Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Pros of Being an Extroverted Writer

When you think of a writer a certain image or ten comes to mind. You've got the introverted, glasses wearing, black coffee in a messy room, Reclusive Writer. You've got your Travel Blogger (which makes you want to throw your computer out the window every time they post a picture of the new and exciting foreign city they're in. Bastards.), you've got your Made It writers, who sit in their pretty backyards--probably designed by professional landscapers--or their equally pretty, light filled office. But all in all, when push comes to shove, what the images all have in common is that they're 'alone'.

I have many many writer friends, some who've made it, and some who are like me and still struggling to be seen over the heard of grazing writers. There are quotes on writers saying that to be a writer, you write alone, work alone, and stay ALONE. But I don't buy it. Writers NEED people in some way, shape, or form. We can't write characters if we don't interact with people and learn what they're like from first hand experience. I know for those writers who ARE introverted, this is a lot harder to do. Most people don't think 'extroverted' when they think 'writer'. I would like to change that perception. 

Yes, lots of writers do like to be and work alone. Many try to keep human contact to a minimum. It exhausts them to be around a lot of people. But I know a ton of writers who are outgoing, social, and bubbly.They spend just as much time writing (er, maybe?) as they do socializing. Finding balance whether you're introverted or extroverted is always a hard thing to juggle. But today I'd like to talk about the pros of being Extroverted! 

1) We always make friends! Because you like to be out in the world doing, seeing, feeling, and being with people, you meet all kinds of people to use as fodder characters for your books. You can also get some great lines from interesting people you meet! Great lines that will make your book famous.

2) RESEARCH CARD! You get to be in a lot of unique and interesting experiences in the name of Research! Like asking a policeman you see in line how much the gun strapped to him weighs (yeah, I did that just yesterday as a matter of fact!), or drinking an ostrich's weight in beer in Ireland to know what it feels like to have a hangover as you watch the sun rise on a dock. Or going to a club and going home with these two guys here:

Now there's a story!
3) We're fountains of random knowledge! Because we aren't shy to be around people, talking and asking questions isn't a problem. I can't tell you how many amazing stories and random information I've heard just because I wasn't afraid to talk to the homeless person next to me on a bus. Or train. Or a plane. That's how I made friends with a guy whose family owns a Scottish Keep that's haunted. Wouldn't have known that if I'd never spoken to the guy! See, you just learned something interesting from me! Bam!

4) We're fun! Extroverted writers love talking almost as much as they love writing. We also love talking about writing. And books. And the craziest story we just heard from the guy two tables away. Please be friends with us and tell us your story. Let's go do something crazy together to make more memories for books! We'll change the names and no one will know! Except you and that guy you killed. But he's dead. So really, just us. 

It'll be our little secret! *winkwink*

5) We Always Know a Guy: This is purely for those introverted writers who are scared/shy/nervous about people. We will gladly pawn away all of our random contacts to you when you need to research a person or subject. That's right, we do the hard work for you guys! Need to know what a tiny airplane looks like inside? We know a guy. Need to know what the hell LARP is? We know a guy! Need to speak to an archaeologist? We know a guy! (actually, I know two!). Most of these people we met by traveling and doing "research". Er...probably.

So there you have it! Being an extroverted writer isn't as common as being an introverted writer, and sometimes I think we get a bad rap. Like, we're too pushy or all we do is go out and do random things all and day and not write. How can you be a serious writer and not be writing? My question to you then is this: How do you truly get to know a place or people if you never talk to them or hear where they're coming from?

I think it's important to live. I think it's important for writers to not hole themselves away and never talk to anyone except for one person they trust. I think as writers we need to experience life; the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful and painful. After all, we WRITE for PEOPLE. If they can't relate to the characters you make because you refuse to leave your computer and Microsoft Word, then you're not doing your job. One of my favorite quotes is: "If you do not cry or laugh when you write, then your readers will not."

So research people. Go out there and get to know them! That's the great part about being an Extrovert!

HAPPY ST PADDY'S DAY (even if I am a day late!) 

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