Introverted & Creative goes together

    You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.
    /Wayne Dyer

Sundown in winter mood

    Ever wondered what’s life for an introvert is? I know someone who is an introvert and I must say, that they are the most artistic and creative bunch, full of out of the box and unconventional ideas. But they can also be very misunderstood-you know, the shy, quiet, aloof and keeping to themselves type. If you meet an introvert, don’t judge them right away. An introverted personality oozes a certain mystery which some people find simply irresistible. Do you know that introverts could achieve so many things? Since they’re the creative type, they tend to be full of ideas.
    /Amy Tan (found in an article called The Mystery of the Introverts)

Learning about the word and personality trait “introvert” has been a important discovery in my life as it helps me understand myself. What introverted means to me personally is mostly that I as an introvert need time alone to restore energy. That’s it.

Extroverts thrive in big chatty company and becomes energized at family gatherings and by spending time with other people. For me as an introvert I love being at parties, with friends and family but afterwards I feel drained and tired and need my “alone time” to read books, watch a movie or be creative with papers to make a collage or knit something soft. To me this is a big difference, and knowing about where you find your energy really has helped me understand myself better. It explains to me why I rather skip a party even when I’ve longed to go, if the previous day I’ve been surrounded by people. I?m just too tired to interact with more people!

I don’t really like labels and categories when it comes to people, but sometimes they are a great help as they “explain” your own preferences to yourself and others. Maybe the most important thing here is to remember that its you that need the labels for yourself, and you shouldn’t be to hasty to label others to “better understand” friends and family. Let them be the judges of who they are or how they think about themselves?

Introverts are described not to enjoy being the center of attention, to shut down when being over stimulated or stressed-out, to have great long-term memory and not being found of surprises etc. Extroverts are very much the opposite here and they thrive on outside stimulations, can’t sit still for long and shots from the hip. I know a classic extrovert and I always smile when I read the traits of an extrovert – it’s so him! I’m not a classic introvert, but some of the traits are just SO extremely me that it feels comfortable adding this label to the description of my personality, even though sometimes people will misunderstand and tell me I’m not an introvert at all?

Sundown in winter mood

Introverted people are also more territorial, and this is a piece of information that explained a lot about me when I read it. I had no idea why I feel so protective about my private space, like my working desk, for example, or what is up on my computer screen. I love to share what I have created with people, but only when I decide to do it – not when prying eyes come to visit in my home or look over my shoulder! If someone uninvited would touch or browse through any of my personal notebooks I will cringe inside. This is because I, as an introvert, want to decide when, why and how I interact with people. I want to feel prepared. I hate surprise visits (especially if my home is a mess) for example. An extroverted person wouldn’t mind at all as he or she probably wouldn’t see the mess or the items – only the people visiting.

Sundown in winter mood

I’ve been thinking about this since I read all your comments on my blog post Are you proud enough that was about our (non-existing) blog bragging habits. I was overwhelmed with how many of you don?t talk about your blogging much at all. Introverts prefer quiet activities and are (maybe therefore?) very creative people.

Maybe we as introverts are drawn to blogging because it enables us to share our hobbies and creative adventures with like-minded without talking out loud about it? Without joining a group of noisy people we can sit at home and chose the what, when and why. Not to mention how creative blogging is when it comes to writing, DIY and photography etc. and how you actually must be alone to get any writing or photo editing done?

I?d love to hear your thoughts about creativity and how it relates to being introverted or extroverted – how does it work for you?

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45 Responses to Introverted & Creative goes together

  1. leah says:

    Total introvert here!! :-) Blogging has long been a great outlet for me because it allows me to socialize in a way that’s less draining and in my own time and space. And I really appreciate that about it.

    Another great book on the topic is, “The Introvert Advantage.” I found it really helpful and reading parts of it with my husband (who is an extrovert), helped us to better understand each other.

