If introverts commonly experience a “word problem,” it might seem strange, then, that they’re also known as talented writers.

Source: Why Is Writing Easier Than Speaking for Introverts? Here’s the Science

Many introverts are naturally gifted writers — so why do they clam up or draw a blank when speaking?

“Oh, I love podcasts!” I told the interviewer, who was recording me, unedited, as a guest on his podcast. “I listen to at least one every day.”

“That’s great!” the interviewer replied. “Which one is your favorite?”

“It’s uhh… ummm…”  I listened to that podcast every flippin’ day! Why couldn’t I think of its name?!

“It’s something by NPR… uhhhhh… ” I couldn’t produce the name until I quickly googled it. By that time, the conversation had moved on and the point I was trying to make died a very awkward, very public death.

Story of my life as an introvert.

It wasn’t the first time I’d drawn a blank under pressure. Job interviews and first dates are notoriously the worst. “Tell me about yourself” often results in me temporarily forgetting everything I’ve ever done with my life.

Even when the stakes are low, like in a casual conversation with a friend, I often need a few beats to think before speaking — and it’s not unusual for thoughts to swirl in my head that I simply don’t have the language to express.

Why are words so hard for introverts? Let’s take a look at the science.

Humans Mostly Think In Pictures, Not Words

To be clear, everyone forgets words or gets tongue-tied at times, even the most extroverted among us, for all kinds of reasons ranging from simple distraction to pregnancy brain. But one big, universal reason may come down to some ancient wiring: A recent Harvard study found that our species tends to prefer visual thinking to verbal thinking.

If you’ve ever heard someone describe themselves as a “visual thinker,” they mean they think in pictures, not words — which is actually very common. According to the Harvard scientists, this tendency appears to be ingrained in the most primitive parts of our brains, probably because language is overall a “recent” development for humans (you know, we started assigning different grunts to objects a mere 100,000 years ago).

Of course, those images we “see” in our minds need translation, if we’re going to get our message across to other hominid-like creatures. This takes focus and energy, and can be an inefficient process. To put it mildly, our brains are still playing evolutionary catch-up.

But that’s not the whole story when it comes to introverts.

Why Does It Seem Worse for Introverts?

If you’re an introvert like me, sometimes words seem, well, extra hard. Your “word problem” may even get you labeled as “quiet” or “shy,” when in reality, you have plenty to say. Sometimes it reflects negatively on us because we come across like we don’t know what we’re talking about, even though many introverts love learning and often become subject-matter experts in their chosen fields.

In a society that values fast and frequent talkers, it can be tough being an introvert.