What an interesting topic. After seeing it circulate recently, I thought I’d share my 2 cents. Because even after ~4 years, it’s something I still mentally play around with.
From the research for this blog and perspectives I’ve picked up whilst copywriting, I think it’s fair to say we all sit on a ‘spectrum’ of introversion and extroversion. Where we sit often depends on how we feel… what we’re doing… and who we’re with.
So we’re not explicitly one or the other. Instead, varying degrees of both.
Before we look at the impacts of each personality type on your freelance copywriting, let’s familiarise ourselves with some definitions.
Introvert and extrovert definitions
From Merriam-Webster, an introvert is defined as “a person whose personality is characterized by introversion: a typically reserved or quiet person who tends to be introspective and enjoys spending time alone.”
In a nutshell, one enjoys alone time, the other enjoys social interactions.
Let’s see how this impacts a freelance copywriter.
How different personality types impact freelance copywriters
Naturally, like in any creative role, there will be both times alone and times of interaction. And the extent to which you experience them is down to you. Especially as a freelancer. If you’re ‘in-house’, you’ll generally have less control of your time. (That’s part of the trade-off for more financial security.)
Introverts will thrive in some parts of the creative process, whereas extroverts in others. For example, when you’re thinking of new ideas or ways of presenting different perspectives, this time is generally better spent alone. Great for the introverts.
Large group brainstorms tend to lead to lacklustre ideas.
However, there are times when (smaller) group discussions can be helpful. Like when you’re trying to understand and piece together the brief. Bouncing ideas off a select few can be very beneficial. It’s generally good advice to come to these meetings having done deep independent thinking already.
Perks of introversion
There are (and have been) many great introverted creatives – from Albert Einstein to J.K. Rowling to Frederic Chopin. So preferring not to socialise isn’t a bad thing. Just like being an extrovert isn’t either.
If you think you’re more of an introvert, let’s look at some of the perks of being so.
- You’ll be able to sit with yourself and think about ideas more comfortably. (Vital for the creative process.)
- Generally, you’ll find it easier to think about a topic in more detail. (Vital for research.)
- You’ll likely be more sensitive to other people. (Vital to crafting messages that connect with an audience).
- The relationships you do have will generally be a lot more meaningful. (Vital for marketing yourself.)
Perks of extroversion
On the flip side, extroversion has its positives too. Here’s what I mean:
- Because socialising is more comfortable, you’ll find it more natural to research “in-field”.
- Similarly, you’ll have a better idea of what “connects” with everyday people.
- You’ll find it easier to ‘put yourself out there’ and market yourself. This is something many copywriting wannabes often overlook.
- You’ll likely know a wider variety of people. Great for imagining “personas” (to mentally write to) and throwing ideas around.
- As you’ll likely feel more comfortable with others, group brainstorming will be more effective for you. You’ll feel less need to give the ideas you think others expect.
What really matters
As you can see, there’s a mix of benefits to both introversion and extroversion.
“Creative people are both introverted and extroverted, but at different times. They need and use the companion of other people to build better ideas, but they also use solitude to let ideas incubate, and the use triggering activities (even dangerous ones) to force combination of those incubated ideas.”
So I completely understand if you’re not sure what’s better (there isn’t a clear winner, in my opinion). But by doing so, we miss the bigger picture.
Whether you’re interested in other people.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying this is the most important aspect of copywriting. Even with a low desire for social interaction, you can still be curious about how others behave.
This interest in other people can be a trait of both introverts and extroverts. It just presents itself differently. You might be mingling with people, secretly analysing and taking mental notes… or you might sit on the perimeters and study them from there.
The main thing is that you’re studying people and noting what stimulates a reaction. And if you want to be a successful copywriter, you’ve got to do this for life.
An extra side note
Now, I know this isn’t directly introvert- or extrovert-related, but it’s worth keeping in mind that as a creative, you’re going to receive negative feedback at some point. From your peers and your audience.
And most introverts I know (myself included) tend to be quite sensitive to this assessment.
Unfortunately, this is part of being a creative. Our work has to polarise to an extent to get a reaction (even if it’s objectively negative).
Work that goes unnoticed is not doing its job. And neither are we.