by Annette Dashofy
Two weeks ago I posted here about “Refilling the Well.” Monday, over at my Writing, etc. blog, I posted about how my Mental Health Week went. What I didn’t include there was a major a-ha moment I had on Sunday just prior to my hubby’s return from the wilderness.
On a whim, I followed a link on Twitter to an article in Psychology Today titled Revenge of the Introvert. It’s long, but if you want to read it, click here. I’m not really sure WHY I followed that link. Probably because I’m always looking for insights into the characters I write and psychology articles offer some really good stuff.
But the insight I discovered in this piece hit much closer to home. I learned something about myself.
In a nutshell, the article discusses the differences between introverts and extroverts. I imagine a lot of people might think of me as the latter. I’m president of our local Sisters in Crime chapter, area representative for Pennwriters; I coordinated a writing conference and lead meetings and occasional workshops. I can stand in front of a room and talk without freaking out.
And yet, I am most definitely an introvert. I suspect a lot of—maybe most—writers are.
Introverts prefer to live inside their own heads. Extroverts prefer social activities. Introverts thrive on solitude. Extroverts get bored with too much of it.
I used to think I was shy by nature. That’s what I was always told when I was a child. But according to this article, there’s a difference. People who are shy desperately WANT to connect, but socializing is difficult for them. Introverts simply prefer time alone. (Am I the only one who hears Greta Garbo echoing in my head?)
While reading this article, I also determined something else that explains a lot about the stress I’ve been feeling. Not only am I an introvert, my husband is an extrovert.
Introverts like quiet. Extroverts crave external stimulation. I like to read in the evening. Hubby likes the blare of the television even if he has no clue what show he’s landed on while channel surfing. After being out all day, he wants to stop on the way home to visit friends or family. I just want to go home and shut out the world.
I’ve caught myself saying (only half jokingly) that after I’ve been out shopping, I’m sick of people. Now I know why.
I also now understand why I prefer teaching private yoga classes over teaching groups in a studio. Introverts deal much better in one-on-one situations than with groups.
Personally, I’m thrilled to have discovered this. It helps to understand that my darling husband needs that noisy TV as much as I need to lock myself in my cave.
After reveling in my new self-knowledge, I turned back to my original purpose in reading that article. Now I’m asking myself whether each of my characters is an introvert or an extrovert. How does it affect the way they behave and respond?
What about you? Introvert? Or extrovert? How about your protagonist and antagonist? Which are they and do they react accordingly?