My profession is writer and editor. For clients, I do grantwriting, edit ebooks and courses, ghostwrite blog posts, edit podcast scripts, and more.
Since I was a young child, it seemed that being a writer was my destiny. I loved to read–probably something I picked up from my dad. I always had my head in a book. I miss the days of being able to read all the time without any other worries. (Now, it’s difficult for me to focus when reading a book because I keep thinking about all the other things I need to get done.)
I think that many Highly Sensitive Persons are–or would like to be–writers. Especially those who are introverts. We find expressing ourselves in the written word to be freeing, exacting, thoughtful, and the preferred method of communication. With words I can paint a picture of what I’m feeling. I can take my time, think about what I want to say, and carefully select the right words.
On a flight, I once struck up a conversation with the person next to me. We discovered that we were both writers and “liked words”, and he suggested a game: we tried to think of words to stump the other person. Oh man, I was so on board with this game. Yes!!
We came upon a few words where we weren’t 100% confident about the definition. One of these was the word “pariah.” We both had slightly different ideas of what “pariah” meant. Both definitions were close to correct, but not totally. I found the nuanced difference about how we understood this word to be fascinating. It said something about each of us and how we’ve experienced and personally interpreted the word in the past.
As a writer, I am into words. I am fascinated by their meaning and etymology. I have a good time with a dictionary. Even more so, I am fascinated by fonts. I find it incredibly, superbly fascinating that simply looking at a font can make you feel a certain way. A certain slant, curve, spacing, or stylistic feature calls to mind a time frame, a style, or even an emotion. A font may strike you as “old-timey”, “serious”, “youthful”, or “futuristic”. A font that would look good on a website for a bank might not look good on an auto repair shop. We are surrounded by fonts but so rarely think about the thought and artistry that goes into them, and the people who create them.
Do you think of yourself as a writer? What do you like about writing? How do you feel about fonts?
photo credit: Ian Britton via flickr
I can totally relate! I feel like I obsess over details that other people take for granted. I love fonts but I have a hard time adding fonts or editing photos because it needs to be perfect. That’s why I love writing! It’s so freeing.
I am an HSP who has been a singer/songwriter/composer for over 50 years. When I found Dr. Elaine Arons website and took the test I was elated. To finally find out that I am not alone in my ‘HSPness’ was such a joy….and a relief. I am currently semi-retired and working part time in retail…fitting room only. I would so love to write on a part time basis from home. I have done some editing and enjoy that…and am good at it. Other possibilities? I stand for 4 hours and would like to get off my feet and give my knees a break…lol.
can you please make a podcast/article, how not to feel guilty after slashing out at a person… even if he/she deserve it…
Hi Kelly, your podcast is what made me finally aware of what an HSP is (me!) I hope to become a Patron soon. I am just a couple months in to learning about our trait. The experience has been enlightening and I’m finally starting to feel comfortable with what I am feeling. I now know that I am not always over reacting, but reacting.
I regards to this particular post, I have thought for a few years now that I would like to write. It’s been in my thoughts a lot. For years I have even collected antique typewriters. It’s a bit of an obsession. I’ve been trying to get up the courage to write something. I have lots of ideas for books and poems. Of course, I feel like I need to do it correctly LOL. I need to do research and feel like I am good enough before I can even begin. The perfectionist in me runs deep I guess. I’m in the architectural design field and I have been looking for a change. Perhaps this will be it. I guess it’s time to sit down and give it a try. Thanks Kelly, you have been very inspiring. Rob
Hi Rob, thanks so much for the kind words. I’m so glad you have found the podcast & blog helpful. I understand what you say about finding the courage to write. If I could offer any advice (not that you asked), I’d recommend to JUST DO IT! As perfectionists, and as people who feel nervous that our outputs won’t be “good enough”–think of it the opposite way. What if you are an EXCELLENT writer–you aren’t bad, but you are great! What if you discover your passion and a talent for writing? You will wish you had started sooner! What good does it do to wait for the “right” time?
Before I started the podcast, I did that exact thing. I thought I needed to research and it had to be perfect. I put it off weeks and weeks. Finally I said, I’m just recording this. I don’t care if it’s bad. If I don’t JUST DO IT, it will never get done. And it wasn’t bad! And I got a little better.
Another another thing–let’s say your writing is terrible! (which I highly doubt) What does it even matter?? If you enjoy doing it, then it’s good. 🙂
Hi Kelly! I LOVE your podcast and articles. This particular article speaks volumes to me as when I need to discuss something very important with my boss I’d much rather write it in a memo than discuss in person. I’ve had to overcome this preference when in meetings, but I still jot down notes to take in with me. I also prefer to communicate in general via email than telephone. While this seems a bit anti-social, I realize I prefer to receive an email from others as it gives me time to consider a situation rather than feeling I have to answer a question immediately. I suppose I think others may appreciate the same, but I know it isn’t always the case. Communication can be a difficult balance in the workplace, but it is doable. Thanks to the validation of your podcasts and suggestions and advice, I am learning to accept and embrace that my strong points will always be better made in writing!
Thanks for the lovely comment Cindy!! 🙂
Glad I found this site. I think I’m addicted already.