  2. Hey!
    Good post.
    Somewhere along the line I got labelled shy & introverted and bought into it hook, line and sinker. Then a funny thing happened as I dug deeper and deeper into my creativity — I broke out of that label. I no longer consider myself shy at all – the opposite, really, and have taken on a new word: middlevert – I blend intro and extro into a new kind of vert that’s totally me!

    Thanks, Giulietta the Muse

  3. Jennifer says:

    Thanks Hanna for the insight. I definitely have traits of an introvert and love spending time at home.

  4. Meghan says:

    i’m definitely an introvert, and your comments on privacy really hit home. i have a new friend, and i’ve known she blogs for the whole time i’ve known her (3 months, give or take), and just recently told her about mine! and guiletta, i really like the term “middlevert” — i go from being very introverted to very outgoing within just a meeting or two (or less, if the person i’m with is very outgoing). but i really relish my quiet alone time, too.
    great post and food for thought!

  5. rhomany says:

    I can totally relate to this. I get involved with lots of people online because it allows me to keep them at a distance. If I get overstimulated I can just switch off the computer. Similarly although I teach, in teaching you are still professional and keep people at a distance, maintaining control over how you interact with people, how much and why.
    I laughed when you said you were territorial and didn’t like surprise visitors too. I’m totally like that and not even because the house might be a mess. I just resent people trying to decide for me when I’m going to see them! I like at least 3 hours notice to get used to the idea that there will be someone else in my space.

  6. iHanna says:

    Thanks for your quick and kind comments!
    I don’t think shy has anything to do with being an introvert, but its a common misinterpretation I think.

    Everyone needs other people and company, just more or less and to bigger and smaller extent. I think the best thing is if you don’t like the label, make your own or don’t use them. :-)

  7. iHanna says:

    Rhomany, thanks for your great comment! You must go read the blog of Patty above if you haven’t already, and the specific blog post I link to she talks about how she can be an introvert and a public speaker – I guess it is the same with you being a teacher? You decide – not others! :-)

  8. I am such an introvert that I could be considered a hermit. No, wait, make that I AM a hermit. I don’t leave my house very much. People freak me out! I am the person who looks like a deer in headlights at parties. I blank out and can’t speak to people. But put me online and I’m a social butterfly because it’s on my terms and schedule. I am territorial about my studio and desk. I’m just really sensitive about things and I need my space to feel safe. Leaving this comment feels like a very extroverted thing to do so I’m gonna shut up now and go hide. :)

  9. iHanna says:

    Thank you so much Vickie for “sticking your head out” for us and making a comment! I hope you are a happy hermit with close relations to some good people that nurture you too?! Take care!

  10. Eden says:

    Oh thank you Hanna for portraying us “introverts” in a good light! I get the impression that we are always supposed to refrain from being quiet or self-contained! We “should” go out there and talk and meet people and tell everyone what we’re doing whether we are ready to or not. Being a rather private sort, I’ve had my struggles with trying to balance what’s comfortable for me sharing about my life/self vs. not being too quiet hence people may think I’m aloof or don’t care. Which is so not me! I do know that as a young child I would often get upset at big family gatherings. And now, I realize I was getting way too stimulated and I just had to go off by myself and re-group. I needed to re-fill my well.

    I also, totally agree that INTROVERTS are way more creative!!!
    LOL!!

  11. corrine says:

    Only child, mostly introvert here. I agree so much with the “want to share when you want to share” comments. I began blogging as a way to get out of that introvert shell. In small groups I am fine, but the big parties make me want to cringe, run and hide, drain indeed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I don’t know if we are more creative, just more comfortable being with ourselves and no one else, so maybe we get more done???? Can’t answer that one. Fun to think about it though. I know some pretty darn creative extroverts….

