The Introvert/Extrovert dilemma

I’ve volunteered myself for a whole load of extrovert activities. At the time, I had a ‘sod it’ attitude because it all sounded like fun. However, I’m now wondering if I’m insane…

I seem to go through stages. I have days, weeks, when I’m feeling friendly and personable; I can chat to multiple people (I talked to everyone at our last Swindon FreeWriters meeting for four hours – I NEVER talk that much!) I can chat to people at work, new students, random people at Hackspace…I can be outgoing, personable and friendly. My housemate is always astonished at how extroverted I can be for someone that really doesn’t like doing it.

And then I get the flip side. I get nervous, scared, insecure and worried; at the worst points, I get panic attacks. I find it hard to know what to say, or even if I’m interesting enough to talk to people. I struggle with paying attention to conversations; it all gets very hard work and I’d much rather be curled up with a book!

By the way, on a related note – want to know how to talk to people? Just be interested. Ask questions and find things to follow; what do you read? Where are you from, where do you work, why are you here? Add in personal anecdotes to make people relax (oh, I like that author, my favourite bit is X) but don’t make it about you; listen and react. It works for me – but then I am much more of a listener than I am a talker!

Anyway. I’ve signed myself up for multiple extrovert activities in the next few weeks, and I’m now getting pretty nervous about them. I’ve finally got a date for my Dresden Files casefile, along with my new game;  it’s the new academic year at work so I’ve got tours to do and students to talk to; and I’ve also got BristolCon

Frankly, I’m pretty nervous about my panel. However, @NickHembery sent me a wonderful podcast from Writing Excuses on being a good panelist and moderator, and it has helped…a little…

The highlights:

  • Be concise, considerate, and topically relevant; it’s ok to not cover everything.
  • The panelists are chosen as people who are good at what they do, who connect with the audience, and who are nice!
  • Engage in conversation; are you actually listening, or are you just waiting to talk?
  • Engage with other panelists and refer things over to them.

I’ve already started making notes and reading a couple of books, so I hope I’ll have something to talk about. I’ve got another week to worry about it, anyway.

Beyond that…I’m giving in to my introvert side for a few days, and hiding with my laptop. I might even get some writing done!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.