Monday, August 10, 2009

Places...A State of Mind?

Where do you prefer to write? A cafe? At home? In a mountain cabin?

Places I have written.

Hiding under a card table draped in a sheet to turn it into a Martian fortress. Huddled beside the fire during a blackout. In the car on the way to Shipbottom with my family--only once, it made me carsick.

Alone on a dock watching the sunrise over Lake Navisha in Africa, hippos snorting in the distance and fisher eagles swooping for tilapia. On a sacred moutnaintop in Queensland, Australia, surrounded by cave paintings dating back 41,000 years.

In a subterranean laboratory, a hurricane screaming outside, cadavers wrapped in plastic as my only companions. Sitting in a parked car in Kilkee, Ireland, waiting for a shower to pass, watching the ocean change colors.

And now, thanks to the wonders of laptops, anywhere in my home: on the couch, in the rocking chair, in bed, on the floor....preferably near an open window watching the breeze dance through the spanish moss dangling from the live oaks and almost always with my fat calico cat sleeping half on my lap (I'm hoping the acrobatics of typing over her prevent carpal tunnel) and half on the keyboard.

For me the key isn't where, but who. I admit it, I'm a hermit by nature. Total introvert. I can't write around other people.

It's not that I don't like people--I do, I do! It's just that they suck my energy dry. Psychic vampires--especially my extrovert friends.

See, being an introvert doesn't mean I'm shy or reserved (Shane, stop laughing!) It simply means that I get my energy by being by myself, by having some alone time to relax and recharge. While extroverts (who can be shy) get their energy by being around others--they're the ones who leave one party to race to the next because they're so charged up that going home seems a dismal prospect.

Us introverts? We're the ones racing to leave the party and fall into bed so we can recuperate!

I've learned the hard way to enjoy my extroverted friends (you psychic vamps know who you are!) in short sprints, then retreat to my cave to recharge my batteries.

In fact when I take personality tests like the Myers-Briggs, I score high Introvert and 100% Intuitive--so is it any wonder that I tend to wander around in a world of my own imagining?

My Myers-Briggs type is INFJ--the rarest, only 1.5% of the population. BUT when I teach writing classes, usually around 30% of the students will be fellow INFJ's!!!

Makes me wonder if us hermits are simply born to be writers.....but I doubt you'll see many of us introverts hanging around Starbucks to write!!!

So you tell me, introvert or extrovert? Hermit or psychic vamp?

Not sure? Here's a quick test to find out your personality type:

Thanks for reading!

About CJ:
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller."

The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, was released January, 2009 and the third, URGENT CARE, is due out October, 2009. Contact her at


Jen Forbus said...

I am an INTJ...definitely an introvert, no question about that. I love small group settings and I analyze EVERYTHING!! I know that's why books stay in my head so long after I've read them. Here's the key factor that I fit the best, though:

"Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations."

Egg-zactly! ;)

CJ, I'm envious of all your amazing travels. I, too, get car sick if I try to do anything in the car - read, write, crochet, anything. Thank GOD I discovered audiobooks. I no longer feel like I'm wasting so much time when I'm in the car!

This was fun!

CJ Lyons said...

Hey, Jen! Thanks for sharing!!!

As for my travels--since I was young I suffered from wanderlust and learned fast how to travel on little to no money.

First, I traveled through books, then movies, then once I was old enough by saving my change every week for a year and then heading off!

It's still an addiction I wished I had more time to indulge.

And yes, I also love audiobooks for trips! The perfect travel companion!

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I did the M-B test years ago for a job interview. Then, I was an ENFP - "puppy like". Perhaps it has changed since then -- I'd kind of like it to. :)

CJ Lyons said...

Ahhh....PK, there's nothing wrong with being an ENFP! They're typically known as the most friendly, easy-going folks around.

Hmmm...maybe that does sound "puppy-like" doesn't it???

Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I'm just at the cusp on J in my INFJ test, near the border on F. Have tested as INTJ in the past.

Emotions and intellect work together for me, communicate to each other. A friend says not everyone is that way. Which explains a lot of circular arguments I've had in the past :)

Undoubtedly love has pushed me over the T/F divide. My husband inspires me to be more in touch w/my feeling side, as far away from my inner perfectionist as I can bare.

Do people often test differently at different points in their lives? I thought M-B was an immutable characteristic...

CJ Lyons said...

Hey Mysti!

My understanding is that the I/E and the N/S are pretty much immutable and stay the same thru life (kind of makes sense since they seem more ingrained)

But the T/F, J/P can change, especially if you start out borderline, because they're more about how you use your I/E and N/S in your day to day life and that changes with experience.

Make sense???? Any psychologists out there who can explain it better?

Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I just took the test: INFJ. Thanks for the pointer. And I know JUST how you feel about the whole extrovert/introvert thing. I work hard at not hiding in the corner, but I have managed to be pretty successful at it lately (Kelli is my inspiration, since she's one of those extroverts).

Thanks, CJ, for making me learn something new!

Shane Gericke said...

Just took the test and I'm ENFJ, heavy emphasis on intuition and reading people (and myself). I think that means I want to rule the world, though Sensitively :-) Just kidding. It says I like people and want everyone to be great at what they are. That's certainly true.

As for CJ being shy and retiring, I'm still laughing about that one! You're one of the most un-shy people I know, in a good way.

Now, I wanna hear more about, "In a subterranean laboratory, a hurricane screaming outside, cadavers wrapped in plastic as my only companions." That is TOO cool.

Shane Gericke said...

Rebecca, you never struck me as hiding in a corner. You seem good at mixing with people.