By: Lydia Oyetunji
Edgar Allen Poe
“The true genius shudders at incompleteness – and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe
Do you know a writer who is often uninterested in socializing with the outside world? To them, going to an event or even taking in a movie is a major task. Maybe you are that writer; then rest assured you are not alone.
My primary means of communication with others, except for family and close friends, is through text, email, Facebook chat, and blog posts. I can’t remember the last time I attended a party or a large family gathering. All my life I was referred to as antisocial or shy. My preference was always to be alone with a book, writing, or sitting quietly and daydreaming. Rants from family and friends about my antisocial behavior fell on death ears. My world was perfect, and I preferred it to the reality I was forced to live in.
Are you a family member or friend of a composer of words who exhibits antisocial behavior? Has the thought of deeper psychological issues crossed your mind? Before you get carried away, allow me to enlighten you about the creative mind you are dealing with.
First, it is definitely not a communication issue. Writing is to communication as water is to a tree. A tree cannot grow and flourish without water! Writers are naturally good communicators. Have you ever met a writer who could not communicate eloquently? Writing and its intricacies give a person the ability to speak with clarity and ease. Thus enabling them to express a complete thought and to be thoroughly understood. If this is a true statement, then the question remains: why do some writers have trouble or a dismay for communication or social environments?
Antisocial behavior or comfortable in a world of our own?
You will find these wordsmiths, to be very creative people who spend much of their time in deep thought. Penning great literary pieces motivate them. The world of words is a much more compelling and enjoyable place to the introvert. The God-like feeling that that inner world provides is an oasis when compared to outer reality. The ability to create and control characters, life scenarios, and even nature, is incredibly fulfilling to a creative writer. Passionately relaying our knowledge about a topic to show our expertise as well as hoping to educate others, is a compelling goal. This is just a peek at what goes on in the world of a writer. It’s not a matter of not enjoying people and life. It’s the joy of teaching and providing an escape for their readers. Writing is our way of communicating with the world!
Using isolation to disguise social impotence?
There are articles that have referred to creative writers as loners or socially awkward. Contrary to popular belief, introverts are friendly, smart, creative, analytical, and make up the majority of gifted people. In fact, writers are very misunderstood! There are a few reasons I found that many writers prefer solitude.
- The inability to stop thinking about writing. The on/off switch was disabled when inducted into this elite club. All thoughts and situations are an article or possible story line.
- Time is always ticking and so is the creative mind. Every moment is a word that must be written. Taking time away from writing, studying about writing, or reading the work of others is suffocating.
- It’s difficult to socialize when you are constantly on a mental journey. We are meditating on the next piece that may be an award winner.
- Isolation is the perfect stage for some literary artists. Little to no distractions gives birth to the creative process.
Introverted Personality, How this affects writers?
Carl Jung, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, states introversion is a core personality trait for writers. Although, writers are mainly introverted people, they fall under different personality types.
- Do you prefer doing things alone?
- Do you find happiness in the idea of doing something more than the actual act itself?
- Your idea of a perfect day is to be at home on your computer or taking pen to paper?
- Are you the one person that family and friends call to confide in?
Famous authors like Emily Dickinson, George Orwell, Edgar Allen Poe, and Elmore Leonard are said to have had introverted personalities. Elmore Leonard stated he was so shy, introverted, and self- conscious, that he consumed alcohol to be social. Edgar Allen Poe wrote two poems entitled “Alone” and “Silence” that depicted his preference for seclusion. These authors are superheroes of the creative world and they felt socializing was kryptonite that drained their life- force.
Extroverted writers spend time in social environments mingling with different types of people. These social butterflies secretly interview people to create their next character. Life experiences give them the power to write using the reality of life as their muse. Paying close attention to the world around them making sure to catch any and all suitable material. You will most likely find them writing in coffee shops, parks, or maybe jotting at dinner.
Ambiverts live in both worlds, venturing from one extreme to the other. They are capable of going from the social to being a loner at a moment’s notice. They can write from anywhere, whenever the muse hits them they are able to work.
As an introvert and lover of words, I find completeness in my preferred silence. No one can truly understand a writer the way a fellow writer can. In the company of like minds, the shyness of a literary artist is nonexistent. Conversation comes to them more naturally when socializing with people who share literary interests. They love chatting about current compositions such as books in the works, articles, essays and blog posts. Current reading lists, along with their personal reviews are among the topics of their conversations. This is the type of setting where the caterpillar morphs into the most beautiful butterfly.
Hopefully, this peek into the mind of a writer will inspire you enough to show patience with the creative genius in your midst. An occasional nudge back from the realm we travel to is welcomed. Understand that we live to create, and we create to live.