Monday, May 31, 2021

Typical Gemini: I'm Both

 Q: Would you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? What strengths and/or weaknesses come with this personality type in regards to book publicity and marketing, and how do you mine your strengths?

-from Susan


I once fantasized about buying a Cape Cod saltbox set deep in the woods around Chatham, of living a solo life surrounded by nature in four seasons, sitting by myself in front of a cozy fire, reading and…what? Knitting? Hardly. Eating crusty home-baked bread? Maybe. But that was when I was enmeshed in a high-energy demanding job that had me on the road (or more often, the air), spending a great deal of time with people I had to listen to and get to know, attending evening and weekend functions. I was newly divorced, my kids were pretty well launched, and my work life demanded I be an extrovert almost 24/7.  It was also before I allowed the tiny voice in my head to utter its secret wish: to write, not just read, mystery novels.


Fast forward twenty years. I’m in the most loving relationship I have ever had, I’ve made the decision to quit my day (and evening and weekend) job and career, and I have a first completed manuscript and am about to pitch an agent. I have a closet full of evening clothes, a lot of airfare points on my credit card, and a lot of commuter miles on my first hybrid car. I want nothing more than to have more quiet time, more thinking time, more writing time. Alone until sweetie comes home every day from his studio. My sons are loving but not dependant on my attention. I don’t have to move to the deep woods for introspection. I just need to change my professional focus, to pivot.


Throughout my adult life, I have had to balance being an extrovert and desiring to be an introvert. When I’m out in the world, I really enjoy seeing people, hearing what they’re up to, and cheering them on. I like eating in restaurants (remember restaurants?), hugging (ditto) friends and family, going to performances (ditto again). Being almost exclusively stuck in my house for fifteen months has tested that part of my introverted self that dreamed of a hidey hole in the deep woods. But that time also gave me the impetus to write a whole new book, work on another book project, and rise to my agent’s positive challenge (more later – fingers crossed, please). So, I guess the introvert in me was supported during the pandemic.


Today, I’m beginning to see friends and family again and hope the local opera company will rev up for an in-person 2022 season. When I have a new book out, I can’t wait to launch it in person, to speak at bookstores and conventions, to share what I’ve learned at writers’ conferences, to visit book clubs and blogs and participate on panels – the extrovert part of me thrives on book promotion. I like people, I like connecting with people. The extrovert will win out, but I’ll have to remind myself to listen to the quiet voice of my introvert reminding me that writing doesn’t happen in those settings. 


A lot of writers I know can say the same thing – we’re both. We have to be, and I’m not complaining!

Extrovert on her rounds after first book published - happy much?

1 comment:

Brenda Chapman said...

It sounds like you've achieved a good balance - time with people and time alone. Good post!