Introverts Guide to Being Stuck Home with all the Family

There’s been an unexpected complication to all this social distancing and working from home. Whereas last week I covered how all you extroverts might find ways to survive being away from groups of people, this week I realized us introverts might be struggling as well. Suddenly, that time we used to have to ourselves is gone. All the times where we used to be able to send kids off to go play or attend classes have vanished. For some of us, we are now homeschooling for the first time ever.

It’s a big change and I’m feeling it far more than I expected I would. I expect many of you are the same. As an introvert, I refuel in the somber silence of my home turf and my cozy spots. Most weeks, my system works wonderfully. There were times of the day where I knew the house would be empty and quiet and I used this time to find my center again – that, and actually get some work done.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having my family at home. But with them here ALL THE TIME those chances to find a little peace and quiet have been ripped away. After five days of it, it’s the closest I’ve come to having a full on panic attack in years because I wasn’t doing a good job of taking care of my needs.

Because having the family at home is like a party that never ends. And you’re the hostess. And everyone is hungry.
Photo by Miguel Teirlinck on Unsplash

This is for all of you introverts out there who are struggling to find balance with all this change.

Mark your territory

Everyone needs a spot where they feel safe and able to relax, introverts especially so. Be intentional in choosing yours. It may be a chair, it might be your side of the bed, it might be a home office or a large beanbag. Remind yourself that it is your safe and quiet place where you can recharge, even if there are other people around. Keep a pair of headphones nearby and some great music ready for when you need to take a few moments and recenter. By being intentional with this space, you can train yourself to associate it with peace and a sense of well-being.

Redefine what your “you” time looks like

Change means compromise. The way you’ve always done something might not be possible with the whole family stuck in the house with you. If you’ve always taken a shower the second everyone leaves the house, you might find yourself frustrated because no one is going anywhere. You might need to wake a touch earlier to ensure a peaceful experience. If that’s not an option, search out ways to make those moments you used to enjoy in silence special. Light a candle. Indulge in special treat. Turn on your favorite songs.

Communicate clearly

There will be people in your life that just can’t understand why your “you” time is so important. If you find yourself getting anxious, tired, or upset more easily because you can’t find a good balance between being around people and being alone, you need to be able to share this with the people around you. If you don’t they might start assuming things that aren’t necessarily true. Start with the obvious. “I’m having a hard time always being around everyone this much.” Then, work towards asking for help getting what you need. “What would really help is having an hour to just read without interruptions.”

Stay in tune with your brain fairies

Things won’t be perfect. There will probably not be as much quiet alone time as you really need. This is where it’s critical to stay in tune with what your brain and body are telling you and coming up with methods that work for you to maintain your cool. If you are feeling anxious, practice a breathing exercise. If you need quiet, go take a walk. Having a plan will give you the tools you need when things start getting overwhelming.

Be gracious with yourself

Above all, this is most definitely not the time to beat yourself up about anything. Being frustrated and anxious because there is change is normal. Allow yourself to feel all of this while telling yourself that this is a normal response to what is happening. Let these cues help you make the right decision for what you need to do to take care of your needs. Pretending everything is fine when you are secretly falling apart, will only hurt you in the long run.

This looks really nice… Totally doing this somewhere once the weather cooperates.
Photo by Unsplash on Unsplash

You’ve got this

We’ve all dealt with big changes before and survived. We’ve gotten married, separated, started a new job, changed schools, and lost people dear to us. Sometimes adapting to a big change takes a while. Things might not be comfortable for a while and that’s okay. In the end, with patience and introspection we figured things out, just as we will figure things out in our current situation. The sooner you can accept this new normal and find ways to make things work for your unique needs, the faster you will start feeling more centered and at ease.

Check it out, free reads!

Robin Glassey, a friend and fellow author gave me this heads up about some free science fiction and fantasy ebooks that are available for a limited time.

Click here to see all the books offered

Click here to go straight to Robin’s freebie

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Assembling a Cyberpunk Heist Team by Jodi L. Milner

My buddy James and I did a super entertaining blog swap. He asked me to stretch out of my writing comfort zone and write a cyberpunk “how to” article. Here’s what I came up with. Be sure to like and follow James at his blog. 🙂

James Wymore

As part of a blog swap (see my last post), Jodi L. Milner wrote these fun instructions, which I think you’ll enjoy.

Assembling your Cyberpunk Heist Team

By Jodi L Milner

Listen, if you’re reading this you are already up to no good. Kudos. I like your moxi. Chances are you’ve got plans, big ones, the kind that needs cash. We’re not talking about rummaging up enough coins to sleep in a real bed, that’s nothing. If you take my advice, you’ll never have to sleep on a pile of cardboard again.

We’re talking credits. Those penthouse-dwelling corporate yes-men got ‘em. You need ‘em.  The cybernetic enhancements you want won’t pay for themselves, and without ‘em you might as well start selling your brain space to the highest bidder.

To pull off a successful heist, you need a team.

The Mastermind – That’s you, sweetheart. Someone must know what’s really…

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Writing Fresh

If your writing isn't as fresh as this orange, you better read this.

If your writing isn’t as fresh as this orange you better read this.

It’s writing Wednesday and today we are going to talk about writing fresh. Each writing conference I attend teaches me something new and sometimes these lessons profoundly change the way I think about writing. At this month’s LDStorymakers writing conference one of the most influential lessons I took to heart was also one of the simplest.

