedback from someone whose opinion you trust. It might take some trial and error, but learn how to get honest feedback from those whose judgment you can rely on. As an introvert, this can be intimidating, so make sure you can find at least one or two people you can trust will give you honest feedback. This may be someone from your writing community (and another good reason to invest in finding your circle), or perhaps it's a literary-loving friend who can be truthful with you but also is someone you have confidence in. It's also necessary to be able to take that honest feedback and use it wisely. Make a practice of being able to emotionally distance yourself from your projects enough to see with a clear eye, understand where your critics are coming from, and how to implement (or ignore) their advice and thoughts accordingly. Realize that just because someone gives constructive criticism, it doesn't mean they hate you or your book. In fact, most of the time, it means they care enough to try to help you improve.
6. Avoid Marketing/Promotional Burnout. Burnout is only too real in so many areas of indie author life, but one way it can affect writers greatly is with marketing and promoting. While this is a needed component of being an indie author, it is also probably the hardest and most distasteful, especially if you get drained quickly with social interaction or promoting yourself. This is why it's a great idea to approach marketing and promotions with a strategy to keep things simple. It can be good to take a course or two (many are free!) on marketing and then map out a plan that fits your personal needs. Just because it's promotional doesn't mean it has to be pushy, obnoxious, or sales-y.
7. Figure out What Works For You. This can be a process that takes place over time, but it's good to keep track of what works for you and what doesn't. The creative life is never a one-shoe-fits-all scenario, and that needs to be something you remember as you go on your writing journey. Don't feel pressured to do something just because everyone else is, or it has claims of success, or some big name is doing it. As you try new things, use your experiences to map out what seems to do well for you, and what doesn't, and then stick to that.
8. Create a Habit. It's so easy to talk about writing and never actually do it. Especially if you're the kind of person who loves quiet time, hanging out alone on their phone, or just daydreaming, it can be easy to get distracted by every little daily thing. Taking the time to consciously choose to write is the first step to creating a habit that can help you actually achieve your goals and make progress in your writing. If you're a subscriber, you have access to our various writer's planners that can really help keep you organized, productive, and on track. Some other great alternatives are:
9. Continue Learning. In the world of easy access to information, there is no excuse for not continuing to learn. Don't let yourself get fooled into thinking you've got it-- keep learning! Read articles, follow blogs, and get books on writing. Take courses, and allow yourself to truly think about what you're doing with your writing.
10. Step out of your comfort zone. Bouncing off of the idea to continue learning: Be sure to consistently step outside of your comfort zone. This can mean you try a different writing style or practice some short stories in a genre you're not accustomed to, you could comment on that blog you've been following quietly for ages, you can try an online writing challenge, you could study a part of literature that's not your forte, you could take the plunge and post that story, share your work with a beta-reader, or send your book off to a novel contest. Staying stagnant never gets you anywhere, so don't let fear hold you back! Keep learning, and step out of your comfort zone. This doesn't have to even be big, dramatic steps-- just continue to stretch yourself in small ways as you grow.
11. Make sure you take time to recharge. As an introvert, it's easy to get drained just from day to day interactions. Trying to write when you're already tired out is never a good idea. While it's important to keep a habit, be sure that you are able to come to your story recharged. Maybe this means taking a few minutes to journal before starting, or sitting alone and allowing yourself a chance to process and unwind before hitting your novel. This can even include being drained from social media-- you may need to write before checking your email and social media, or turn off your notifications while you're writing.
12. Practice writing in the moment. You might be thinking: "But you just told me to make sure I'm recharged when writing!". That's true. But it's also good as a writer to practice writing in the moment. If you're feeling a great emotion, writing down on some scrap paper is a good way to get those raw, unfiltered thoughts on paper before they're lost forever. It's also a great idea to try writing when you're in public. Whether you're on a train, waiting at an appointment, or you're in your local coffee shop with headphones and your laptop: take time to stop and savor the moment, and be conscious of what's going on around you. Writing on the spur of the moment, when you're processing a lot of thoughts or feelings, or as the world moves around you can strengthen your observational skills as well as your storytelling skills.
So those are twelve practical tips for introverted writers! Are you an introverted writer? What is your biggest struggle, and what are your best tips? Comment below and let's share ideas!
All over the internet, you'll find lots of advice out there for introverted authors. How to market your book, how to navigate social media, how to put yourself out there and so on. I think it's great that there are articles like that (I mean, I even wrote a post about it here). There are a lot of things that can be difficult in the indie world especially for introverted writers, and of course, most would assume writers are probably all introverted anyway, right? The truth is, whether you're introverted or extraverted, you can be a writer if you have a passion for it. The other thing worth noting is that neither has it easier than the other. There are struggles we all face, and of course, there are particular struggles extroverted writers face, and particular struggles introverts face. The fact is, we don't discriminate here and we definitely don't think any certain type of writer is better than the other. Let's focus instead on helping each other out!
