It’s one of the first rules of characterization we writers learn—give our protagonists a fatal flaw. Even better? Use that fatal flaw to bring about the character’s ultimate triumph. It is one of my favorite character arcs, how that flaw can end up being the thing that saves us, given the right set of circumstances.
As writers, we need to remember to apply it not just to our stories, but to ourselves and our writing and publishing journey.
We’re human beings, so the grass is always greener on the other side—except that it’s not.
So instead of pining for those other personality traits that you think might bring you success, identify your own perceived weaknesses and use them to cheerfully slog your own path to success.
While introverts have always been in the minority, in the past certain occupations seemed well suited to the introvert—an author sitting in a garret slaving away at their book in solitude, for one. But in the age of social media and platforms, it’s easy to perceive being an introverted author as a flaw. It’s easy to look at those extroverted authors as being the lucky ones—the ones for whom grasping publishing’s brass ring (however you define it) will be a snap.
Or will it? Because even in the age of social media, writing requires long stretches of solitude. And extroverts don’t simply like people or crowds or socializing more than introverts—they process the world around them through their socializing and that is how they recharge their batteries. So being an extroverted writer has its downsides as well.
But what if instead of focusing on the downsides, we altered our perspective a bit and used those very downsides as a source of strength? What if we recognized that there were at least 57 varieties of publishing success and there were plenty of paths for both extroverts and introverts? [Read more…]