March 9, 2016

Writing in Isolation – What’s an Extrovert to Do?

By Colleen Coble

Hello, my name is Colleen Coble, and I’m a major extrovert. I know you’ve all heard all authors are introverts and huddle in their closets with a laptop while they write, but it’s not true. There are some of us strange creatures around who prefer parties to privacy.

People sometimes ask what is the most challenging part of writing, and for those of us who are extroverts, it’s the solitude. There are weeks when I’m on a tight deadline and don’t leave the house except for church on Sunday. That can take its toll on my mental energy. What’s a girl to do?

Answer: social media! I know, I know, that’s another thing you’ve heard. Social media is the bane of our existence, and it’s something we have to do because our publishers and readers expect it. But I want to challenge you to turn it around and think of it as something beneficial for you as well. You will make great friends and find awesome support online if you change your attitude.

First off, figure out which social media speaks to you the most. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Periscope are all valuable to you if you enjoy them. I’ve tried them all, but Facebook is my favorite. I have instant interaction with readers the moment I hop over there.

Second, be yourself. Don’t talk about your books all the time. Reveal who you really are. Put down your mask. What are your interests outside of your books? Mine is health, and I’m always posting articles about how we can use food to make use healthier. My readers all know I’m a health nut, and they often share things of interest with me as well. My characters are likely to eat a gluten-free, sugar-free diet and using essential oils so my books follow my interests as well. And I love coffee and The Walking Dead.

Third, treat your readers as friends. Answer their questions, respond to their comments, and share their posts as well. It’s all about interaction. Encourage them to share their lives with you as well as sharing yours with them.

My readers have given me so much: encouragement on the dark days, laughter, prayers, companionship, and so much more. When those days of tight deadlines fall on my head, I have a host of friends available at my keyboard to keep me company. It’s made solitude much more bearable for this mega-extrovert, but these tips will help you reach your readers as well even if you crave solitude. You can always shut your computer!

I know you’re thinking this takes too much time, but it really doesn’t. That’s an excuse writers use to avoid doing anything on social media because they dread it. If you change your attitude about it and see it as talking with friends, it will seem much less onerous, and I think you’ll find yourself with more friends than you ever thought was possible. I sure have!

So how about you? If you’re an extrovert like me, how do you handle the isolation?
Best-selling autor Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice and the Booksellers Best. She has more than three million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Coble is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. To keep up with Colleen Coble, visit, become a fan on Facebook (colleencoblebooks) or follow her on Twitter (@colleencoble).

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