Quick side note: In case you don't know whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, here's the rundown. Extroverts are energized when they are with people and can get "low" if they're alone for excessive amounts of time. Introverts are easily drained in social settings and need to get alone to recharge. Extroverts are not necessarily loud or outgoing, and they may not even like large groups. It is very possible they could get drained easily by certain people, there can be shy extroverts, most aren't shallow or obnoxious like the web likes to portray them, and it is totally plausible for an extrovert to not like putting themselves out there. On the other hand, not all introverts are anti-social, deep, serious, or timid. A lot of introverts enjoy hanging out with their friends and can be friendly and outgoing. Also, it doesn't matter which you are, everybody needs space from time to time, and everybody needs people at times. So don't buy into the stereotypes. It literally comes down to (for the sake of simplicity here): do you get energized more when with people (even if it's only certain ones), or do you recharge best alone?
That said, here is our master list of tips for extroverted writers! (If you're an introvert: please give this a read anyway (you might still learn something), and then head on over to our post for you!).
1. Find a writing friend. Writing is lonely. The indie world is even more secluded. So do yourself a favor and get connected with a writer friend. Whether you do word sprints, word wars or writing challenges together, alpha-read for each other, or simply chat about books and writing life, having a good writer friend is a huge help for extroverted writers. It helps you have the connection you need while still keeping your mind focused on your writing.
2. Join a writing group. Going along with the writing friend point, if you are able to join a writing group, it can be a definite benefit to an extroverted writer. Not only is there a bunch of people to keep you accountable, but you can also bounce ideas off of them, encourage each other along, and have fun together. Writing groups can materialize in several different forms, and they're all good. You can have an in-person writing group if you have enough writers in your area to take part. This can provide opportunities for coffee shop write-ins, writing retreats, group convention trips, local NaNoWriMo support, library buddies, and more. Unfortunately, many writers don't get to enjoy such a writing group because they don't live near enough (or any) writers. It's time to take it virtual! If you have a group of friends who all enjoy writing but are spread out on the map, you can create group chats that are perfect for word sprints, posing questions, or cheering each other on. Another idea is to get involved in an already formed writing group and take the chance to meet new people. There are hundreds of great groups on Goodreads for the book lover, and Facebook groups provide a lot of options as well. These can be an ideal way to make connections, share your work, and get involved in a small community.
3. Get engaged in a good writing forum. There's nothing like a great conversation with like-minded people, and writing forums can be a wonderful way to do that. It's an amazing place to ask questions, talk about your projects, do writing challenges or even play fun writing games with others. NaNoWriMo has a great forum, with a wide expanse of genres, styles, and writers. Also, did you know that The Fearless Type also has a forum? If you're an indie creative, be sure to head on over and jump into some conversations, or start your own!
4. Don't feel like you have to write in a solitary place. Even among extroverted writers, there will be different tastes, but you should try this at least a couple of times. Many extroverts work better when there are others around, even if they're not even interacting or together. Think coffee shops, libraries, a park, bookstores, or even diners.
5. Create ambience. If you can't get out and about to write, consider bringing the cafe element to your own workspace. Background noise often helps, and especially for those whose focus thrives with some activity around, simulating that can be the ticket to some great productivity. There are great ambience channels on YouTube and plenty of apps and websites for creating your own custom sounds. A few of my favorites are: Miracle Forest, Overarch, Nomadic Ambience, Ambience of Yesteryear, and a website: My Noise. Miracle Forest has a lot of amazing, fantastical videos, Overarch has a lot of interior themed ones (including some unique ones like pirate's ship, greenhouses, and vintage rooms). Nomadic Ambience is a little different in that it is actual live-recorded ambience of different cities around the world. Ambience of Yesteryear is all historical themed videos, and the website My Noise is a totally customizable noise generator.
6. Use the Pomodoro Technique. It can be easy to get distracted, and it's also easy to focus so hard and for so long that you get burnt out. That's when the Pomodoro Technique saves the day! It's a great way to use your time wisely while also remembering to take breaks. There are plenty of apps on any platform with this unique timer system, or you can use this website: Pomodoro Tracker. The best part is that you can customize the times for your needs and still use the system.
7. Don't jump into too many things at once. Whether its book ideas, marketing ventures, or writing + extra activities, be wise with what you do. It's exciting and all, but starting Twitter, a Facebook page, a Blog, Pinterest, and Instagram at the same time will just end up being stressful and you'll end up burning out. You don't have to do everything, you only have to do what works for you. (See "It's good to have a plan and clear goals" point in this blog post!) When it comes to things with a learning curve, commit to learning it well before starting something else. If you're launching a book, create a plan of action with different steps so you're not overwhelmed.
