I’ve taught dozens of online classes over the past few years, and almost all of my students are introverts. Sometimes I teach on topics like writing and creativity, and sometimes I teach personal growth and development. But no matter what the subject of the class, I’ve noticed something very surprising with my students that’s been happening since the pandemic.
The majority of my introvert students have been going through huge life transformation in the past few years.
Some have reported to me that they either suddenly lost their job, or quit their job. Others have ended relationships with long-term partners, or decided they would like to find a partner after being single for a long time. Some of these introverts have picked up and moved across states, or to a different country, or are considering a big move like that right now.
“So, what do you do?” is a common question in society that makes most creative people cringe. Whether you’re socializing at a dinner party with friends or you’re meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time, the “what do you do?” question is one that we’ve all come to know and expect, and that fills us with dread every time.
For most people, answering this question is easy. They give the person their job title and maybe the company they work at and then the conversation moves on. But for creative people, it’s very likely that their official job title does not match what they are most passionate about in life, and their job title is not the work they truly identify with on a deeper level. So, the job title they have at the moment feels irrelevant, and mostly impersonal. It doesn’t say anything about who they really are.
The first book I ever wrote was ugly as hell. It was raw, disgusting, weird, and twisted. In fact, when I first started writing it I didn’t even know what it was. I thought maybe it was a memoir, because it was all about a certain period in my life, but I could also see that it was so fragmented and exaggerated in places that thinking of it as an actual linear story was quite a stretch, even for my imagination.
I worked on it every week for two years but I kept it a secret. I hid the pages I wrote in a locked desk drawer and never looked at them. I was too embarrassed, and ashamed. I knew the writing was bad, that was one thing, but I also didn’t want to look at the demons that were showing up. I didn’t want to know what those demons were trying to tell me.
A few years ago, in 2015, I hit a wall with writing. I had just given birth to my son a few months before, I was completely exhausted all the time, and I had been querying on multiple novels for years, with no success. I had done everything I thought I was supposed to do. Joined and founded writing groups, worked with beta readers, steeled myself through harsh critique, edited and revised my manuscripts until it felt like my eyes were going to bleed, and still…nothing.
I felt like a complete failure.
You are such a fraud.
As a writer, how many times have you heard your inner critic say that to you whenever someone compliments your work? What if your work comes up for an award or you get an awesome review from a total stranger?
How about the times you hear that phrase just because you dared to say out loud to someone that you—yes, YOU—are a writer?
For me, it has been thousands and THOUSANDS of times.