What is the “typical” creative writer personality? That depends on who you ask. Writers are depicted as everything from painfully introverted and shy to wildly flamboyant and the life of the party.
What type of writer are you?
THE INTROVERTED WRITER
Most often, writers are stereotyped as being quiet, introspective, thoughtful, and observant. Introverts are the kind of people who thrive on being alone, who feel the rise of creative energy when they are not distracted from their own inner voices. There is some inclination among readers to canonize introverted writers as mysterious, deep, mystical, etc.
ADVANTAGES: Introverts are custom-built for long, lonely hours at their computers or reading books. Introverts may prioritize “butt in chair” time in a way that extroverts may not. If an introvert’s writing is exceptional, having a “mysterious” personality may add to a perception of quality (in some strange, unexplainable way).
DISADVANTAGES: Introverts may not have the marketing, promoting, and networking gumption that can be so very critical to establishing a reputation as a writer. Not having an affinity for networking (online or in person) can be a big disadvantage. Extroversion can be difficult (and exhausting) to fake.
THE EXTROVERTED WRITER
Extroverts tend to gather creative energy when they’re around other people, when ideas grow organically from conversations. Extroverts enjoy a certain amount of time talking with other people. Extroverted writers may be the life of the party: they might be the type of writers who scandalize the establishment by dancing in fountains or on the bar. They can have reputations for being brilliantly witty, outgoing, and sharply intelligent. Their book launches are well-populated.
ADVANTAGES: Extroverts may have great people skills—and that can translate to both good writing and good networking. Extroverts like making friends where it counts.
DISADVANTAGES: Some extroverts may have trouble with the amount of alone time it can take to build a writing career. They may find their ideas for projects are endless, but when it comes time to execute, they lose interest.
THE MIXED PERSONALITY WRITER
Some writers fall into the 80/20 or even the 60/40 ratio when it comes to intro- and extroversion. These writers are flexible. They adapt. And they may have some advantages because of their ability to switch back and forth between introversion and extroversion as needed.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES: Having both introvert and extrovert tendencies can make for smooth sailing. Such a person might be comfortable with long hours alone and with cocktail parties. But, of course, there are always dangers. Read more: Five Signs You May Be Sabotaging Your Writing Career.
CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITY?
While a writer’s personality may be a key part of the writing process, the characters who appear in a writer’s work do not always exactly mirror a writer’s personality. Introverts can write about characters who cause drama in libraries. Extroverts can write about wallflowers at parties.
What kind of writer are you? Which type of writer has an advantage? Do you think writers can/should try to change their fundamental natures (or at least, learn to fake it) in order to build a better career? Should introverts become networkers? Should extroverts learn to tone it down?
Learn more about Writer’s Relief, helping introverts and extroverts everywhere make strong submissions to literary agents and editors.