7 Habits of Highly Effective Introverts

So it’s come to my attention, after much job hunting and incredible interviews and socialising with interesting and unusual and highly accomplished people, that my dream job is at home alone working by myself.

There, I said it.

I don’t regret it.

I wonder what kind of cool stuff I could be doing if my internet weren't down
I wonder what kind of cool stuff I could be doing if my internet weren’t down

This isn’t to say I don’t like people, simply that I do my best work under my own conditions. Specifically, pyjamas, tea, and a healthy regimen of going to bed no earlier than 3:00 am and waking up no earlier than 9:00. Really that’s not excessive. That’s less sleep than most people get who go to bed much earlier.

That’s beside the point though. The point is, if I want to maintain this routine, there are certain sacrifices which must be made. Learning to work hard on your own schedule and establish an effective routine is crucial to being your own boss. I can hack it, it just takes some getting used to.

This, for instance. Working on my blog. Or updating twitter. My mind doesn’t naturally gravitate towards those activities. I’m generally wondering what’s on Imgur or when the next episode of Supernatural will come out and is Jensen Ackles that hunky in real life?

I was reading an article over at bookcoaching.com called the Seven Success Secrets of Successful Authors by Judy Cullins. It’s a pretty good read, I highly recommend it. The primary point of advice, however, boils down to this: you need to stop looking at your book as a hobby, and start treating it as a serious business endeavour. Writing these days isn’t toiling obscurely in the dark. Writers are celebrities first, authors second. That’s the sad fact of it. Or not, depending on your point of view.

I would love to be a celebrity author, I won’t lie. I’d love being as famous as E.L. James or J.K. Rowling. I mean, the paycheque is certainly part of that draw. But having that kind of audience power—to know that whatever I created would instantly have millions of followers? How phenomenal would that be?

I think too many authors don’t take their work seriously, myself included. In the past writing always seemed like a chore, something you did when you didn’t have anything else to do, and secretly knew it was never going anywhere. Well, not anymore. I’ve changed that mindset around completely and although it’s proving to be a lot of work, there’s definitely strides being made to turn my once wayward hobby into a legitimate business undertaking. There’s money to be made here, you just have to know that you have what it takes to get through the rough patches.

Cause believe me, there are lots of them.

"Sit down at your typewriter and bleed. But not before you've had about a pint of gin."
“Sit down at your typewriter and bleed. But not before you’ve had about a pint of gin.”

But writing is like any other job. You start at the bottom and work up. And just like any other job, who you know helps tremendously. Do you know other authors, writers, agents? Are your parents publishers? We can’t all be Christopher Paolini, but it definitely helps to learn to network. And that’s the problem with us writers, we’re hermits—loathsome basement dwelling troglodytes who despise the sun and other humans, and social interaction is at best repellent, if not utterly abhorrent. Talk to other people? My god, why?

Well, cause you need them. So learn to play nice or pick another career.

Writers these days have a host of online tools at their fingertips to market their books, and with some dedication and genuine effort, it is entirely possible to be your own best weapon in the war of publishing your masterpiece. I don’t know all the tricks yet, but it seems like the best advice is just to establish a steady routine and hack it out. Don’t give up. Judy Cullins recommends maintaining at least three “HLAs” (High Level Activities) every day, such as updating your twitter, replying to your facebook fans, and writing new blog posts. Just things that get you active in your work and promoting your material.

So that’s my own goal as well. Update the blog, update twitter, and send out emails connecting with people.

It’s a long road, but I’m learning lots and it’s honestly not as daunting as you might think. It just takes time. A lot of it. But that’s ok. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success story.

Well, to be honest, I do. But we’ll just keep that between you and me.

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8 thoughts on “7 Habits of Highly Effective Introverts

  1. I love this piece. I’m not sure I get 7 habits, but I love it despite that. I might just count badly. I’ve re-posted it. As a fellow introvert, I feel responsible for publicizing you (yes, I wrote that with an American z).

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    1. Haha there aren’t seven habits listed here, just wordplay. And I won’t hold it against you—publiciSing me or your bastard American zed 😉

      I’m American too. Lived in England and loved the spelling so I never gave it up.

      Anyways, thanks for reading friend, and for commenting =)

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  2. Ok, I won’t bother you about the z or s or -re at the end. I’ll just say that as a scholar of 18th-century British things, that the English only adopted these spellings after they spun us off as colonies. American English is more authentic than English English. Not as posh. But more authentic.

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    1. Hmm, I recall reading that Noah Webster dramatically altered the language in his first dictionary, and when it became popular, his changes became more or less standardised. Is that not the case?

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  3. Bette Davis once said, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” You know, neither is writing your innermost feelings, blood, sweat, and tears. Writers spend a plethora of hours beyond their actual creating and writing time for their own books because social networking demands extra time. I believe that the ones who realize their dreams have paid their dues. I wish you luck and hope to attend your book signing one of these days.

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  4. Webster did standardize things, yes, but I’ve edited a lot of early 18th-century British prose, and they spelled the way Americans do today. I think linguists argue that change happens more at the linguistic center, in this case England, more particularly London, than it does in the places where it spreads. French people have told me that people in Quebec sound like old farmers to them.

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  5. Thanks for the great post and reminding me of some things I tell myself constantly—but then do the opposite. Totally agree that working at home in pajamas (until at least 11am), staying up late and not rising before 9 is the way to go. I work best from mid-morning to early evening. By the way, have you read Booklife: Digital Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer, by Jeff VanderMeer (2009)? I found it extremely helpful and inspiring in regard to treating writing as a business and a job rather than a hobby or sideline.

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