What makes a writer? Well, what makes a good writer? Certainly by now we should be able to identify the personality traits that good writers have. A quick look at E.B White’s The Elements of Style seems to indicate that one personality trait of a good writer is shyness. The Elements of Style envisions the perfect writing style as one that simultaneously hides and showcases ego. White makes the case that good writing should be able to strike a balance between intimacy and distance, revealing and hiding. A good writer knows how to give their opinion without saturating the page with it, or berating the reader for not coming to a similar conclusion.
If we follow White’s line of thinking, then it makes sense that people who are shy would make the best writers. Sometimes, it is difficult for people with quieter personalities to fully communicate their thoughts verbally. Shy writers are more aware than most of the complicated factors that are involved in all forms of communication. Writing gives them the opportunity to create, destroy, and recreate a sentence until all of the parts are aligned right. Shy writers understand they will not be able to prompt the reader to understand their work in person. The writer can’t accompany every piece with an audio clip breaking down every sentence and paragraph.
Writing is the way in which those who struggle with speech are able to speak. The shy among us do not fret that these words could be misunderstood, for they already know communication is flawed.
In all other forms of communication these misunderstandings can be cleared up in the moment. With writing, there are few opportunities for clarification and rarely is there a follow-up or moment for “second chances” once the published work is out there floating around in the world.
The shy person already has the ability to comb through their words and arrange them to their liking. When you really think about it this way, it’s no wonder shy people are better writers.
YouTube Channel: Ted-Ed
Featured image via Hercampus
h/t Daily Beast