8. Learn to prioritize what's important for you. As an extrovert, not only can it be easy to get excited and jump into too much at once, but it can also be hard to say no to friends, opportunities, or clients when you need to. If four friends are asking you to beta-read their book, guest post on their blog, compile an epic blog tour for them, and participate in a book vlog all in the same two days... you may have to say no to some of them, and you need to be able to know which ones to do and which to pass on. You also need to be able to say no in a firm but polite way when you need to. Hopefully, friends will usually understand and be gracious if you aren't able to do something for them, but at times, in the entrepreneur world, you can meet with some rather self-focused and pushy customers. You need to be so grounded in your own priorities that you can stick to them even when you're being pressured to do something that doesn't fit your goals or expertise, or you just simply aren't able to do.
9. Make sure you protect your privacy online. It can be tricky to balance public business profiles, making new friends and connections, and maintaining safety when you're an indie author on the wide, wide web. While extroverts may have the potential to do really well with connecting, building an audience, and finding like-minded individuals to befriend, it's also extremely important to make sure you protect your privacy as well. This will be different depending on the person, but it's a good idea to sit down and actually think through what this means for you. It can be as simple as not oversharing about your private life, having a separate email for business and personal, and not exposing friends or family without their permission, to greater cautions such as using a pen name, never showing your face in photographs, or keeping private social media accounts so only trusted followers can see what you post. While I personally find it beneficial to use my real name and connect a face to my brand, this has to be something you decide. No matter what you do, though, always be careful with strangers online. Here at the Fearless Type, we don't promote paranoia, but we do promote intelligence in how you handle the internet.
10. Get to know people. If extroverts have anything going for them, it's that most have a fascination with people, in some form or another. Whether you are a social butterfly and love to talk to anybody, or you're a shy extrovert who has an uncanny eye for those around them, people are just intriguing, and a lot of extroverts (maybe subconsciously) know that. This interest in people can be a huge asset to your writing though, and you should definitely make use of that. If you're outgoing, take the time to talk to people and learn their stories. Strike up conversations and find what makes folks uniquely them. If the thought of that intimidates you, go the subtler route: Sit somewhere public and make note of those you see around you. Let your people-sense help feed your imagination. Going even farther, take the time to really study out human dynamics, interactions, social norms and so on that you notice in your daily life. Enjoy the fact that we're all alive and coexisting with millions upon millions of other incredible souls, and bring that enthusiasm for humanity into your writing.
11. Discover what you're good at in writing and hone in on that skill. Every writer is uniquely amazing, but the unfortunate truth is, most expect writers to be this way or that. Don't worry about the box, and dare to excel outside of it. Throughout history, a huge portion of famous authors have been introverted, and on top of all the stereotypes that come with that, (most of which are ridiculous anyway), the "starving artist" myth has perpetuated so many ideas about writers that simply just don't hold for everyone. The starving artist idea is a really detrimental outlook as it is, but that along with the stereotypes through time has given society the idea that writers must be sensitive, tortured, poetic souls, devoted to ART (and it must be ART), toiling alone in the resplendent glory of being able to put words on paper. Don't waste your time worrying about fitting in the mold, following all the writing "rules" that just don't matter, or being like this famous author or writing like that bestseller. If we all tried to follow the pattern, we'd just be a lot of silly, sentimental clones. So find your author's voice. Learn what makes your writing shine. Then perfect that skill. Maybe you can pull characters out of thin air and they become incredibly alive. Don't worry about the fact that your style and skills don't include the ability to write lengthy purple prose. Perhaps you have a comedic slant to your stories. Then write that comedy, and people will be grateful that you stayed true to yourself. Take advantage of your natural gifts in writing, and don't be afraid to stand out as different, and don't feel the need to try to be everything for everybody.
12. Sit Down and Write. How many times do we go to our computer and open our document... and then a million things pop in our heads and the next thing you know, you're doing everything but working on your writing. It can be hard to focus sometimes, especially when you're thinking about a lot of other things in so many other different directions. Being an indie author means you have a lot on your mind, and for extroverts especially, it can be really difficult sometimes to focus on what your primary goal is: to write! So when you sit down to work on your novel--write. When you need to do that blog post-- write. Fight the urge to research various randomness, resist the temptation to get caught up in social media, chatting with a friend, or going through your email. Stop wasting your time reading articles, messing around with designing, taking photos for your bookstagram, or whatever else it is when you should be writing. One trick for overactive, extroverted brains is to keep a notebook handy. When a thought pops in your head during your writing time, scribble it down for later. Use apps like Forest or Donut Dog to keep focused.
So those are twelve practical tips for extroverted writers! Are you an extroverted writer? What is your biggest struggle, and what are your best tips? Comment below and let's share ideas!