Why Introverts Need “Creative Space”

It’s happened enough times that I’m inclined to call it a trend: I start dating someone new, things go well, and then we reach a point — understandably, I admit — when this new person wants to spend every last bit of every weekend together.

I reel back. My “problem”, if we want to call it that, is that I tend to want part — and occasionally all — of my weekend as a sort of quiet alone time to decompress and re-energize after the workweek.

I can’t survive without space, and some people just don’t understand that. I argue that needing this kind of space (I call it “creative space”) in your life doesn’t make you a non-social hermit. This space is a crucial component to living life as a creative person.

Creative space isn’t about putting up walls or hiding from the outside world, nor is it a simple desire to be away from people. Creative space is about finding solace and silence in the external world, so that we may adequately listen to our own minds. This can mean different things to different people: writers may want time to read and jot down thoughts, painters time to paint, designers time to sketch, process, and brainstorm.

Creativity is not a singular process, but rather an approach to every aspect of life, so it follows that not having time in our lives to express ourselves creatively — whether that’s by painting watercolors or organizing our closets — can cause unrest in every other part of life.

Creative space is when we generate ideas, brainstorm, and arrange our thoughts in order to move forward. It invigorates us. I often find myself sitting at my day job daydreaming about all the work I’m going to get done on Saturday. It’s my time to pull the shades and work on the projects and ideas that really get my mind focused and make me feel alive. I don’t see this kind of creative intensity as a strictly introverted endeavor, but I do think it’s highly tied to a kind of solitude.

Unlike extroverts, we don’t develop our ideas externally (for instance, through extensive feedback from peers or critics). As introverts, we develop and create internally, and though we can certainly thrive in collaborative environments, we need space and silence to do our best work.

This might even be space we share with a loved one, but the key is the sense of uninhibited space that comes along with it. I’ll often find myself getting into a groove: papers strewn about my desk as I sit sketching frivolously, music playing, the very real feeling that I’m chasing something and I’m just about to catch it.

The important thing to note is that this space, this creative “me-time,” makes me a happier, more content and well-rounded person. The people who know me understand this, and I’ve come to realize that my need for some time alone in my schedule is an important part of who I am as an individual, a creative person, and an introvert.

Our “me-time” isn’t about hiding from the world, but rather embracing the vivid world inside our own minds.

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone. Rollo May

Image Credit: Deviant Art