Part of being a writer is identifying what kind of story you want to write which leads to the kind of characters you will ultimately create. This can only be done when you are able to figure out what kind of person you are. There are many kinds of personalities which can manifest as introversion or extroversion. One might not think that being an introvert or an extrovert can affect the story you wish to write, but it is my belief that the two are intertwined.
I am an only child. Birth order plays a role in determining personality, alongside biology and environment. As an only child, I often spent time around adults which meant I needed to learn to be comfortable with speaking to people I didn’t know well. I like to think that I test the waters in a new situation. But as I become more comfortable, I become more outgoing. I need to be. Growing up, it was always my fear that if I didn’t make good friends, I was destined to be alone. And I just knew that I wasn’t going to make friends by staying to myself. I find that it is wiser to first assess the situation before responding to it. This is how I choose to live my life; I am introverted when it is best to be so, and extroverted once I’ve decided that the situation deems it appropriate. Hence, I am ambiverted; I exhibit a personality that has a balance of both extrovert and introvert features.
I believe my personality is a help in most things. As a military spouse, I am used to moving around quite often and as such, there is always a duty to make new friends. Because I am outgoing, I tend to make friends easily, which in turn helps my children find other children their ages to play with. In finding work, it is all about who you know. And while a resume will get you the interview, your personality will ultimately help an organization determine whether or not you will be an essential asset to their ultimate objective. Within the writing community, I also find that my personality is a help because it allows me to better connect with other writers; to be unafraid to go to different events or join different groups wherein I can establish more connections and meet more colleagues who share the same interests.
My ambiversion definitely influences the type of work I create, especially in lines of character development. I tend to write about women whose strong personalities help them navigate rather dramatic and life-altering situations, both whose personalities can also be fluid depending on the situation. And because these situations are all unique to the story line, my main character’s personality must be as well. One of the first characters I own is a blend between being an extrovert and an introvert; for her it all depends on the environment in which she finds herself. Another character I own would’ve been an extrovert, if the time was encouraging for her to be so since she was a Black woman living in 18th century America. Still another character is a little more of an introvert in most situations, choosing to maintain peace in her world and avoid confrontation whenever possible. Introversion allows this for her until she meets her love interest. So in retrospect, my characters tend to have characteristics representative of both personality types, reflecting the environment and people around them. And because I have a very active imagination, my genre of choice is fiction. Both introverts and extroverts can find success in this.
Personality type is what makes us the people we are. It distinguishes us from our peers and even from members of our own family. It can influence the type of friends we make, the extracurricular activities we engage in, and what we choose to do for a living. But I believe that personality can be fluid; it is not fixed or set in stone and depending on the situation or life experience, someone could be an extrovert in some situations, and an introvert in others. And that’s my goal as a writer- to create exciting and dynamic characters that reflect this same fluidity.
This blog was a collaboration with other bloggers. You can read their take on this subject at their blogs:
Name: Lori Briggs
Name: Alika Guan