Writers’ Traits: Anti-Social Behaviour

Writers’ Traits: Anti-Social Behaviour

I don’t mean ‘anti-social’ in the sense that criminals are anti-social. I’m just using it to mean not being very sociable or being annoying to many people for their behaviour in a social situation.

Loosely speaking the term that psychologists use for not being very sociable is the trait of introversion. It has common into common usage, and most of us could say whether they think someone is introverted or extroverted. The actual attempts at researching whether (on average) writers are more introverted or extroverted seems to strongly indicate introversion.

However, we judge people we know by selective (and thus biased) sampling, in this case, by when we’re with them. Here, I can speak from personal experience. I suspect most people who have been in my company would say I’m fairly extroverted. I’m not. I need my solitude and get cranky when I can’t get away from other people and be alone—even people I love. But when I’ve had my solitude fix and venture out of my study, I happen not to be shy or withdrawn. Then I actually savour social interaction, and probably give the impression of being quite outgoing. I’m sure my situation isn’t unique. Writers have to spend a lot of time alone. Writing is a very solitary vocation.

And when it comes to writers being annoying to many people, I think it’s fair to say that is true. (I know I can be.) All creative people, in any endeavour, are bound to be, for creativity always involves challenging convention in some way. And this has to annoy a lot of people. You don’t win any popularity contests by such deviation, for it is an implicit criticism of those who conform.

So as to writers being ‘anti-social’, no and yes.

 Ken@Stange.com © Ken Stange 2012-2015