Writing | For Introverts & The Highly Sensitive Person

So if you were anything like me as a child you were VERY shy. Too shy to even order your own burger or check out at Wal-Mart. Too shy to speak up or offer your opinion to anyone. Sometimes I thought I didn't even have an opinion about . . . anything. And if you were like me, that really hurt because you were and still are, highly sensitive. It made me feel very . . . useless not to have an opinion about things. I had many tearful, discouraging moments growing up because I knew there must be something wrong with me because I wasn't like everybody else.

What Is A Highly Sensitive Person?

I've only known, really known, that I was an Introvert, and what being an Introvert meant, and that it was ok to be an Introvert despite our loud culture, for three years. Yeah. Three years. And I've known for only about a month that I am what is called a Highly Sensitive Person.

I began planning for this post way before I knew there was such a thing as an HSP, but when I found out, I realized it applied to an HSP and not just an Introvert.

To read more about the HSP and take the Test: 12 Signs You're a Highly Sensitive Person - Introvert, Dear.com. Or read the book The Highly Sensitive Person, Dr. Elaine Aron.

Being an HSP is not an excuse to get attention, it's not to be used as a crutch to get sympathy, an excuse to hate the world and cry in your corner and feel sorry for yourself. It's to be used to better help you understand yourself and what your brain does in certain situations, and with that understanding to help you cope, to become a stronger person, to know that it will be ok. If you do discover you are an HSP let it empower and enlighten you. Don't you use it as an excuse.

I found writing because I believe I was unconsciously searching for some way to be useful, but also for some way to understand who I was. For some way to cope with being me, some way to figure out what the heck an opinion even was. I wanted to have something worth saying out loud. To feel like I knew something, like I had something to contribute in my noisy world. I wanted to be normal.

So . . . I started writing. EVERYTHING.

3 Ways For Introverted/Sensitive People to Start Writing

Journaling - For the Total Writing Beginner

I found my first diary at Dollar General. Thus began my long and happy love affair with notebooks, journals, and pens. The Stationary and Office aisles at Wal-Mart still give me immense pleasure whenever I visit.

This is where I believe writing and the putting together of words really began for me. I tried to write every day. Because I wanted to write SO BADLY, I tried really hard. Most of the time I didn't know what to write, so I wrote about what I did that day. Lots about how I felt. Who I was mad at, what I loved to do. This gave me a basic understanding of how words are put together to form something, to tell somebody something. Very important if you intend to do any writing whatsoever.

My second and third journals I named and wrote in as if I were writing to a specific someone. Rosamond Smith and Loveday were some of my journal people. I loved them dearly. They heard just about everything going on in my daydream life.

But if you're already a journaler, by all means, skip ahead! If you are just discovering writing as a way to voice thoughts, then journaling will help you find your writing voice, that is, how you write, and your particular way you put words together.

Action Step: Pick a notebook. Something you would LOVE to get your hands on and start writing in. And DO write in it. Start journaling. Write anything. You can start out with daily accounts until your imagination starts to soar and then let whatever comes to mind out through your pencil on the pages.

Passionate Free Writing - For the Journalist

Free writing can be a lot like journaling. But with Passionate Free Writing, it's a little more focused. Choose a topic you are passionate about and write only about that. Social Issues. Writing Issues. Problems you have with a certain movie, book, article. What you argued with your mother about, and why you were right, or she was right. Write however is most comfortable for you. Write in your voice.Write and write. No stopping. No editing. Write whatever comes to mind. This is an amazing exercise, and it will help you discover what you really have to say about something.

“You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Action Step: Write for twenty minutes without stopping to correct yourself, fix mistakes, or reread.  It's OK if it sounds ranty, because when you go back to edit you will easily find ideas and thoughts you can turn into real arguments.

Stories - For the Creatives

Even after filling up a journal with daily entries I still didn't realize I did have something to say. It wasn't until I was writing stories and learning about theme and characters that I realized this was how I really wanted to get my thoughts across to people: by being creative, by offering opinions and thoughts to others in sweeping, romantic prose and dialogue. L.M. Montgomery did this so well, of which I will always be envious.

I will be honest, writing stories is amazing. But writing good stories is hard work. My first suggestion to you, if you want to begin writing stories, is to write for yourself. I wrote for myself for years. I didn't show hardly any of my work to anyone and, after a few botched stories, I didn't even tell anybody I was writing anything.
Perhaps you know what you want to write and how you want to write it. That's good, you've got a huge head start. But I didn't know either of those things. If you don't, I suggest you write what you want and how you want to write it. I wrote everything. Westerns. Romances. Fantasies. Historical fiction. All those years writing for myself helped me decide what I wanted to write, because I had absolutely no clue. I just wanted to write, to feel things, to be me.

But perhaps you don't have years. That's ok. Ask yourself these questions:

What genre do you most like to read? 
Historical Fiction, YA, Romance, Fantasy.
What is your favorite book in each genre?
Who is your favorite author? 
The one who's writing you most connect with and understand.
Now ask yourself:
What book you would like to read and what story do you want to tell?
“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison
If you just want to try your hand at writing stories, I think the best way to start is to not put yourself under the pressure of a category, a genre, or a writing style. The best way to figure out how to tell stories in your unique voice is write them the way you want to write them, to say things the way you would say them, to put into your own words what you see in the story world.

3 Reasons Introverted/Sensitive People Should Start Writing
1. Builds Confidence
Not to mention the brain dumps which are highly conducive to figuring out what the heck is going on inside. I'll have to say, writing is a retreat, a place to hide, to get away to, a paradise for me more than a confidence builder. That is not to say that it doesn't boost my confidence. It does, and it makes me feel so much better. But it is my paradise more. But writing can also be frustrating and a confidence deflater. But the fact that you keep coming back to writing again and again and again must tell you something. That your ardently love it, and that having written you have grown in some way. Namely, confidence. Having something you like to do and want to do, something you feel you're good at can boost and build confidence the more you do it.

2. Helps You Find Your Purpose & Your Cause
I guess I always dreamed about writing so people could read my stories, so I could become famous. But I always wanted to create emotion, to give something special to someone, to empathize with people. I wanted to help. I didn't always know how, but the desire was there. I wanted to help myself, but I wanted to help other people, too. And that's what your writing needs to do.

3. Gives You a Way to Serve
Sure, you can write simply for yourself, I highly recommend this. But if you want to share your writing with the world it needs to have a purpose other than being written for your fame and fortune alone. You need to Serve some particular need with your writing. Your writing needs to fill some gap in people's lives.

3 Reasons Why Introverted/Sensitive People Are Better Writers

1.They Listen More
Because they are Introverted they tend to stand back and away from the action. Introverts are more quiet, not to mean shy or less engaging, but simply that they are more likely to listen than to put their two-cents in.

2.They Observe More
Because they listen, they are also more likely to make observations others might miss. This doesn't mean Extroverts aren't observant, just that Introverts are more likely to be.

3.They Are Internal
If you're going to be a writer you're going to spend A LOT of time alone. This doesn't mean that because you're an Extrovert you can't be creative or attentive. But because Extroverts get their energy from being around other people it's going to be hard for them to be any kind of serious writer. Serious writing requires a lot of serious alone time. This doesn't mean it can't be done, it's entirely possible. You are just being warned.

Raise your hand if you're an HSP or an Introvert and leave comment below. How has writing helped you cope with all the troubles that come with your personality type?


  1. I'm definitely an introvert...you have no idea.

  2. Hello fellow introvert! Thanks for stopping by.


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