I watched an interesting TedTalk this morning. It's called "The Power of Introverts" by Susan Cain. It got me thinking about writing and the solo nature of the craft, so you get to hear my musings in this post.
A fellow ESL teacher told me to watch Susan Cain's talk. I didn't want to at first because I'm an extrovert, and all the Facebook memes I see about empowering introverts seem to slap me (an extrovert) in the face. They usually send the message that "Introverts are better! Get over yourself, extroverts! Stop being so loud and pushy!" I didn't want to watch an entire TedTalk about that and feel like rubbish because I like concerts and collaboration. I don't think extroverts are all loud and pushy.
I finally watched it because, as my coworker pointed out, a lot of our students are introvert. And it's important to understand where they're coming from and accommodate for their needs. Yes, after watching this video I feel like I have some ideas for how I want to transform my ESL classroom to better suit introverts. (After all, Susan Cain says that 1/3-1/2 of the population is introvert.) I also discovered, however one of the possible reasons why I frequently get writer's block. (Tom Laveen calls it "project-block.") My extroversion tendencies may be getting in the way of me becoming a published author. I'll explain my epiphany.
Sailing alone in a bathtub
I'm an extrovert. Yes. I think we've established that. I want to collaborate and talk ideas out. This is a good quality for a writer, actually. My creative writing teacher Josh says that revision is super collaborative. You need peer review, tough skin, and lots of collaboration with an editor and an agent. But as Stephen King says, the actual writing itself is a lonely journey. He described it to be "like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub."
Really, for a lot of the process, it's just me a the blank screen or blank sheet of paper. The collaboration comes later, which is so frustrating as an extrovert. I like running to the living room and jumping on the couch next to my husband who is usually doing homework or playing video games. I show him that I wrote a paragraph or page (or even just a really cool image or simile), and I want to collaborate with him, tell him what a cool idea I had, and how I'm thinking about doing this other cool idea...what do you think?...oh! That's a great idea, too...maybe I can do that...but I really want to end up with this idea...so I think I'll go ahead and go with it and see where it goes...
After a bit of chat, I sprint back to the computer room, write for a little and then run back to collaborate some more. This is probably very exhaustive to my introvert husband (even though he says I'm adorable each time I do it). It also slows down the process, which is why I think I probably should stop it.
Once again to use Stephen King, I really need to just "shut the door," while I write. These quick chats with my husband, though stimulating and invigorating, slows the process of completing my projects. At this rate, I'm never going to finish a book. I'm barely able to squeak out poems, and I've only really written one successful short story from start to finish.
Read Part 2