Recently, I met a storyteller who loves this exercise in creativity but is somewhat apprehensive to do so on a blog, mostly due to doubts that there’d be enough people interested in reading those articles. It so happens that this person identifies as an introvert, which got me thinking.
Many of us believe there are two types of people in the world, introverts and extroverts and, if stereotypes are thrown into the mix, they’ll have you believing that introverts are quiet loners who don’t like people and would much rather lock themselves away from the world than join you for a cup of coffee.
Because it’s easier to define and understand things as binaries (either/ or constructs) we tend to think someone can be an introvert or not. In fact, true binaries are very rare and, as far as this particular couplet is concerned, people might be more or less introverted/ extroverted than someone else but you could hardly ignore the infinite shades of grey in defining this trait.
Like the person who inspired this post, I too consider myself to be introverted. I don’t identify as an introvert but I have found myself to be the most introverted among my friends and acquaintances, which is one of the reasons I struggled with starting my own blog for a very long time.
Hoping to empower others who share in this character trait and might find it challenging to blog because of it, I’d like to share some of the more positive things that can happen when you push yourself to share your thoughts with the world through a blog.
Pretty much any action online involves “putting yourself out there” to some degree. Depending on the topics you decide to touch on, blogging might gradually put all of who you are into the spotlight you normally avoid. Common misconceptions about introverts say that we’re not generally comfortable around other and shy away from conversation.
While it’s very easy to label, the truth of the matter is that introverts are no more likely to shy away from a conversation they’re not interested in than extroverts. They’re also just as prone to staying away from people they don’t like as extroverts are.
Good news, folks! Your blog is your private library, where you pick and choose what you want to talk about, to whom and when. It’s basically an appointment you’ve set with people you’d like to talk to, but haven’t met yet, to discuss all the things you don’t have a chance to speak about enough during your day to day life.
One thing that is true about those among us who are more introverted is that we’re more reserved and aren’t too crazy about revealing our personality and feelings as freely as others might. That’s not to say we like to lurk in the shadows and want nothing more than to become a fly on the wall at a large social event. It can, however, make it difficult to express ourselves to the extent we’d like to because of the overwhelming influence of those whose personalities scream for attention.
A blog can channel your desire for self-expression, turning the environment into a creative outlet of your choosing. From stories told through carefully crafted words, to photos conveying your state of mind and musical pieces that represent who you are on an emotional level, a blog can take whatever shape or form you need it to have in order to effectively and constructively nurture your creativity.
Use your inherent assets
Because our energy is directed inwards and tends to expand through reflection rather than interaction, introverts tend to listen more than they speak. Which means that rather than publishing content on a whim, for an introvert writing is only the beginning of a very long journey in the creative process.
It’s not the writing that might take you a while to get the hang of, it’s the reading and re-reading and re-re-re-reading that’ll turn an hour-long creative effort into 4-hours worth of work. Mailchimp has a pretty accurate visual representation of what pushing the Publish button can feel like for an introvert.
However, this hesitation can become an asset if you turn it into a process meant to make you doubt yourself less and make you work more thoroughly. Granted, some fear their article is weak and keep looking for ways to improve it, others tend to be insecure about the content altogether, while others obsess about the comments they might get once the article is published.
Shifting your focus from things you can’t control to those you can, will help you not just publish faster but come up with better content. Once you’ve written your article, go through it again with these 5 things, and these 5 things alone in mind.
- Is my spelling/ grammar correct?
- Does my formatting make the article easy to read?
- Have I correctly linked to my reference material/ quotes?
- Does my post have a structure or am I just ranting?
- Have I correctly added all the supporting multimedia content?
Boldly go where you haven’t gone before
Any form of public self-expression is a challenge for anyone who is introverted but you shouldn’t let that stop you from experiencing the full breath of your creativity. Giving yourself a constant proverbial kick in the pants and working up the courage to get up on that soap box and let the world know how you see it comes with the benefit of your audience’s perspective.
The Bottom Line
Be it good or bad, whether you agree with it or not, having people digest your work and putting in their 2 cents worth can only help you get better at telling your creative story. Doing so in an environment you choose, in your own time and under your own terms will help you gradually hop in and out of your comfort zone, allowing you to develop your skills and, who knows, you might even discover how much you like it. I know I have.