Sunday, November 8, 2009

Artist as Introvert: Chuck Palahniuk

As a professional storyteller, I know there is a huge swing between the time I spend alone and the time I spend in the public eye. Creating my stories requires a great deal of time staring at my laptop screen whilst locked away in my room. On the other hand, when I tour stages with my work, it’s rare to find a moment when I’m not surrounded by people.

Author, Chuck Palahniuk, in his prologue to “Stranger than Fiction,” writes about the swings in an artist’s social time, saying, “You spend time alone, building this lovely world where you control, control, control everything. You let the phone ring. The emails pile up. You stay in your story world until you destroy it. Then, you come back to be with other people. If your story sells well enough, you get to go on a book tour. Do interviews. Really be with people. A lot of people. People until you’re sick of people. Until you crave the idea of escaping, getting away to a…” 

The truth is, despite that I straddle the fence as both an introvert and an extrovert, sometimes I need time my alone time and sometimes I love being in front of people. This is an important consideration with art and business. There are portions that are so secluded that it has all the makings of an introvert’s dream and others that require you to muster the strength of an extremely gregarious extrovert. 

Considering that introverts make up 25-40% of the general population and 60% of the gifted population, (Jonathan Rauch “The Habits and Needs of a Little-Understood Group,” chances are, you fall into the same category as I do – someone who leans a bit toward the introverted side. As it stands, many of the suggestions I make in my blog are geared refreshingly toward the introvert. Given this fact, if at any time you feel a business recommendation is outside your comfort zone, find a way to individualize it further so it works for you.


  1. I wonder if all artists need to be alone to do work? This would make us defacto introverts, even the most gregarious of us need to be loners sometimes It is a necessity. Yours is a fun blog and pretty too!

  2. Thank you! I like to put on fancy cologne and wear a tie when I sit at my laptop and write my blog. Maybe that's why it's so pretty.