  12. hedwig says:

    Hi Hanna,
    Thanks for bringing this subject up. I don’t think people would call me an introvert person, but according to the definition (and my husband and myself) i am one. LOVE to be with people, but i see too much, hear to much…. i need my own space. Thanks for reminding me. (and it is not for labeling, only for understanding and dealing better with things). One on one contact i like very much or with one other familiy, but in bigger groups… not really my cup of tea!
    Hedwig

  13. Amy says:

    I had no idea why I feel so protective about my private space, like my working desk, for example, or what is up on my computer screen. I love to share what I have created with people, but only when I decide to do it ? not when prying eyes come to visit in my home or look over my shoulder!

    That is so me. I joked to my husband the other day that I worry the kids will think I have some mysterious secret life because I don’t like them hovering over me when I’m working on the computer. I can’t concentrate with people watching me!

    I am a classic introvert, and I’m so glad you did this post. I think you are right about introverts being drawn toward blogging because it puts them in control of how much they share and when. Plus it’s easy and can be done from home! It’s certainly been a great thing for me because it shows me how not alone I am in my desire to be alone ;-), which has given me more confidence, the feeling that I’m okay just the way I am, even if the majority of the people in the world don’t understand it.

    I don’t know that introverts are “more” creative (maybe a different “kind” of creative?), but I think people are surprised at their creativity because they are generally so quiet about it.

  14. iHanna says:

    Wow, thanks for commenting! I don’t know about “more creative” either, I don’t think that was my point, but rather the correlation between being an introvert and being a creative person. It works well together I think. Very well for me, as one of the best ways to “restore energy” is to be creative – ie. not resting but “doing something” – alone. :-)

  15. ainelivia says:

    Thank you Hanna, you have made my day (-::, i’m off to read the sites you’ve suggested

  16. Monica says:

    Hi Hanna,

    I’m an Introvert (an INFJ/INFP to be more exact). I need silence and mental space to feel nourished.
    And yes, introverted and Introvert are slightly different. The latter being the psychological make up, a trait. Us Introverts can enjoy a good party as much as anyone and can be far from shy. We just need to recharge in quiet and alone.

    Blogging is great for Introverts because we can connect with others in our own time, and people aren’t ‘in our face’ as we say. We can visit other blogs in our own time as well.

  17. Hanna, thank you for this post!
    and yes, I can totally relate, too.
    and yes, I’m turning into a hermit more and more. and I love it.
    and alone time is absolutely essential for me to breathe and create.
    people who know me were surprised to learn that I started blogging. I think most people regard blogs as exhibitionism and usually they’re right. somehow, I managed to keep my privacy. and you wouldn’t believe how often I get these surprised reactions that I don’t blog about my daily life or post pictures of my family. or myself for that matter. :)

  18. Patty K says:

    Oh my. I found your post through Twitter and I’m reading and nodding along…thinking YES!

    Then I see you’ve linked to ME! (thank you!)

    And (cue twilight zone music) – I wrote about introversion and blogging yesterday.

    It’s so great to meet you, Hanna. I’m looking forward to reading through your archives. :)

    PS – I hadn’t heard about the “territorial” aspect of being an introvert before. And it *totally* describes me. I can’t stand having people read my screen over my shoulder.

  19. Jeannine says:

    Hanna – this is a beautiful post and one close to my heart. I am definitely an introvert. I need a lot of space in between activities to rest, reflect, and sift through my experiences – that’s where the seeds of my creative works are born.

    As a child, I always did better on classwork I took home, than work I did in class. I needed the space to process my work at my own speed and pace (either faster or slower than in the classroom, depending on the subject).

    I do love being around people and having fun but do not wish to draw a lot of attention to myself; I am perfectly happy and content to observe everyone else.

    As for blogging, I read somewhere that introverts/highly sensitive people like being recognized or noticed without a lot of promoting on their part. I agree with this. I have pushed myself to promote things here and there but I really don’t like it – it makes me very uncomfortable and unhappy. I do like it if someone likes something I post in my blog, certainly, but I don’t court it or say “look at me! look at me!” Lastly, I will say, I have no problem sharing things about my life with others through my blog, but it is more in the spirit of meaningful connection (shared interests, common ideas) than exhibitionism.

