Maneuvering The Art World As An Introvert

There is a pivotal moment every creative introvert experiences after lingering at the possibility of being the only audience of your own work. 

You’re too afraid to take that leap of faith and to put yourself out there– leading you to think that maybe your work isn’t something to show everyone. People don’t get it. It took you 3 days to decide whether or not to post that cover on YouTube and it took an awful lot of courage for you to finally show your peers the poetry you’ve been stashing in secret for all these years.

Still, introverts are somewhat romanticised in films. You often come across quirky, eccentric and closed-off characters that manage to find the yellow brick road to ‘success’. As an introvert, you can’t help but wonder, will I ever make it, and are my introverted traits holding me back?

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Mukhsin (2007)

The road to ‘making it’ on the other hand, is not as straightforward nor does it involve brightly coloured brick roads. In fact, the journey can be quite a grey and frustrating escapade. Putting our art out there is the hardest part for most people– introverted or not. That thick wall of intimidation and fear of judgement is what stops the majority of us from showcasing our hidden passions to the world.

It is also this fear that prevents us from being like the people we look up to. Our favourite authors, artists, actors, singers and comedians have no doubt had to deal with this numbing fear. Awang Goneng didn’t shy away from sharing stories of his beloved Trengganu and has ended up with multiple books that many people hold dear to their hearts.

Everyone experiences this fear and intimidation at first, but keep in mind that when you put your work out there, you’re only contributing to a wider pool of creative work, making your art an insignificant addition to the great gallery of poems, songs and talent out there. Maybe with this in mind, the fear will cease and if you truly are proud of your work and think it’s time to share it with the rest of the world, do it. A wise Anwar Hadi gave this advice in one of the Buah Mulut podcasts once.

Amélie (2001)

Often times, introverts feel the need to change themselves and be more outgoing but we have it all wrong. The key to unlocking your potential is not to suppress the timid introvert in you, but to realise the strengths that can be found in being introverted.

If you’ve been looking for a sign to put your art out there, this is it. Go and audition for that role, pick up that mic and sing your heart out and most importantly, do what your heart tells you (without being rash about it, of course). Your introversion is not a disability. Use it to your advantage– make it your muse, not your cage.

In a gentle way you can shake the world -Mahatma Gandhi

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