A lot of writers are introverts. I speak as one of them – in the extreme (no offense but I much prefer my own company to that of almost everyone else on the planet save for two special people and my cat).
It’s an interesting trait of introverts to be very self-aware. It’s almost a disability in some respects, you become conscious of yourself at all times, you give pause to the myriad of possible outcomes for each choice you make, especially in conversation, to the point where you end up saying nothing because you can’t decide on the most suitable comment. Underpinning this is a fear. A fear of failure and of judgement in the negative. Add an unhealthy dose of anxiety and occasional severe depression and you end up with an interesting cocktail of a psyche. It’s a wonder I manage to achieve anything sometimes.
Someone asks you how your day was-
My extroverted friends will say something like this: “great thanks! I achieved loads and had a good chat with a friend for hours, she told me she’s pregnant isn’t that wonderful…”
The introvert will run through an internal analysis: (internal musings) “my day was mediocre, nothing much happened. I can’t say that because it will sound dull, but I don’t want to make something up because I won’t come up with something believable and then I’ll have to remember the lie. I could mention the fact that the coffee machine is broken but they may assume that by me mentioning it, that I was in some way responsible for it, so I’ll just forget about that.” - an uncomfortable silence fills the space between the questioner and the introvert until finally they manage to say “fine thanks.”
Why am I mentioning this? Because that state of hyperawareness and over-analysis is pervasive. Especially when it comes to writing. We read and re-read and doubt, and judge and condemn our own work with reckless abandon. It’s never good enough. After all, how can someone who can’t even engage in a casual conversation without bringing themselves to the brink of a meltdown, possibly write anything of worth?
I’m a published writer. I’ve had inexplicable success with my writing, and yet I still doubt my ability. I still read what I wrote yesterday and think it’s awful and wonder why I bothered. That self-doubt is debilitating and depressing and the spiral continues until we either give up or learn to ignore it to some extent.
Of course, I’m sure the rare breed of extroverted writer does this too, so if that’s you, please don’t think I’m excluding you. Oh dear, now I think this whole blog post is not good enough, people won’t like it and they’ll think I’m talking shit. And they’ll be right because I do talk shit. I should just give up this whole thing…
Write on, it’s the only way to escape your own craziness for a time.