6 Reasons Writing Fiction Is the Perfect Hobby for Introverts

It took me most of my adult life to realize that being an introvert is something to embrace and not avoid. It explained so many of the things I love: reading, writing, my own company, and even more, the things I hate: socializing, crowds, noise, small talk.

I’ve been writing stories since childhood, and novels for over twenty years. And now that I’ve put all the pieces together, I understand why writing fiction is the perfect hobby for an introvert. If you’re here, maybe it’s perfect for you too. Here’s why.

Why Writing Fiction Is Perfect for Introverts

1. You can do it by yourself.

One thing all introverts crave is alone time. I can’t function without it. It’s where we “quiet ones” go to make sense of the world and recharge our batteries to face it again. It’s great to spend time on an activity that doesn’t need any other participants.

For those of us who enjoy spending time by ourselves, writing is a great way to unwind: just me, my imagination, and the blank page. Over the years, it’s helped me deal with relationship breakups, bereavement, and workplace conflict. It’s hard to think of a better activity to combine relaxation with focus, and in the end, I’ve created a piece of art. It’s tailor-made for the introvert personality, because if you don’t like to spend time by yourself, you will never enjoy being a writer.

2. You create your own world and get to live there.

As introverts, we are all familiar with the sense of being ground down by endless interaction with the world as it rushes past us at a hundred miles an hour. But when I create a fictional world, it’s my world: my setting, my characters, and my story. Everything that happens there is down to me.

Introverts enjoy exploring their inner space. As a fiction writer, I get to do that in such a concrete and structured way that it’s as if I live in that world (as well as the everyday one).  Some people will look down on this as escapism, but as introverts, we know better — what’s wrong with using our imaginations to leave behind some of the cares of our lives, and take ourselves somewhere more satisfying for a while?

3. You get to use your deep understanding of inner lives.

Introverts may hate small talk, but many of us are adept at reading others’ deeper emotions. As friends, introverts are often perceptive and able to see below the surface to what’s really going on. I try to use this skill in writing fiction: It allows me to create believable, rounded characters who readers will empathize with.

Writers often say they can hear their characters talking, and that comes from a deep understanding of how others think and feel. The way introverts see the world gives us a built-in advantage in writing characters readers will love (and hate!).

Think about some of your favorite characters from fiction. They seem as alive to you as your own friends and family (or even more, in some cases). The authors who created them for you must have some pretty deep insights into human nature — and as an introvert, you’re well-placed to do the same.

4. It harnesses your creativity.

Introverts are not necessarily more creative than extroverts, but our personality type allows us the space and inclination to develop our creative side. Have you had the experience of friends or coworkers saying, “I never guessed you could do that” when they came across something you’d drawn or written? Just because we don’t like to show off what we’ve done doesn’t mean we aren’t talented.

Opportunities to be creative in our jobs or day-to-day lives may not come along often — but to write, all you need is a pen and paper (or your computer) and some time to yourself. I don’t know anything more rewarding than putting one word next to another, for several months at a time, until one day you have a novel sitting in front of you.

5. It strengthens your work ethic and discipline.

Introverts don’t normally welcome distractions. I like nothing better than immersing myself in a project, burrowing deeper and deeper until I’ve finished. And however helpful talent is, what a writer needs most is the discipline to shut out the world and keep going until it’s done.

When I’m writing a novel, it usually takes me 3-6 months to produce a first draft, and just as long to edit it (although take longer if you like, it’s not a race!). That’s a job for someone who is willing to sacrifice a lot of their time for a solitary pursuit. Sound like anyone you know?

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6. Writing helps you forge deep connections.

When you’ve finished your novel or short story, you might want to let someone else read it (or maybe you don’t… that’s fine, too). Trusting someone to read your work, particularly something you may have spent months on, is a big emotional hurdle. If you don’t know who your real friends are, this is when you find out, because the only people you are going to show your work to are the ones you trust with something deeply personal. 

This trusted reader will often be another writer (so odds are they’re another introvert), and the chance to share and critique each other’s work is a great way of deepening friendships.  It’s an odd payoff for such a solitary activity, but it’s one of the unexpected benefits I’ve found in the writer’s life.

Do these six things make you feel like you want to be a writer? Don’t worry if you think you won’t be good at it. You’re probably better than you think — as an introvert, you already have a head start. Here are some tips on how you can cultivate a regular writing practice as an introvert.

Although some introverted writers do it to get published and make money, you don’t have to go down that path if you don’t want to. The sense of satisfaction you get from finishing a short story, or if you’re really ambitious, a novel, outweighs any other rewards you might get.

If you’re an introvert, chances are you already love settling down with a good book. Next time you’re reading one and you think, “Hey, I could do better than this” — what’s stopping you?

Happy writing!

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Written By

Tim Stretton (INFP) graduated with a degree in English and American Literature from the University of Kent when dinosaurs still ruled the earth. He’s been writing science fiction and fantasy for over twenty years, and has been published by TOR and Macmillan. Recently he left his career in public finance to concentrate on writing fiction full-time, including finishing his sixth novel. You can follow him on Twitter: @timstretton.