When people ask me why I write, I struggle to find an answer. Writing is something I’ve done ever since I was a kid. My wardrobe contains more journals than clothes; I won a few poetry competitions in my teens, and my love of words led me to complete a writing degree.
My introversion makes writing an appealing pastime because it allows me to have a voice without being in the spotlight. Even though introverts tend to feel more comfortable expressing themselves in writing than in conversation, I’ve never found writing easy. I feel like I’m laboriously cementing words out of the imagined — words that often seem far less authentic on paper than they do inside my head.
(Not everyone uses the word introvert the same way. Here’s what we mean.)
Why I Write
So, why do I write, if I find it so hard? Here are six reasons that I think other introverts will relate to.
1. I write to get lost.
As an introvert and a highly sensitive person (HSP), I often feel so overwhelmed by the world that I yearn to get lost inside my head for a little while. Writing is my escape. It has transported me away from hospital rooms and many other difficult situations I’ve faced.
When I was younger, I felt uneasy using writing as a form of escapism, simply because I feared I wasn’t brave enough or strong enough to face the difficult moments in my life. However, as I get older, I’ve realized that I’m not merely using writing to escape my own circumstances. Instead, I use it to escape into other real moments and the universal nature of storytelling, which repeats the same timeless message: No matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone.
2. I write to understand myself.
Although writing is a discovery of the world around us, it is also a discovery of ourselves. As introverts, we tend to be deeply interested in discovering what makes people tick — ourselves included. I rarely write about my own life, yet my experiences and beliefs still bleed into my work. Every character I write is a part of me in some way, mirroring my flaws, strengths, and quirks. Writing teaches me who I am, the person who confuses me and sometimes intrigues me. When I’m perplexed, I write. When I’m bored, I write. When I need uplifting, I write. I use to write a lot of motivational speeches and notes. Sometimes I wrote motivational letters to other people. Each time I wrote “you,” I meant “I” just as much, because I write for myself, as much as I write for others.
3. I write to understand others.
This is the main reason I started writing. As a kid, whenever I didn’t understand why someone did or said something, I wrote a fictional piece from their perspective. I believe writing and storytelling are pivotal to developing empathy (and, in fact, this is exactly what research suggests). As a highly sensitive introvert, I am naturally empathic. I’ve often wondered whether my childhood writing rituals have made me the empath I am, or whether my empathy and personality have made me the writer I am.
When you incorporate experiences and traits from other people into your writing, you are essentially saying to that other person: I see you, I understand you, I accept you, and I honor you.
4. I write to share.
Have you ever read a book or an article that gave you goosebumps, simply because it made you realize that there was someone else like you, who knew what you were thinking or feeling, maybe even before you fully understood your feelings yourself? Have you ever felt like a writer really knew your soul?
I’ve always been an avid reader, and reading about other people’s experiences and perspectives has been one of my greatest pleasures. As a result, I write to contribute to the universe’s collective library. I write to share my stories, ones that have happened to me, and ones that haven’t. I write so I can give someone else what other writers and storytellers have given to me, whether it be wisdom, laughter, understanding, or hope.
5. I write to learn.
Writing is a learning process. In high school, I wrote my study notes over and over again to learn them. In university, I always opted for written assessments and readings over seminars and presentations. It allowed me, as an introvert, to actively reflect, without noise and distraction. Writing gave me time to ponder and wonder, and the freedom to collect and organize my thoughts on paper.
When I write, I have the opportunity to think, reflect, build, and grow.
Writing is innovation. It’s fun and exciting to create something that hasn’t existed before.
Yes, writing is also hard. It is a challenge forcing yourself to produce something readable and authentic. However, all challenges are learning experiences — and I’m in love with that idea.
6. I write to make a difference.
Words are powerful gifts. They make you feel, heal, hurt, and ache. Words inspire. Create action. Make a difference. Help us be kinder and more empathetic towards one another. I also write to advocate for change in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Writing is my way of making a difference.
Writing shakes the world, in a gentle way, and I think that’s why writing greatly appeals to introverts.
I used to write for emancipation, but now I write for empowerment. I write even when I don’t feel like writing because the more I write, the more the world makes sense to me; the more I write, the more I can empathize with others; the more I write, the more I discover who I am and what I value. The more I write, the more I believe that despite life’s adversities, I get to control my story.
I am the author of everything I am.
More Writing Resources
- Why It’s No Coincidence That Many INFJs and INFPs Are Writers
- 3 Reasons Why the INFJ Personality Might Struggle With Writing
- 3 Reasons Why the INFP Personality Might Struggle With Writing
- Why Is Writing Easier Than Speaking for Introverts? Here’s the Science
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