A few years back, I started a blog on Tumblr. Again. This was more or less my third try at consistent blogging; I had abandoned WordPress and a previous Tumblr URL because of sheer boredom. Because, for a writer, I’m a terrible blogger. I wanted a better place to talk about the process than a few vague blurbs on Facebook, even if it was to myself. My current Tumblr, “Faire Lady Penumbra,” has been my home since. The day I created the blog, I tag-lined myself “The Oddly Extroverted Novelist,” and hoped to change it later. To this day, this tag-line is what I get the most questions about.
“I’m an extroverted writer too! Do you have any tips for writing?”
“My friend doesn’t think there are extroverted writers out there…”
“How do you stay so organized? I’m outgoing and have such a hard time…”
I never did end up changing the line. Instead, I turned my platform into an open space to discuss personality and art. It's a somewhat overlooked realm of extroverted creative work, especially where writers are concerned. Novelists are considered solemn quiet creatures, locked away in offices with notebooks, coffee-stained clothes and typewriters that we will someday throw against walls in a fit of writer's block. The extroverted writer is treated as The Last Unicorn, an oddity to the outside world.
To be fair, I stick my notes to anything I can stick them to, but extroverted writers don't always align with stereotypes. We dwell in sunlit Starbucks corners and wander the streets in search of more stories. We haunt Twitter and Facebook, posting to our friends in lieu of creative dry spells. We are the verbal species of storyteller, forever ecstatic to share in some way. We bring our processes in a bag, unpacking it anywhere, forming habits and creating space in the middle of crowds. I personally love the sensation of writing at a cafe with headphones in. “I am alone, but not truly,” I tell people. “I have the power to create space. I can observe the world from my own window.” But I can write pretty much anywhere it strikes my fancy, from the comfort of my sofa to a bumpy bus ride through European mountains.
I suppose I don’t think myself fully extroverted—more of an introvert who plays an extrovert well. I have more novel ideas than close friends and have limits to how much socialization I can manage before I need to vanish back into my own worlds. I bounce back and forth between the world’s greatest socialite and ignoring my Facebook messages for days on end (apologies for that, friends). It’s a difficult process to explain, since I don’t necessarily need the company of others but I draw a lot of creative energy from it. There is a beautiful marriage between life and art. People are made of stories, and stories made by people. My characters are fueled by fires that I have seen in the eyes of others and by the wonderful quirks that make us so human.
Likewise, I am as much a night owl as I am a cafe dweller. There is solace in returning home with a day's worth of inspiration and spinning its magic through the night. I enjoy silence, in small doses at least, and make use of it as I organize my thoughts to better effect. Furthermore, some of my closest friendships have come from 3:00 a.m. conversations when I'm not writing. Other extroverted writers I know have their own habits and rituals. Some of us keep more presence while we write, sharing process through the window of social media. Some of us shut away our work until the time is right. All of us are usually up at 3:00 a.m., chatting away before we settle back into our scenes and return to work.
So, here's to the extroverted writers. We're not so different from our introverted counterparts in what we do. To the wandering, expressive and outgoing among us. A little different in our energy and style, but drawing from the same world and interpreting it with the same gusto. Really, we are, all of us, writers first and foremost.
Caitlin Jones is an author, film editor, and lover of all things Victorian and fantastic. Please check in for information on her upcoming series.