    Thank you for posting this – very thought provoking.

  20. Wendy says:

    Thank you for this post, Hanna. I also clearly thrive on alone time, I can be overstimulated by a lot of time with other people, and I am cautious about the telephone or people coming over. I know other members of my family are like this as well.

    I feel the most recharged when I’ve been doing something creative: art, music, journaling, crochet. Creativity gives me fuel for my life.

    I enjoy reading your blog!

  21. MissKoolAid says:

    I’ve known for a long time that I am an introvert. I don’t like big crowds and I do need my alone time after a party or gathering. I think you’re right that blogging is our way to share our passion with lots of people without the crowded feeling.
    Hugs,
    Sophie

  22. Aha. I am definitely, in most ways, and introvert. Territorial to a fault! I think I’ve often had that labelled as “shy,” as others have said, and felt that that was a bad thing. I’m learning as I get older that being introverted does not necessarily mean “shy,” nor are either of those traits bad things in themselves. Interesting post, something to think about.

  23. Tracey says:

    I love reading all these comments and know that I am not alone! I am an introvert through and through, and my husband is the complete opposite! There are times where he laughs at me and my “reasonings”. For a long time this used to bother me and I tried to be more social, but never felt like myself. I LIKE who I am, so why should I try to be something different….I embrace my introvertedness! GO INTTOVERTS!!

  24. dawn says:

    mhmm!! I am an introvert, and have known for a long time I was. Though, it was only until this past year did I find out that the MAIN reason that differentiates me from an extrovert is that I. NEED. TIME. TO. MYSELF. I need to come home from work (in customer service, so I’m always “on”), go to my room and check on blogs and facebook and other such things. Time alone. Only after some time can I come out and chat with my roommate and feel more re-charged. My roommate is so the complete opposite. We could go to a party, and I’m ready to go after maybe 2 hours. Enough talking with people! Get me home where I can RELAX. Whereas, she’s just gearing up. So funny how different we can be?

    I also like blogging because I can still be “out there”, but behind a computer screen. Great topic.

  25. kelly says:

    Wow, you described me perfectly, I have always known I was an introvert but have never strung it all together quite like that! I so NEED my time alone, if I don’t get it I am cranky and stressed and out of sorts. I just recently started blogging (two months ago) but I am finding it to be the perfect form of creative communication, I keep finding like-minded people, and inspiration, and a sense of belonging to a community that I have never felt before. I love your blog (found you on twitter). Thanks!

  26. DeeAnn says:

    Your friend that is an introvert is exactly like me. My friends have said your exact same words when they explain me. I am very shy but ironically known in my town as one of the sweetest girls in the world. I spend my days creating, writing and chasing storms. I would rather do these three things than anything in the world. I love to be social online because I can turn off the computer at the end of the day and be alone. Being introverted is my sanctuary.

  27. Karen says:

    I’m definitely introvert and I find that blogging online lets me voice my views behind a shield. Also, doing anything creative allows me to express myself without having attention placed on myself and it’s a chance for me to get away from people and have time on my own.

  28. Fern says:

    This is SO me!
    I’m a classic introvert, plus I’m shy and quiet so I like to nearly always be alone. I blog, I make jewellery, I design t-shirts – everything I like involves creativity!
    Strange really that I’ve NEVER met anyone that understands – at school I was just ‘the quiet one’ and people tried to force me to be a dentist or doctor etc because they couldn’t understand that I get good grades but wanted to do a creative job ‘making things’ lol
    Thanks for the post, made me happy :-)

  29. Genevieve says:

    I have always thought I was an extrovert until these last few years when I have chosen to have a solo studio. I’ve discovered that I love the time alone!

    I think that raising children has affected that as well. It feels like it’s my turn now.

    It is all about balance.

    I can really get inspired by interaction with others, but also love my solitude to recharge my self and reconnect to what matters to me.

