I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the introvert-extrovert dynamic lately, and how it applies to me. If you’d asked me growing up (at a point when I understood the terms) I would have called myself an introvert. These days I think I’m closer to an ambivert. I get energized both by being around people and by getting away from them – I hit a saturation point with either activity and need to switch things up. Keeping things balanced is key – just enough socializing, just enough time to myself. Finding the right balance is the part that’s challenging.
I used to have a friend to run with. We’d meet up on Saturday or Sunday to run together. Our pacing was similar enough that we could run together. Sometimes I had to push a bit harder to keep up, sometimes she did, and some days we spent a lot more time walking and talking than we’d intended. It worked. It was especially nice when she was training for a half-marathon and had some long runs to get in. I wasn’t training for that distance but I joined her for her first 7-miler, 8-miler, and 9-miler anyway. Unfortunately, after her half, she quit running and I’ve been on my own for the past year and a half. That’s been fine – I run at the time that works best for me and I don’t have to worry about pacing with anyone else – but now that I’m training for my own half-marathon and have my long runs looming, I find myself wishing I had someone to run with me. It’s not a matter of accountability – I manage that part just fine on my own – but company on these long runs would be appreciated.
My writing situation is similar. For years I wrote fanfiction and was part of a group of supportive writers. I did my first NaNoWriMo with them and had a blast. Over the years several of us have drifted away from fanfiction, and a few from writing at all. That support network isn’t there any longer. For a while it didn’t bother me but of late I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit my saturation point on writing solo. I miss having that supportive group, miss having people to be encouraged by and to encourage in turn. It wasn’t hard to find a supportive group in the fanfiction community, but figuring out how to do that outside of it is a puzzle I haven’t solved. Yet.