The Two Faces of a Writer

I was asked a question this week which made me think for days about the nature of a writer. 

I was teaching media careers at Queen Elizabeth's Academy in Crediton, mid Devon - 


(The Car Windscreen Question refers to the faces you see in a traffic queue in the morning - how many of them actually enjoy their jobs? Which is why a good career is such a wonderful gift.)

It was a great session, with some really informed and fun students, which was reflected in the questions I was asked at the end. 

The one which really struck me was - are you an extrovert or introvert? 

I'd been talking about the need to think hard about what you say and write, to make sure it's insightful, true and fair. But also the need to reach out and communicate it, with energy and passion. 

The answer I've come up with is that I'm more naturally an introvert. I'm probably happiest sitting alone, at home or in a bar or on a sunny riverbank, just thinking. 

But to be a success as a writer, as in so many fields, you have to do the extrovert bit, too. 

And I do that by adopting a second personality. It almost hangs in my wardrobe, ready to be put on when needed. 

It's my bright and shiny public perfomance suit. 

It seems to fit fine, even if I wasn't comfortable wearing it at first.

But I've got used to it, and can slip it on at will these days, even if it's always a relief to take it off again afterwards.