    My most treasured alone time is out in the woods at my house and also, working in the garden. I feel so open to everything then and seem to pick up unformed ideas that later translate themselves into art.

    It is a lovely, nebulous process that I gives me incredible energy to create!

  30. Genevieve says:

    For the true introvert –

    The oh-so-amazing and talented illustrator, Jim Tierney has created great poster:

    How to Avoid Talking to People

    You can see it here:

    http://myloveforyou.typepad.com/my_love_for_you/2009/06/jim-tierney.html

  31. Brenda says:

    You have described all those quirky elements about me so well in your post theres little I can add :-) I want to thank you though for doing so, because it brings more clarity and understanding especially concerning blogging. I began my art blog in order to force myself to share what I was discovering in the way of art journaling and mixed media and yet I tell few people about the amazing world and community I have found by blogging. Now I understand why, that introvert gene strikes again! I want to thank you for sharing your own process because it helps me to understand my own.

  32. Olga says:

    Wow, Hanna. So many resources – materials and links and tips and stories put together in one post! I can believe how you are doing this :) Do yo have a team working for you? :) Thanks for all the hard work and sharing!

  33. Chris says:

    Hanna, I am printing this out so I can read all the comments, but I had to say that I have a friend who calls herself an extroverted introvert. I love that! I also think that part of this feeling of being an extroverted introvert is something along the lines of what Jung talked about, the person who lives in her mind. Her intellectual life is more pronounced and vigorous than her persona or outward life. I feel this expresses me, while at the same time many people see me as an extroverted ‘people person’. Very interesting!

    You rock. I would love to hang out with you, even if we said nothing at all!

  34. Nelly says:

    I’m also an introvert and have been recently reading about this personality trait because I’ve been misunderstood all my life also. I can so relate to so many of things you said. I’ve also felt so alone though because of being an introvert and in a way it never bother me until recently. I do have a very difficult time finding friends; I guess I’m a friend snob and I don’t usually approach anyone to befriend. So its really difficult to deal being an introvert.

  35. Jackie says:

    I love this post and I love reading comments from my fellow introverts. I have always been an introvert. I think we are very creative because we live within ourselves. I love being alone . I feel smothered when people who are extroverted want to push you to socialize because they think being alone is not good for you . People who are very close to me know, but I have throughout my life been given lectures about why solitude is not good for me. I also agree with Nelly, It is harder to make friends . I often come off more unapproachable . I would love to have friends who understand my nature and I do better on one to one.I really count on my online community!!

  36. organicsyes says:

    Thank you for the resources! Yes….my name is Susan and I am an introvert:) And happy to be! As long as others know, I can be myself…

  37. Tammy says:

    Great post, Hanna! I never connected being overwhelmed at the mall, in a crowd or at a big party with being introverted! I’m comfy and outgoing with a small group of friends, but outings wear me out and I need to rejuvenate at home. Blogging is perfect for me, because like many of you, I can maintain the personal space I need. But the most wonderful thing is that I’ve found a community of people like me who think creatively and create art! I can totally relate about disliking drop-in guests. Random thoughts but truly your post has gotten me thinking. Thank you.

  38. Hi Hanna!
    Just love this post, incl. the Amy Tan quote and the great resources.

    When I took the Meyers-Briggs in my 20’s and found I was an Introvert, that explained so much for me.

    Had I known, I would have made totally different career choices — but at least I learned when I did and am constantly learning how to live healthily as an Introvert in a world designed by Extroverts. A much smaller percentage of the population is Introverted.

    It also helped me define “my normal” — based on how I thrive, not an extroverts idea of reality, like, “You should get out more.” Uh. No. I need to go IN more.

    I have the same reaction to my personal space and books! I went so far as to wrap all my books in a plain brown wrapper with a tiny label, as a visual design thing, but also so casual observers couldn’t see my titles easily.

    Can’t wait to check out the Introvert resources.

