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  • Writer's pictureIan Brooks

The Importance of Being Extrovert


People networking at an event

Most writers, myself included, are what can be classed as introverts. In simple terms that means we’d much rather curl up on the couch all on our lonesome with a good book and a mug of hot tea than go to a party with people and bright lights and music and small talk.

                 

And it only makes sense, really. We spend our time dreaming, writing stories, coming up with plots, imagining characters which leaves very little time for anything else. Our comfort zone is in solitude. In turning the grey matter between our ears into tales of the most visceral and vibrant of colours.

                 

So, if you’re a writer and an introvert, you’re on a pretty good track. But there is a part of being a writer when you need to be something other than an introvert. You need to be an extrovert.

                 

Scary?

                 

I feel the same way.

                 

Extrovert almost sounds like a naughty word to me. I can interact with people just fine. I can hold a conversation, connect with people on topics, it’s just not really my scene.

                 

Now the question is, when do writers need to be extroverts, or at the very least display extroverted qualities?

                 

Of course, if writers are going to do talks or school visits or anything like that, they need to shed their cloak of solitude and get out there in that big, bad world and do it. But I’m thinking of another, very specific time when writers need to be extroverts.

                 

Networking.

                 

I’ll hold my hands up, I’m not good at networking. I’m trying to improve and I’m making progress, but my networking skills aren’t all that. Many writers may not need to be incredible at networking. They may already possess IT factor, and everyone falls in love with in love with them and their work.

                 

But most of us aren’t like that and there’s a requirement and a need for us to get out there and network. Whether that’s talking to other writers, agents, publishers, editors, whatever it is, we need to become extroverts.

                 

How Does Somebody Become an Extrovert?

 

Honestly, I haven’t a clue. It’s probably impossible. After all, the idea of being an extrovert is not only terrifying for most introverts, but also exhausting. The thought of all that energy, the socialising, the sounds and the people. It makes me want to go to bed just thinking about it.

                 

Well, that’s not very helpful.

                 

Ok, let me delve deeper. I’m saying an introvert can’t become an extrovert, because that goes against their nature, but they can display extroverted tendencies or practice extroverted behaviours.

                 

I’ve tried doing it recently. I went to the Bath Children's Literature Festival last year. Ok, so I didn’t actually make any connections, but it was the first literary festival I’d ever been to and a pretty big deal for me. In January, I went to the Big Honk in London hosted by the Golden Egg Academy, the writing school I’m currently doing a course with. I joined three writing groups. I’m getting out there. Doing grown up, network-y things.

                 

Each one of these has helped drag me out of my comfort zone and made me more confident when going up and talking to strangers. I’m far from the finished article. In terms of drafts, I’m probably on around draft 6 of a 20-draft novel. But I’m getting there.     


Final Thoughts

 

I think the important thing is repetition. As writers we pretend to be so many characters in so many different walks of life, so why not just pretend to be one in real life. For a few hours just pretend like you are the type of person who can talk to people and strike up conversations without any issue. That seems impossible at the start, but it does get easier through repetition. Practice breeds comfort.

 

Good luck.

 

 

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