Introverts on a Writing Retreat

By Julie Glover, Young Adult Author
2015 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist

I’m an introvert, through and through.

While some mistake introversion for shyness, it’s really about where you get your energy. Although I enjoy people and can be quite talkative, being among bunches of people for long periods of time tuckers me out. It’s like being a leaky air mattress, where you start out feeling completely full and slowly you deflate and deflate until you’re completely flat and have nothing left to give.

Now take this person and put her on a cruise ship that accommodates over 4,000. To an introvert, that sounds daunting.

But wait! Remember, I’m an introvert. And I absolutely loved my writing retreat with Cruising Writers in 2015. As long as you follow a few tips, you’ll love cruising too.

Pinpoint less-populated locations.

A cruise ship holds a lot of people, but it also spreads into a lot of space. Some areas are filled with people, but many places have only a handful. During the day, head over to the in-ship library or mostly empty bar and lounge areas which serve as great places to write.

You can also join us many afternoons in the conference center hallway during pitch times to work on your laptop or converse with a few friends. Head to restaurants and shopping areas during down times when others might be at the pool or a theatre. Calmer atmospheres definitely exist on ship, and you can find them with relative ease.

Plan for downtime.

With writers’ conferences generally, I’ve learned to take an hour or two away from the schedule and re-energize in my hotel room. However, I failed to follow this rule on my first writing cruise. One day, I finally reached my breaking point and ducked away from the activities to decompress in my quarters—leaving a couple of friends perplexed by my sudden disappearance.

But this year I’ll plan for that downtime. The Cruising Writers schedule allows opportunities for you to step away and soak in alone time—use it. It can seem strange to fellow extroverts when we turn down a social invitation for time alone, but you and I know even a short break can get us back on track and make us better company when we rejoin the group.

Make new friends.

Perhaps this sounds contradictory, but a close friend can be an anchor for an introvert in new territory or in a big crowd. Introverts aren’t necessarily loners; rather, they often enjoy smaller circles of friends. So make that small circle and get comfortable inside.

On a Cruising Writers writing retreat, you’ll meet your tribe—writers dedicated to improving their craft and supporting one another. Invest in building friendships, and when you’re dropped into a crowded situation (like the lines back onto the cruise ship after an excursion), you’ve got a buddy to hang onto whose presence helps you relax.

To be honest, my introversion was my biggest worry going on a cruise ship. I was concerned I’d feel trapped in this floating town for days and days. But you can easily make this a positive experience, both for yourself and for your writing career.

C’mon, introvert—I’ll be there too, and we can hang onto each other.