An introvert’s guide to writing: Part 8

The Vortex

Introversion, as I have been keen to point out in earlier posts on this subject, is a fine thing. There is much to recommend it to authors, especially in the internet age.

However.

Black hole

The Great Introvert Vortex

Being one does not give carte blanche for you to enter the Introvert Vortex. I trust you know what this Vortex is, and that you are exerting¬† proper gravitational controls. For the Great Introvert Vortex is that black hole at the center of one’s being that represents the extreme end of the lovely life that is the introvert’s.

The Vortex is, in other words, our nemesis, especially if we are writers. The Vortex is ourselves at their natural worst. The end stage of those tendencies that do so well for us under most circumstances but are like dumping the whole Morton’s salt shaker into the stew. (It’s the kind of condition that just screams for mixed metaphors.)

The Vortex wants you. It wants your talent for being perfectly happy by yourself, for forming close relationships with maybe two other people, for going home to write when others are wasting time at parties. . . and to feed upon this nectar until it becomes all powerful and you, my friend, are living in a tar-paper shack in the Sierra Nevada with a dog you don’t like.

The principal here is moderation. Or put another way, our strengths carried to an extreme are also our weaknesses.

That’s why we introverts must go to conventions and social events, pushing the envelope just a tad each time, where it has perhaps shrunk around us. We may not stay at these chat fests very long, but by God we are there and meeting new people. After 45 well-spent minutes you are free to rush away to watch Seinfeld reruns. But not before. Nor should we introverts follow the shy crowd’s cynicism about social media and how it is a waste of time. It is not a waste of an introvert’s time, no indeed. We get to be social without seeing another soul!

Of course there is also a Great Extrovert Vortex that is waiting for people who never bother to curb their exuberant habit of talking about themselves, who speak loudly on cell phones in grocery lines, and who shake hands too hard. If by age 35 our hypothetical extrovert has not learned that an Extrovert Vortex has noticed him and is quietly pulling him in–then he is, sad to say, becoming a complete ass.

Are you starting to look behind you for the black hole? No need! As we continue to balance off our introverted leanings–as my posts on the subject have been quietly urging–the Vortex is frustrated. Yes, it is. But it won’t pursue you out of spite. It’s going after lesser planetessimals.

I don’t mean to be all doomsday about this, or anything. But while we staunchly defend our right to be introverts–indeed the superiority of being an introvert–we truly must be wary of carrying the whole schtick too far.

Just sayin’.

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Previous INTROVERT posts:

Part one: What is an introvert?

Part two:  Surviving conventions

Part three: The doldrums

Part four: Building relationships

Part five: How to be sociable in a bar

Part six: Networking as an introvert

Part seven: The internet and us

3 Responses

  1. Veronica Henry says:

    I cast a vote for cover #1.

  2. C Price says:

    Kay, I’ve loved this series of posts (even though, like your books, I’ve come to them late). Truly, there is a delicate balance between being sucked into the Vortex and fighting too hard against the current, which can leave one drained. I do believe it is easier as an introvert to avoid our own personal trap than the struggle our counterparts have to deal with in this day and age; for us, social media provides a easy way to get “out”, while it serves as a irresistible flame for our extroverted friends.

    I look forward to reading more of your work, and hopefully drawing inspiration from your comments (and more importantly, your example) to finally set some ideas down on paper – or pixels, to be more accurate.

  3. Kay says:

    Glad you have enjoyed these! Some of what I’ve said on the topic is a bit tongue in cheek. I’m married to an extrovert, so I can’t feel Too superior! Thanks for writing.

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