I work on a communications team, but I am not one of the writers. I do spend most of my day writing but not in the creative way I prefer. Today our team went to a story writer’s class or workshop – defining it is difficult for me. 

The content was fantastic. It had me looking at things from a different perspective. I learned some new things, was reminded of some other things and enjoyed the lessons. I found the in-class work difficult. It isn’t easy for me to write in a room filled with chatter. I can’t concentrate. The gang at my table were chatty, not focused and would sing under their breath. I get their learning style is different from mine, so I finally left to go into the hallway to focus.  I was able to write and enjoyed the quiet. I wasn’t the only one out there. I have another pal who is introverted and needs quiet to work. We sat side by side tapping away. I loved it. 

At the lunch break, I stepped into the hall again for some quiet. It has been my experience that when I close my eyes, people will let you be. I work with some very caring people. Everyone touched my arm and asked if I was okay. When I explained I just need some quiet recharge time, they sat to chat. Completely missing the point of needing quiet to recharge. 

Sometimes I go to my car at lunch and just sit in the sunshine in quiet stillness. A co-worker saw me and invited me to join her for lunch in the cafeteria. I explained I like the quiet and she said, “but that’s so sad”.  Another group of people talked excitedly about the Christmas party and how fun it will be. To me, a party is the least fun thing on my list of fun things to do. All things introverts do not enjoy.

My favourite things are often alone things, or along things with my dog. I go to the art gallery alone. I walk in the valley alone with my dog. I love a good road trip alone. I drove all the way to San Francisco alone. I have been to the movies alone and I love to sit on a bench and watch the world go by….alone. 

There is a misconception that introverts are shy. I am the least shy person I know. I can engage in conversations, discuss a multitude of topics, laugh and joke around, even talk to strangers, but the more I do that, the more tired I feel. My energy depletes around people. I then take time to sit in quiet, sometimes I read or listen to a podcast, sometimes I meditate or draw, sometimes I like to sit with a friend and enjoy listening. These things recharge me. I do realize I am a minority. 

The year my dad and I ran the Calgary Marathon, we drove down with my son and we rented a suite. It had two bedrooms, a kitchen and living room. After a day of spending it with people, we decided this was the perfect hotel room for three introverts. We each went to a room and did quiet things alone until dinner. Then we were recharged enough to socialize.

After the loud and energetic session today, I came down to my office and put my headphones on. There isn’t sound that comes from them, but I like the cozy feeling they give plus the added benefit that people don’t think I can hear them when I wear them. My family understands I need alone time. I think that’s why I love my dog so much. He is also an introvert. He will play and socialize a few minutes a day, but then he rather you sit quietly with him. If you aren’t quiet, he will leave to the sanctuary of my closet where he can sit in peace. 

It was a very busy day but sometimes these kinds of days are important to remind me how great it feels to sit alone. 

Robyn Engel, Author


When I was little I was a story creator. Not a teller, not a writer, a story creator. My imagination conjured up events so amazing they needed to be acted out. Danger Girl was born.

When I was a teacher, I was a story teller. I could conjure up amazing images and have my students mesmerized about bad birthday cats and the trouble they got into. I was a story teller. The Birthday Cat was born.

When I became broken, I created through fibre arts. It helped to heal me but it wasn’t enough. The fibre arts got left behind but filled my home with a multitude of quits. Star Gazer was born.

When I was healing myself I became a writer and wrote long epic tales about my childhood. Then they became a collection of short stories. It was my first book or collection. It sits in my memory stick waiting for me to do something with it. I just might keep them as short stories or turn them into a picture book adventure series. These will wait until I am ready.

When I felt stronger and more sure of who I am, I wrote a book about a woman who might have been me who was married to a man who might have been my ex-husband. It is raw, ugly and angry. I don’t think it is finished. It sits in my memory stick waiting for me to bring it out of its raw state and love it enough to make it a novel. I am not ready yet to give it the love it deserves. So it waits.

When I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, I wrote a story about a women and her mother and their relationship. They explore changing health and deep family ties and a strong love for each other in spite of their differences. It might also be me but it is also other strong women I know. It sits waiting to come alive. The beginning and the end is finished the middle is working its way to complete. It has a life of its own. This one will be great. This one will try to be published. This one is my opus.

Today I finished a story 76 pages long with 38080 words. It needs to be edited and possibly have rewrites. It is raw and emotional and is for my friend who did an amazing thing. I gave it to him to do with what he wants. It might become more and it might not. Either way, I told the story.

I may not be a published author, but I have now written 3 books, 2 are novels and one is a collection of short stories. The fourth book will be along shortly. I think this makes me an author. An author is broadly defined as “the person who originated or gave existence to anything” and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work and can also be described as a writer.

I amaze myself. I was never one who finished things or completed goals. I always too frighten to complete anything of meaning. I continue to doubt and sabotage myself in an effort to feel like a failure or something less than my potential. Yet there is something lately that pulls me forward and doesn’t allow me to quit. I have created something more than I ever have before. I have created something that goes deeper for me. I may be a lot of unpleasant things.

But today I am an author.


NaNoWrMo – That’s right, I said it…

My Life Coach and I have been talking about finding me a goal or a challenge that is not food or fitness related. The purpose is to find every day joy and meaning in life and activities without the drive and commitment of my goals. Something fun to enable me to  to let loose. The problem is, I am quite driven and focused. These are not optimal conditions for “Letting Loose”.  It has been a struggle to find the balance between play and intellect. Both of those things are fun for me. I think I found it!

Over on the WordPress Dashboard there was discussion about NaNoWrMo. That sounded like camp to me and Camp was fun! So I took a peek. NaNoWrMo is a 30 day challenge to write a book. We are not talking about a Pulitzer Prize or a Booker Award, but someplace to let my ideas run free without the restriction of knowing I may hurt someone’s feelings as I blog, or adhere to the rule about never write down stuff that may come back to haunt you. In Novel format, I can write to my hearts content, play out scenarios between my characters and choose to share or not the contents of my pages. Of course i am fantasizing about my book being brilliant and being snapped up for publication, but the real truth of the matter is, I am more grounded when I write.

I do know I have many readers who are aspiring writers themselves…kind of why we are here! I invite you to take a look and join the challenge with me. Who knows what will come out of it in 30 days? One thing is for sure, it is something new, and I am all about trying out new things right now.