Bad Writer! Bad!

Here’s the thing: I’m a terrible writer.

Wait… let me rephrase that.

I’m a terrible social writer. I have only belonged to one writers group which consisted of exactly four people (three of whom were totally awesome, the fourth one being myself) but I stopped going in September because, lest we forget, I was hugely pregnant all last fall. But also because I rarely had anything I wanted to talk about that related to my writing. I don’t know why, exactly, but I never quite got the hang of interacting properly in my writers group.

(Incidentally, the group fell apart shortly after I stopped coming. I’m sure it had EVERYTHING to do with the fact that Iย wasn’t thereย and absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that two of the other three members also got pregnant.)

Anyway.

Other reasons I’m a bad social writer? Well, I don’t blog every day, for one. And before you say it’s totally understandable because of the baby and the job and whatnot, let me just point out that there are lots of working moms who blog every day. Because raising children in your home? TOTALLY counts as work.

I don’t take part in many blogfests. I don’t write long, congratulatory posts about friends who have finished writing a book or signed with an agent or even gotten published. I see their good news on Facebook or Twitter or maybe their own blog, I send them a comment containing the word “WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” I make sure they know just how pumped I am for them, and I call it a day.

Other (better) social writers throw BLOG PARTIES for people. I am so not that good.

And then there are the conferences. Oh, the conferences, which I always briefly consider attending but never follow through with. New York, L.A., Miami, Atlanta, even Auburn, Alabama (which is essentially in my backyard): they’re all too far away. I just can’t bring myself to pay the price, get on the plane, start up my car, or whatever. I can’t do it. I know the conferences are awesome and the people are great and I would have so much fun, but… at the end of the day I just can’t convince myself to expend the required effort and cash.

I have a small circle of blogs I check regularly. I don’t do Follow Fridays or Writer Wednesdays on Twitter, and I rarely reply to those who name me in their lists. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it; I do. So what’s the problem? Why can’t I be more excited for people, interact more with those who choose to give me a shout-out, be more involved in face-to-face writing groups?

I think part of the problem is my personality type. According to the Four Temperaments, I’m a Melancholic. What does this mean? It means this, and I’ve bolded the parts that seem to apply to me the most:

“A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very considerate and rather worried when they cannot be on time for events, melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetry and art – and can become occupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist. They are often self-reliant and independent. One negative part of being a melancholic is sometimes they can get so involved in what they are doing that they forget to think of others.”

What about you? Which of the Four Temperaments fits you best? Do you think it affects your relationship to other writers specifically? Do you see the traits of your temperament in your writing?

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20 thoughts on “Bad Writer! Bad!

  1. Alexandra Shostak says:

    I’m melancholic, too, and I also have a really hard time being a social writer! I’ve gone to exactly one conference (although in my own defense I usually can’t even pay for the conferences themselves, let alone hotel and air fare or gas) and I’m a very reserved person both in real life and online, which means I often don’t know what to blog about or what to say to someone if I want to make friends with them.

    (I actually was feeling kind of lonely about this lately–my other online friends seem to have just these huge groups of great friends they hang out with all the time, and I’m sort of sitting here by myself with my cat and my like… couple of peeps.)

  2. Dawn Embers says:

    That’s okay. I’m not too much of a social writer either. I did have a few friends I talked to on a regular basis about writing but nothing big. The only group was an online one and left that one due to personal issues despite having a couple of great members. Not everyone is going to be the post every day type. I have 4 blogs but I certainly don’t post every single day. I try at least once a week per each blog (or once every two weeks for the one group I have schedule for) and do my best.

    Whatever works best for you really. I’m sure you are doing just fine.

  3. J. Koyanagi says:

    Oh, how I relate to you (and Alexandra) here! I do try to be social with other writers and have made lasting friendships through blogs and Twitter.

    But. I’m very much an introvert–an INTP neuroatypical whose default mode is, “Hide in the cave and ~MAKE ART~ and grunt when tea or coffee is required.”

    I’m also a fairly cerebral, introspective person by nature, and really am as serious as I (evidently) come across in my blog. Not that I don’t know how to laugh and have a good time (I do! I promise!), but I tend to spend most of my time Thinking Seriously About Serious Things. I’m sure it can be a bit much for others, sometimes. Understandably.

    My point is, you’re not alone. The world needs all types, even us cave-dwelling introverts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I will put in a plug for conventions and conferences, though, even for introverts. I feel like it’s one of the few times I can come out of hiding and geek out. Shamelessly.

    • Anne Riley says:

      Hmm, geeking out sounds like fun. And yes, I believe I also tend to be more of a cave-dweller than anything else! Maybe me, you, and Alexandra should all live in a cave together.

  4. Ash Autumn says:

    I relate to a lot of what you mentioned, especially with the lack of regular blogging. People who can churn out solid, thoughtful, interactive posts day after day on their blog are amazing to me.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading this! It’s really nice to know that there are others out there struggling with the social part of being a writer.

    • Anne Riley says:

      I think there are a lot of us, actually! I’d be willing to bet most writers are melancholics, wouldn’t you? Seems to come with the territory.

  5. Heather McCorkle says:

    I’m totally a social writer (you never would have guessed right?!). I love connecting with others and helping them out. Don’t feel bad though, the world needs all kinds of writers! And you rock!

    • Anne Riley says:

      Heather, you are not kidding! You are so good at keeping up with people and making sure you don’t neglect anyone for too long. It is amazing! I am so impressed by you!

  6. Stephanie Alexander says:

    Hi there! I just got sucked into your blog via Twitter! So I’m trying to be a social writer…but I’m going to assume that more writers are in your camp than out of it. Most of us are introverted by nature– it goes with enjoying long hours in front of your computer by yourself (well, excepting the company of your imaginary friends!). Some of us are just better at faking it than others. Nothing makes my skin crawl like the thought of a huge writers’ conference filled with a thousand people I don’t know. People I’m supposed to chat it up with…ugg…I’ll stick to Twitter for now.

    Ok, now to think of something to blog about…

    • Anne Riley says:

      Hi Stephanie! Nice to meet you. Yes, I think you’re right – most writers are like this. Which means we really shouldn’t be scared to go to conferences because apparently, ALL of us are scared! Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Jessica Love says:

    I just took an online test to see which temperament I am. I’m Phlegmatic, which totally makes sense.

    I have sort of the opposite problem of you. I’ve got the social part down…in fact, I’m so social that I put the writer part on the back burner. I do too much tweeting and blogging about writing and going to writing conferences and going to lunches where I talk about writing and not enough ACTUAL WRITING.

    I annoy myself.

    • Anne Riley says:

      Ha! I know it is annoying to you probably, but that strikes me as really funny. I guess we all have to work on balancing everything out, right?

    • Anne Riley says:

      Oh Dean, I knew that from the get-go! Nothing wrong with it though. Just means you’re a lot like me!

  8. Melissa Garrett says:

    According to that list, I am definitely a melancholic. I am not extroverted in the least and would be content to stayed holed up in my house. I’m not that great of a social writer, either – I’ve got WAY too much on my plate to worry about keeping up with the Joneses of the blogging world. Hopefully that never prevents me from signing with an agent or getting published by a traditional publishing house, but I’m worried it might. I am who (and what) I am, though!

    • Anne Riley says:

      I think you’ll be fine, actually. And what’s weird is, I am extroverted – by which I mean I get energy from being around people. I’m not always outgoing, though, which is a different thing.

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