How to Survive Being an Introvert in a World of Extroverts

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Photo by Alexandru Zdrobau-Unsplash

My husband likes to say I’m a “sole contributor.” What he means by that is that I like to work alone. It’s true. My entire career has consisted of working on my own. I like to stay just put me in front of my computer and leave me alone to do my job.

Writing, whatever form it takes, is just that. My friends who are also writers pretty much function in the same capacity. Writing is kind of like that.

Several years ago, when I was an analyst for a global technology advising company, the higher-ups decided one day to move me to the marketing department.

Marketing? Me? Groupthink?

I lasted less than a week. Fortunately, I was moved back to the analyst side of the company rather than losing my job altogether.

As a freelance writer now, I have other issues being an introvert.

The dilemma with writers like me is getting business. We are told, and we know this to be true, we must market ourselves to get work. Freelance writing has never been as competitive as it is now. With staff jobs shrinking every day and good, solid journalists to compete with, it can be a very tough go making it on writing alone? For some, an option to bring in additional funds is adding a “gig” job to the day, such as driving for one of the ride-hailing companies or delivering food. These options allow the flexibility to still write and meet deadlines. It’s tough going out there.

On top of being a professional writer, the competition with bidding sites is brutal. Frankly, I can’t fathom writing a blog post for $10 but that is what some of the competition is offering.

Without getting out there and marketing my skills it can be downright frightening to stay in business. Hence we need schlep out the networking parties.

It’s brutal, I know. It goes against our personality traits. Yet, networking is where I have gotten my best opportunities. My options are plying my nerve with drinks which is not a good business strategy. However, getting a couple of glasses of courage seems like it would help.

I’m never sure the best approach to introducing myself. I’ve been told to ask the other person about their business and their challenges, rather than touting my superior writing and researching skills.

Yet, in order to succeed in today’s market, we need to get over ourselves and make it an extroverted world.

So, there it is. Nothing has changed regarding the “loner personality” in a world of gregarious, outgoing people, glad-handing at the networking parties. I try to leave my personality at the door, walk in with a big smile and fake it till I make it.

Written by

Master researcher, journalist and non-fiction author. My new book, San Francisco Values will be out in June 2020. Connect with me at

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