Hi, I too am highly sensitive. I had a traumatic childhood with abuse emotional, physical and sexual. I have had relationship issues with my 4 children since i never explained my sensitivities or told of my abuse. I have recently and what a huge weight lifted. We get along so much better and i am in a great relationship that is very understanding but it took over 30 years to get to where i am. I am usually in a good place but so much sets off my sensitivities at work and of course i carry the issues with me the rest of the day into waking me from sleep at night. I have been trying to find a niche i can be comfortable in. I believe writing may work for me. I have kept journals my whole life. I want to tell my story of abuse and the reactions to all actions in my life because of it. I just do not know where to begin, I want people to know from all the bad in my life i finally have that one person i craved in my life. A crush from 34 years ago. We dated on and off due to my reactions to other people actions and misunderstandings. Now that i have opened up and am honest with myself and others instead of hiding afraid of hurting others and so alone i want to share it with others. Being highly sensitive has many ups and downs. I also have a severe sensitivity to drugs of any kind. I struggle with any health issues or procedures. Thank you for the info. It is greatly appreciated.
Hi Lori, thank you so much for sharing!! Writing can be very therapeutic; it can feel difficult to start but I recommend just going for it! Don’t worry about if it is any good (that feeling can hold us back), just start writing and see what happens! 🙂 Be well!!
If I could make a living as a writer I absolutely would. I have no idea how to get started so that I can earn a living at this. I would like to take classes but live somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle so classes can be difficult (as well as paying for them). I have asked other writers for help but none seem to want to help me. I am fascinated with words, their origin, and languages. I am also fascinated with culture which is why I am nomadic and don’t do well in offices (they tend to lack culture). Writing for a living sounds so appealing to me I can hardly explain my desire for it, and yet, I run into dead ends all the time. I often write and share it with friends and they all tell me I should be a writer. I wish someone could help me. Even if I only got published once! Wait, I did have a poem published in a teen magazine 30 years ago and I got a free subscription out of it. So yeah, I wish someone could help me get published a second time.
Hi Penny, thanks for your comment. Are you interested in fiction or non-fiction writing? You may find some tips in this reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/introvert/comments/495xdj/do_you_want_to_be_a_writer_can_i_help_xpost_rhsp/
Why not start with a blog?
I’ve worked in an office 27 years. I am a magazine editor. In addition to enduring the annoyances you’ve outlined in other blogs about working in an office, am super sensitive to the appearance of page layouts and fonts, and I hate poor writing. Unfortunately, I do not have the final say as to how things look or regarding the writing before publication, as I’m not the head editor or publisher. It hurts so much to see ugly layouts and bad writing get printed. I am trying now not to care and focus only on what I can control. But it is so hard! I want to quit and start my own editing work at home, but have only 5 years before I can retire, so I keep telling myself I can make it. So few of my friends understand that I want to retire at the earliest possible opportunity, even if it means less Social Security money.
To answer your question about writing: I LOVE writing. I love it. I could do it all day. And regarding fonts: When I was a teen, I used to make up fonts, find fonts I liked, and generally would stare at different magazine fonts and try to figure why they created different feelings .
Hi Nora! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂
I’ve been a freelance writer for decades and much prefer writing to speaking! I’m also an HSP.
I loved this blog. I knew I was a HSP I just never put a name to it. Often attributing my reactions to being claustrophobic, but it never felt like the right word.
It’s like taking ten minutes to RSVP to dinner later in the day because you have to use just the right words.
A sweet intoxicating and elating feeling when you do finally send that message or email and its content conveys exactly what you feel.
I find that this affects the way we learn foreign language as well. Its not just translating and idea or thought you want the listener the words your saying in said language to elicit a certain feeling in the listener.
It is also quite difficult for us to control from ‘reading between’ the lines when we receive and email or message from someone.
Most definitely to all of that! I have often thought of being a writer, but I’d love to write the types of things I like to read and I don’t know if I could write that myself. So, I’ve recently thought of doing editing because I enjoy playing with words and making them sound better or paint a better/clearer picture. I am a storyteller by nature. I have a business coach who is always telling me how much she appreciates my storytelling (all I am doing is explaining myself – lol). When I teach body movement, I prefer to use visual cues to help my clients understand how to move.
I bet writing or editing would be a really good HSP profession (unless they were deadline heavy – I guess that could really mess it up for an HSP).
I’d like to comment on your statement ‘as Highly Sensitive People.. especially those who are introverts…..we find expressing ourselves in the written word our preferred method of communication.’ So true. I relate 100%. I’ve only had the opportunity to really read about the HSP trait on different websites for the past year despite discovering I am HSP, 7 years ago, but every time I read an article or blog I learn something new. I am thinking the preference for written communication may be connected to the fact that dialogue includes other people’s tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, volume of voice, emotions involved. And as HSPs we process all of this….and then to add our own desire to talk….too much stimulation! And I don’t know about anyone else, but I have an uncanny ability to hear what someone says with the words they speak, but also hear their attitude, which may or may not line up with the words they are speaking. This is very frustrating! Thank you for the blog. I will read more on this site.