    Oh — and I am greatly influenced by Jung’s work — and wrote about some of these ideas in The Creative Entrepreneur (which I think maybe you’ve read?) in the section on Modes of Functioning about how to have a healthy relationship with the creative process.

    Extroverts tend to just “get over it”. Introverts need their own strategies. Typically: ways of solving their own problems creatively.

    Yay, Innies!

    xoxox Lisa Sonora

  39. Ruthee says:

    I came across your site through Twitter as well. I feel better knowing that others share my being territorial, not wanting people to just drop by and wanting to interact only with small groups of people. At this point I’m not wanting to interact with more than one person at a time as it drains the life out of me. My step mother always said I was antisocial, but now I realize that isn’t so. I just really need my alone time, in fact, as time goes on, I find myself withdrawing more and more. I have health issues that make my mobility a real problem and people just don’t understand how much energy physically and mentally it takes for me to leave my apartment. Some days I do feel a bit lonely, but for the most part I seem to manage to fill my days and I can’t really tell you that I have accomplished much. I’ve taken up painting, journalling and spend time quite contentedly with my kitten. When my first cat died just over a year ago, coming home from the vet’s office after seeing my little girl euthanized, I was desolate. For the first time in almost 13 years I entered my apartment and my faithful companion wasn’t there to greet me. I’m having health issues and unable to work at this time and may never be able to again. When I left work, I didn’t know that my feline companion was ill and I think in a way that my illness peaking when it did allowed me to spend those final months with my girl. It was always just the two of us. Yes, I am very introverted and I really don’t like answering the telephone or having visitors stay too long. It’s really hard for me to interact with others for long periods of time. Strangely, I managed to survive in jobs where I was in constant contact with great numbers of people. Maybe that burned me out, I really don’t know. Thank you for writing about this “affliction” that so many people don’t understand. I cried reading the other posts. Everyone is so open about being introverted here. And yet I know that tomorrow, as another day dawns, people will judge me as being mentally unstable because I need to be alone with my thoughts.

  40. Becky says:

    That pretty much sums me up! Interesting to read such a clear account because I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently since a misunderstanding with a couple of friends who I felt were putting a lot of pressure on me (because they don’t like being alone) and they thought I was avoiding them (because I need time alone and can’t see them as much as they want). It was so hard to explain that I do love to spend time with them but it has to be balanced with time on my own. And even if I spend a few hours just sitting around chatting to one of them, to me that is not relaxation, that is activity. To truly relax I must be alone.

  41. Karen says:

    Great post! I’ve always been an introvert since childhood, but I had learned to blend well in the crowd so as not to be noticed. Back in high school, my classmates thought I was a freak. lol But if they only knew that the hollywood movies and music that they enjoy were mostly made by introvert people, I think they would have changed their opinion of me.

  42. What an excellent write up! You could have very well been describing me. I show very traditional signs of being an introvert. So much so that my husband and I joke that I could easily be a hermit.

    I’ve always been an introvert – socially awkward, preferring to stay at home by myself with a book or painting rather than go out with a group, that familiar feeling of being drained after spending time with others, writing instead of speaking, etc. I even have to have time alone away from my husband after spending a day with him.

    It’s funny you mentioned being territorial about things. The thing that caught my attention was the computer screen comment. I have always been territorial about what’s on my screen – doesn’t matter what it is, what I’ve typed, who’s reading it. Until I give you permission to read it the content on the screen is mine! I thought that was just one of my weird quirks.

    Thanks for writing this.

  43. Wow What an amazing post!!! I think it fits me pretty much!!!
    Thank you for writing about us Introverts!!! I always felt bad being one…when I was told I was one way back when!! Thank you for helping me understand myself better!!!
    As MArtha would say”It’s a Good Thing”!

    Smiles,
    Joy~

  44. Pingback: Introvert og Kreativitet. Og God Påske! : Frodighed

  45. Stephanie says:

    I love this!!!

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