Is introversion a prerequisite to creativity?

Just in case any of you believe that writing a decent blog post weekly is easy, allow me to dispel this notion.  When I have an idea brewing or an obvious story to tell, it is less difficult.  When I’m emotionally unsettled or my subconscious is working through something, it rises to the surface of the page pretty quickly.
The writer’s block emerges when I’m happy.  When I feel balanced and social and engaged with my job and friendships, and rummage around my heart and mind for an idea, I find nothing but stale air. It’s as if my muse (the little bitch) is trying to punish me for abandoning her.
When I was writing my novel, I sentenced myself to solitary confinement. Solitude breeds creativity, and while those dark evenings were somber and lonely (my “emotional playlist” of 100 sad sad songs didn’t help), I was able to connect to my inner voice – my inner life.  It was a tough choice to say no to socializing, and yes to putting words on a page, but it was never a question of whether I should.
I enjoyed this time, and crave it too. My mother says I was like this as a child, evidenced by Super-8 films (yes, it was a long time ago) of birthday parties (my own) where I’d be playing quietly in a corner alone, away from my chatty little friends.  I am the middle child, the black sheep if you will, and had always considered myself an introvert.
There was a wonderful article in the NYT a few weeks ago about shyness and whether introversion is an evolutionary tactic, but mostly it outlines the differences between extroverts (“rovers”) and introverts (“sitters”).  “….many of the most creative people in a range of fields are introverts who are comfortable working in solitary conditions in which they can focus attention inward. Steve Wozniak, the engineer who founded Apple with Steve Jobs….describes his creative process as an exercise in solitude. “Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me… they’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone.”
For anyone who has undergone the writing process, the above is not a revelation. It is a prerequisite.
So it’s not a wonder that the writer in me is coming up blank lately. I don’t think I’m ignoring my emotions, but I am decidedly (and happily) in extrovert mode. My new job has brought it out in me. The introvert in me would have never thought I’d work in sales, be decent at it, let alone enjoy it. But in the last few months, and especially the last two weeks, I’ve been meeting many interesting people, forging new friendships, and planning events.
And loving it.
But then where does the writing mindset, the drive to sit down alone and write, fit in? Do we have to be reclusive, or emotionally off kilter, to be able to write? Or write well? Can one be both an extrovert and an introvert, and manage to excel and find fulfillment in both spaces?
I’m guessing it all comes down to the yin and yang of life. Because if you’re not a curious person, curious about the world, people, or ideas – and you don’t seek to explore what makes it all tick or to connect with others – then what in the world would you have to write about?

Step away from the iPhone. Daydream instead.

The Atlantic magazine has a bunch of interesting ideas in this month’s “Ideas of the Year” issue (go figure).  Walter Kirn (Author of Up in the Air) writes about how boredom – a condition we detest and run from – has become extinct. Thanks to technology (the iPad, the iPhone, Twitter etc), we are offered up distractions that save us from ever having to be bored again. But perhaps it has robbed us of daydreaming, and in turn, creativity. I’ll bet that when writers, musicians, artists, think back on where and when they came up with their favorite chapter or lyric, it was when they were bored. Or when their phone died or had no signal. They had nothing to do. Nothing to distract them, but the thoughts in their head.  Which is why almost every author will tell you that they generate most of their ideas in the shower. Or while driving. Or in the subway (which incidentally, is where I came up with the idea for this blog).
I don’t have an iPhone, an iPad, or any “I’s” that allow me to over-indulge my impulses (an iPod doesn’t count). My Blackberry (texting and bbm), is distracting enough (although I am guilty of an i-chat addiction). I don’t really watch TV, and now I realize why.  It’s because it tempts my thoughts away from co-mingling with one another. They’re better off staying where they are: in a mixed up daydreaming stew.
This reminds me of how my teachers (oh I dreaded my report card) complained that I was a “daydreamer.” To their chagrin, my notebooks, rather than containing transcriptions of that day’s lessons, were littered with “doodles.” Intricate graphic illustrations of connecting lines and shapes. I didn’t draw these deliberately. A whole hour would go by before the bell would ring and I’d lift my head up to see pages filled with these designs. Looking back, I think these doodles were my daydreams, mapped out on paper. To decode them would be impossible, but all I know is that I’d be doing myself a disservice stemming their flow.  I stopped doodling and daydreaming for over a decade in my twenties, and the creative repercussions of that lost time are evident to me.  I wonder, are kids today scolded for daydreaming? For not paying attention? Is commanding your mind to train on one thing, although it has its advantages (learning, sharpening the mind etc), have its disadvantages too? Does it take over the space we have set aside to daydream and to create?
I wonder if one day we will look back on this day and age and discover that we we’ve lost a certain kind of artist. I’m not saying that new and amazing things aren’t being born out of technology. They certainly are. But it’s up to the individual artist now to actively choose that space to write in – free of distractions, free of wi-fi. Whether it means choosing an internet-free café to write in (no matter how tempting the couches and Facebook are in the internet café next door), or choosing to ride the subway all day. Or running up your water bill by taking ten showers instead of two. 
That is, until they create waterproof iPads you can take into the shower with you. And then we’ll have to go somewhere else in pursuit of that inspiring condition we call boredom.