The topic of introversion has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Personality tests, such as the seminal Myers-Briggs personality assessment, are more popular than ever before, as they give people insight into the workings of their inner lives.
Susan Cain’s Quiet explores the introvert world along with its subsets of sensitivity and empathy. Cain found that there are many rich characteristics of introverted people, including the connection between introversion and creativity.
As defined by Cain, an introvert is a person who derives their “energy” from solitary time and activities. Introverts are energized when they are alone or in an environment that allows them time to think and process their mental, emotional, and spiritual lives. Introverts thrive in quiet environments and calm, relaxed situations. Introverts “recharge” their energy through “alone time,” time away from the crowds and constant mental and emotional demands from others.
Introverts tend to process their thoughts internally, meaning they prefer to perform mental tasks without much discussion or external input.
- Introverts tend to think first and speak later.
- Introverts mull over a topic or subject before they discuss it out loud.
- Introverts tend to be more analytical, thoughtful, and observant than extroverts.
- Introverts excel in problem-solving and innovative thinking.
Introverts tend to have small social circles and deeper close friendships. They are comfortable relating one-on-one and small groups.
Introverts also angle towards creative endeavors, such as art, dance, performance, music, and writing. All of these require focus and discipline in which to develop proficiency and mastery.
A Rich Inner Life and the Creativity Connection
Introverts have rich inner lives. Reading, studying, researching, developing, building, and creating deeply satisfies them. Introverts are especially adept at creative endeavors and the mastery of those endeavors because their temperament allows for the time, concentration, and dedication needed to develop their talents and skills.
Many creative people are introverts. In many instances, the two seem to go hand in hand. Creative types often use their alone time to master their crafts. They can work for long periods of time concentrating on their craft or hobby, working to perfection, or at least until they reach a level of perfection they are pleased with.
Introverted creatives have the ability to truly hone in on their crafts for hours at a time without getting tired or distracted. They don’t have an insatiable need for company or social interaction that could cause distraction.
“As an introverted creative, you have the ability to truly hone in on your crafts for hours at a time without getting tired an distracted.”
The Introvert Advantage and Creativity
For those introverts who create professionally, they can leverage their solitary nature to obtain mastery levels in any area of creativity they pursue.
The introverted personality is adept at concentrating for long stretches of time without feeling drained or losing inspiration. She is at an advantage for reaching mastery-level competency in any creative activity she puts her energy toward. This is the introvert advantage regarding creativity.
An introvert can get lost in her creative work. With her favorite cup of tea and trusty laptop, she’s able to bang away at an article on a subject she is passionate about. She gets consumed with creating special jewelry, hours passing as she arranges beads, stones, and gems into intricate and wearable art. Or she could find herself hours in a design application composing sharp brand collateral for a client.
Self-Validation vs. External Feedback
Another advantage the introvert has in the area of creativity is the ability to self-validate her work. Because the introvert is comfortable with her own thoughts and inner life, she might not be as inclined to seek external validation or acceptance for her creativity.
The dismissal of external validation encourages more creativity and unhindered self-expression. The creative introvert, already being astute and perceptive, can provide her own feedback by gauging her work in comparison to others and aligning her standards accordingly.
In other words, she trusts her artistic muse and her capabilities.
However, if not self-aware, the creative introvert could miss some valuable feedback from outside sources that can give her a new perspective and a creative edge.
Introverts need to understand that receiving constructive outside feedback will not dampen their creative flow. By intentionally soliciting feedback, you can sharpen your critical eye and refine your artistic work. Be sure to connect with people you trust and who will give you constructive help to push your creativity further.
“The creative introvert, already being astute and perceptive, can provide her own feedback.”
Create Alone, but Shine with Others
Creative introverts also have to be sure they don’t isolate themselves, especially if they want to pursue a creative profession. Networking with like-minded individuals in similar fields is critical to your growth as an artist.
Let’s face it. No one is completely original. There’s nothing new under the sun, and we grow by hearing other people’s ideas and witnessing their creativity. Ideas are shared and refined. Your own creativity is unique, but ideas themselves are not special. You will learn a lot by studying others’ work and collaborating when you can.
Your creativity can be fueled from without as well as within. You can take the ideas you learn from others and incubate them when you are alone. That is when these external ideas take a unique form in your mind and become unique expressions of your creativity.
“Creativity never occurs in a vacuum. Don’t be afraid to source ideas from others.”
Open up Your Gifts to the World
You, as an introverted creative, are uniquely positioned to achieve high levels of competency and artistic fluency based on your temperament alone. But don’t create in a bubble. Learn how to share your work and get feedback.
As you start to provide value to others through your gifts, you will be more encouraged to share your contributions with others. You provide value to those who need your creative solutions to their problems. Your products, services, skills, and abilities are needed by someone, so don’t hide all of your good work.
- If you write, consider starting a blog to share your ideas or insights.
- If you sew, share your sewing tips and techniques, or create a guide to help others get started on their sewing journey.
- If you dance, start choreographing teachings in the dance style in which you are most skilled. Choreograph a dance to a type of music you are passionate about and perform it in a showcase.
Someone is blessed by your quiet creativity. Don’t keep your goodness all locked up inside. What you have is too valuable to keep hidden.
Creating becomes a regenerative act as the introvert consumes herself in her projects and hobbies. Just that time spent alone working on the hobby produces the restorative effect the introvert is seeking. In this sense, the art of creating is regenerative, and this is one way a creative introvert maximizes her time.
“The art of #creating is a regenerative act.”
Sharing your gift is not simply about sacrificing—doing all of the work and not getting anything back. That’s not what I advocate. You should be compensated for the work that provides value to others. At the same time, I believe sharing your gifts will bring you greater joy than keeping them to yourself.
Are you an introverted creative? How do you balance your social needs with time alone? Is creativity a solitary activity for you, or do you like to share it with others on occasion?
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