Write Fresh.

This idea was discussed by several presenters including the evening keynote Martine Leavitt. She spoke about her writing journey and how at times her life was so hectic that often her writing goal for the day was to write one perfect sentence that had never been written before.

Margie Lawson shared the same idea in her deep editing intensive workshops. She added ideas about how to use enhanced description and literary devices to keep the writing alive and also to make a greater emotional impact.

Both spoke at length about creating ideas and thoughts that hadn’t been seen before, about writing fresh.

The best way to learn about it is to try it. Let’s take a bland example and see if we can freshen it up a bit.

“Blake faced the gate and waited for the guard to let him through. He hated this place. It was ugly and smelled. If it wasn’t for the old crone, he wouldn’t bother coming. Somewhere in her addled head, she held the last clue to the resting place of his father.”

This example doesn’t let us feel what Blake is feeling, it simply tells us he hates the place. We know why he’s there, he is seeking his father’s body, but we don’t really care. Descriptions are minimal. We know he thinks the old crone is crazy, but that’s about it.

Let’s take the phrase “He hated the place” and let it sing. This seems like a perfect place to add a splash of backstory.

“Blake faced the gate and waited for the guard to let him through. The king’s dungeon brought back memories of dark nights in a cell not knowing whether he would live to see the sun. It was ugly and smelled. If it wasn’t for the old crone, he wouldn’t bother coming. Somewhere in her addled head, she held the last clue to the resting place of his father.”

Now the phrase “It was ugly and smelled” feels even more awkward and out of place. Not to mention that it gives the reader nothing to imagine. Let’s fix that. I think an alliteration would be nice here.

“Blake faced the gate and waited for the guard to let him through. The king’s dungeon brought back memories of dark nights in a cell not knowing whether he would live to see the sun. The smell of sweat and suffering oozed from the iron grates set in the ground. If it wasn’t for the old crone, he wouldn’t bother coming. Somewhere in her addled head, she held the last clue to the resting place of his father.”

I’m not crazy about the first sentence. If this was the opening page of a book I’d want it to have a stronger hook. It should instantly make the reader start asking questions.  I think the best way to handle this is to mix up some of the ideas of the first two sentences. Also, this would be a good place to add some sort of internal reaction.

“Blake faced the gate that led to the king’s dungeon and waited for the guard to let him through. The sight made him shiver and brought back memories of dark nights in a cell not knowing whether he would live to see the sun. The smell of sweat and suffering oozed from the iron grates set in the ground. If it wasn’t for the old crone, he wouldn’t bother coming. Somewhere in her addled head, she held the last clue to the resting place of his father.”

Only thirty-six words were added to change the somewhat dry original text to something far more interesting. Is it the most perfect example of adding fresh ideas? Nope. I’m not perfect and I pulled this example from the air. You could probably do much better.

In fact…

If you were to edit this text how would you have done it? What would you change first? What would you add? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Keep it fresh people, and as always,

Happy Writing!

The Introvert’s Survival Guide to the Holidays

Image courtesy of cescassawin at

Image courtesy of cescassawin at

Dear introverts of the world (you know who you are),

This time of year with its festive atmosphere and required attendance to social events, brings its own set of challenges. Holiday events almost always include crowds, noise, late hours, and interacting with strangers.  For an introvert these extra demands are a source of anxiety and stress.  Even for those who consider themselves people people can find the demands placed on them this season exhausting.

Here’s a few tips and pointers to help introverts, and those who love them, survive the season.

  1. Don’t overbook – There are parties and events that you will be required to attend, such as work and family parties.   Then there are all of the other events – concerts, shopping, caroling, and you name it.  Make sure that for every night out on the town there are at least one or two quiet evenings at home to recharge.
  2. Plan “me” time into each day – It is important for you as an introvert to feel like you’ve had time to enjoy your favorite activities.  This doesn’t have to be long, even a half an hour a day where you know you won’t be interrupted can be enough to feel more centered.
  3. Make the best of situations – Chances are you will have to be somewhere that you might not want to go.  Before you begin, take a few moments to find three positive things about the event.  This will force your brain to find what you like about the event and then you will have a focus.  Your positives might be, free food, good music, and spending time with friends.  During the event then you need to make sure to enjoy those three things.
  4. Become a conversation guru – At social events you will be surrounded by people, many of which will not know how to hold a conversation. Don’t be one of them. One of the greatest myths about introverts is that we don’t like talking to strangers.  This isn’t true.  We just don’t like making inane small talk.  Get us talking about something we are interested in and we won’t shut up. On the same note, one of the easiest ways to get a good conversation going is to make someone else talk about something they are passionate about.  Ask questions.  Find things that you have in common.  
  5. Prioritize what’s really important – There are different events that hold special significance to everyone.  It is important that these things take precedence above other events. If it’s important to sing carols around the tree with cocoa and family, make sure it happens.  If you can’t feel the holiday spirit without making a drive out to Grandma’s, put it on the calendar.  
  6. Enlist backup – Whatever you do, if you are going to any social event, try not to go alone.  Having a significant other or dear friend along for the ride will ease some of the anxiety of being in uncomfortable places. If anything, they will give you someone to laugh with and talk to that understands.

While the holiday season can be full of uncomfortable moments for an introvert, there are also plenty of opportunities to make great memories and build traditions that will last for years to come.

Here’s wishing all of you a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a fabulous New Year!