Jim C. Hines (jimhines) wrote,
Jim C. Hines
jimhines

Introverting

Random Link: My agent, Joshua Bilmes, talks about why he doesn’t currently take electronic submissions.

Random Thought: Ever since the Amazon/Macmillan thing, my obsessive checking of my Amazon rankings has decreased about 90%.

Random Taunt: Hey, John Scalzi!  Grover sucks.  Animal rules!

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I’ve always considered myself an introvert.  I don’t particularly enjoy crowds and loud parties.  Kids’ birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese are torture.  I’d much rather sit around in an empty house, reading.  But for a long time, I didn’t have a good working definition of what it actually meant to be introverted.  I assumed introvert = shy/quiet, and that was that.

Then a few years back, my wife — a licensed counselor and overall smart person — offered up an alternative definition.  Introversion doesn’t mean hating crowds.  It refers to the effect of being around groups of people.  Toss an extrovert into a busy convention, and he or she comes away feeling energized.  Toss the introvert in, and it’s an emotionally draining experience, even though both of us could be socializing and having a great time.

This was an eye-0pener.  Because I do have a blast at conventions. I love seeing everyone, and even getting up in front to do panels and readings.  (If you’ve seen me read “Creature in Your Neighborhood,” you could probably tell I was having a blast with it.)  I thought it was because I was learning to overcome my introverted tendencies, but being introverted doesn’t mean you’re incapable of being social and having a good time.  It just means there’s a cost.

There are times during the convention when I’ll sneak back to my room, shut the door, and just be alone for a little while.  I need that time to emotionally recharge.  It’s the same thing after the con ends — I hate going to work the following day, not because I’m physically worn out, but because I’m socially and emotionally exhausted.

I was surprised to realize that for me, the same thing holds true online.  In a week where I’m more actively engaged online, whether it’s the war-of-the-week or just pre-book promotion, I start to feel burnt out.  Which is probably normal, but what surprised me was that it’s the same feeling of burnout I get after a convention.  The same desire to burrow and get a little quiet/solitude to recharge.

The psych major in me is fascinated by the idea that virtual/online social interaction has the same effects (albeit perhaps to a lesser extent) as actual social interaction.

I know for me it’s been helpful to know what to expect.  To realize I’m perfectly capable of going to cons, hanging out at the bar with my writing friends, meeting fans and readers and fellow geeks, doing the readings and signings … but to also recognize that there will be a cost, and to be able to plan for that.  Or if I’ve been involved in online kerfuffling, to recognize that it’s okay to take a day or two off from blogging to recharge.

I’d love to know if others have run into this same sort of thing.

ETA: An article on introversion that explores a lot of what I’m saying.  I don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s an interesting read.  Thanks the_gneech for the link!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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