For the last week or so, I have been listening to Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts while driving hither and yon. The book is great and Ms. Cain dispels many of the common myths about introverts. I highly recommend it and the TED talk associated with her research.
Anyhoo – many writers would be considered introverts. As a group, we tend to be quiet, introspective people, but I wonder if the traits that make up an introverted personality are just those traits that make up a successful writer. Susan Cain discusses the concept of “quiet persistence” as one of the positive attributes of an introverted person. This is ability to plug along at a problem for a long time with no one egging you on. Or, as Elizabeth George refers to it in her book Write Away, butt glue. A good part of writing a novel is putting your butt in the chair and staying there, every day, for months or years at a time. Sure, there is talent and creativity involved but, to a large extent, writing has to do with quiet persistence. We have all met people who talk about writing a novel (probably extroverts since they are talking) but never write the novel. So, if you would prefer sitting in your little room tapping away at the keyboard to being out talking to people, pat yourself on the back for having quiet persistence.