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Introverted Author Problems

I know. I know. I promised more teasers of Rekindled Prophecy, but something has been gnawing at me for a few days now. Thought I’d share and see if others experience the same issues or have advice.

First, a little backstory on me. I am in introvert. You probably guessed from the title of the article, but this is kinda like AA for Introverts.

“Hi. My name is KC. I’m an introvert.”

Everyone chimes in, “Hi, KC!”

I’ve been an extrovert/introvert my entire life. What does that mean? I acted like I enjoyed all the social hustle bustle of life, but inwardly I hated it. Ask my friends in high school, college, post-college/pre-marriage. I was the one dragging everyone out on the weekends to party and dance. Yes, I still like to dance but prefer my parties to be much, much smaller.

You see I fought the introvert thing for so long that I didn’t realize I was doing myself a huge disservice.

What does this all have to do with being an introverted author? Well, just this past weekend I overdid things socially. I went to a lovely author book signing (sadly, not my own yet) with a tour and lunch with the author and other fans. Loved every minute of it. Then rushed home to attend a sports team and family picnic. Also, loved it. I adore my son’s football family. But…too much social interaction for an introvert has repercussions.

That one day took so much out of me that I have written nothing this week, edited only the basics, and have been in the foulest mood. Sadly, all that stress flipped my inner bitch switch. Just ask my kids.

Why? It’s not like I didn’t enjoy all the social interaction. I did, very much.

As an author, hopefully published author in the very near future…how do I survive? and not make everyone around me pay the price for when I have to be around more people than I am comfortable with for long periods of time? I’d like to have book signings and events, too. But how?

Of course, there’s more to the story. There always is. You may ask how did I go from a happy extroverted introvert to this shell. Well, I have narrowed down the causes to one. Alone time.

As an introvert, I need time alone. Now, it doesn’t have to be hours alone. I do enjoy others’ company. I enjoy being with my family and friends, but…when I have zero “me” time, I get cranky and all creativity flies out the window.

When I was in high school, I was an only child. Perfect. Got alone time all I needed, except in school and with friends (at the place and time and duration of my choosing). I had extra energy for socializing and partying. Maybe a bit too much.

College…tried living with roommates for a while. Didn’t work out well. I blamed my ex-boyfriend, but honestly having other people around 24/7 was too much strain. So, I got my own teeny tiny apartment. Stayed friends with everyone. Ditched the dude. Partied like only a college sorority chick can. Still, went back to my own place…by myself.

Post-college…lived alone for awhile in Memphis, TN before moving to the big city of Washington, DC. Due to skyrocketing living costs, got a roommate. Still best buddies to this day. When she wasn’t with her boyfriend, I dragged her and another good friend out on the town…Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But, I still had alone time.

Married with kids…thanks to a crazy 2-3 hour commute each way to and from work, I had lots of alone time. Listen to music, dream up stories in my head, all unencumbered by having to socialize or deal with others. Loved my job, my co-workers. I still consider them some of my best friends. When at work, I was energized. When at home, I was energized.

Flash forward a few years…Left my job in order to spend time with my five children. Love them! Don’t regret a second! When they were tiny, my alone time requirement was satisfied with infant/toddler naps. Just a few minutes a day saved my sanity. Later on, they started school.

That’s when I latched onto the idea…hey, all these stories I conjure up in my head need to be put down on paper. I can be an…author. Brilliant! Seriously, there are stories banging around in my noogin for over two decades or longer. I love writing.

So while the kids are at school, I do all the other things I need to do to take care of them, my husband, and my elderly mom who lives with us. And I write! I’m not the fastest writer of all time. It takes awhile for my fingers to type out the stories in my head. But I write. I edit, too. I’m in an critique group and I love it, I love my fellow authors and critters.

***Hi, Vicious & Delicious Scribbers! Love you ladies!***

But then comes summer break. Don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my kiddios (I may have said that already) and all the time I get with them. But…no alone time until they go to bed. When do I get a moment to rejuventate? When I’m sleeping.

What does this do for my writing? Well…creativity is nonexistent. My sanity is nonexistent.

Since the events of Saturday that depleted my reserve of social interaction tolerance, there’s been no writing, sporadic edits that do not require more than a quick spell and grammar check, and a very tense author. I don’t want to be tense, stressed. I want to enjoy my time with my kids, while also letting the creative juices flow writing my stories.

My point in all this is simple…if you’re an introvert, you need alone time. It’s not that you don’t love your family and friends. It’s not that you abhor parties or other social interactions. You just need some time every day. What you do with that time is up to you. My alone time is my laptop on my lap as my stories unfold onto the screen. Sometimes, whenever I can swing it, my alone time is binge watching something on Netflix – usually Supernatural or Reign or Once Upon a Time. Your could be your commute to work like mine used to be. Or reading a book while sitting at your kid’s sports practice. Or just about anything. You may need only a few minutes or much longer. It’s up to you completely.

Actually, introverted authors…you will one day, if not already, have to face dozens, hundreds, thousands of people at book signings or writer conferences or…(dream) ComicCon. Prepare yourself. Plan ahead. Make sure to steel yourself ahead of time by taking a few moments to yourself and be vigilant to schedule alone time afterwards.

Don’t let the business of being an author infringe on your creativity. Face the masses of fans and network with other authors, readers, agents, publishers, … just recognize in advance that you may need to set aside some “me” time to recuperate. Both sides of the coin are essential for every author.

And, if you need someone to empathize with your plight…look me up. I’ll be the one in the crowd with a big smile on my face but with eyes towards the exit.

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