From Introvert to Author and Back Again: Why Everyone Should Write Something

For the average person, engaging in some light conversion is enjoyable. For me, it’s akin to torture. That might seem like a gross exaggeration, but it’s the truth. I know that it will not get easier if I simply avoid it, so I force myself into conversation several times each day. Whether I’m asking a question in class or making small talk at work, I can’t speak to someone without a careful mental rehearsal and an internal pep talk. I am what you’d call an introvert. Exhausted by social interactions, anxious in unfamiliar situations. Yes, I’m one of “those” people. There’s a misconception that introvert equals misanthrope, but that’s a distressing fallacy. In my case, it’s the exact opposite. I find it very easy to relate to others, but I can’t connect to someone without giving up a piece of myself, and that has a cost. I avoid investing time and energy in others because I’ve learned that in most cases, it won’t be reciprocated. The only way I’ve found to do this successfully is to simply avoid contact from the start.

My mother is a very compassionate person, and I inherited a great deal of empathy from her. I feel invested in people even if I’ve only known them for a brief amount of time. I worry over their struggles, and I celebrate their successes. For this reason, I consider the things I want to say before even a syllable crosses my lips. How will my words affect or influence the people around me? Do I offer a valuable contribution to this conversation, or do I simply feel obligated to speak because it seems more socially acceptable than remaining silent? I understand the power words have, and I don’t want to misuse them.

I feel this way because I grew up in a house full of books. My mom is a voracious reader, and she taught me and my sister how to read before we entered public school. I lose myself in a book every night (or day) of the week. For a person who has trouble with on-the-spot, face-to-face situations, books are the perfect solution. If I become overwhelmed with emotion, I can always put the book down and walk away. If I’m confused by a specific passage, I have the time to reread it or look for outside information to help me find the underlying meaning of the text. I live vicariously through so many amazing characters without feeling the pressure and stress of actually going through the situations presented in each story.

Recently, I began to write — things that interest me, subjects that confound me, concepts I support and ideas that I denounce. Writing allows me to share personal thoughts and experiences without being concerned how my ideas will be received by others. I can apply my process of self-editing to revise works and make them better. I get rid of phrases I dislike and play with rhythm on paper. Having this power over my words has helped me immensely in my day-to-day life. Now I have more experience with literary devices and a recently discovered confidence when it comes to making an argument. This newfound ability doesn’t relieve me of all stress when it comes to socializing, but it certainly brings me closer to a level of comfort that I desire. Everyone should write something.