In the latest edition of Interviews with Introverts, I chat with Yong Kang Chan, from Nerdy Creator. Through this interview, you’ll learn how writing and blogging have helped him to develop as a creative and an individual.
The birth of the internet has been one of the biggest blessings to introverts. It has provided us with a space to create and share from the comfort of home. But more powerfully, it has paved avenues to connect with others who are like us.
Since I started blogging, I’ve had the joy of connecting with many bright, interesting, and kind introverts. Every one of those individuals has enriched my life and has encouraged me to continue sharing my work—even on the days when the world feels extra noisy.
I stumbled across Yong Kang’s site, Nerdy Creator, when searching for book reviews, and immediately connected with his story, and approach to sharing creatively online. He graciously agreed to be interviewed and I’m so delighted to share it with you.
Interviews with Introverts: Yong Kang Chan, from Nerdy Creator
What were some of the challenges you faced in childhood before understanding introversion?
Before understanding introversion, one of the biggest challenges I had in childhood was low self-esteem. I enjoy being alone. When I started school, I used to think there’s something wrong with me because I noticed that I’m rather different from the other boys in school. My classmates were always running around, teasing each other. They like to hang out in groups.
But I prefer to go to the library and find a quiet corner to read my books or think about stuff. I feel more comfortable having one-on-one conversations with others and I don’t necessarily want to be around people all the time. People often think I’m aloof, boring, shy or I have no opinions at all. So I felt misunderstood and lonely growing up.
What led you to discover that you were an introvert?
I knew I was an introvert when I did the official MBTI test in junior college. I still kept the booklet, Introduction to Type, with me. I scored very high in the introversion section. When I read about introversion, I’m like “This is me! You mean that there are other people who are like me?”
What motivated you to begin sharing your journey online?
I used to be very private. I wrote to myself but I didn’t share much with others. Back in 2013, I took a part-time course in animation and our school encouraged us to write about our animation assignments and progress. I soon realized that I wrote more about how doing animation relates to my life than the actual assignment itself.
Friends started reading my blog posts and found them to be interesting and helpful. So I continued to share my perspective and later, the blog just went in a whole different direction because of how my life evolves.
Sharing online and supporting a community can feel draining and overwhelming. How do you manage your energy so that you are able to show up consistently?
As much as possible, I let my audience grow organically. I don’t update or check my social media regularly. I focus more on important tasks like writing content and leverage systems to bring in traffic. Communication-wise, even though I prefer intimate, one-to-one conversations, I started to shift my communication to one-to-many.
I write emails and check in with my community once a month and answer any questions they have via video. I switched off blog comments, so I don’t have to reply to others so much. I find it easier to align my work with my personality and not follow what everyone else is doing.
The truth is, the thought of building a community overwhelmed me and I know I’m not the best person for this job. It’s not one of my strengths. When the community gets too big for me to handle, I would probably find someone else to take over the role of nurturing the community.
In what ways do you think introverts are at an advantage?
We reflect more than we act. It’s actually both an advantage and disadvantage. So introverts tend to be less impulsive, we think things through deeply before we say or act. But at the same time, we are more likely to procrastinate and get into an analysis-paralysis. So we might not execute our ideas.
Then, when it comes to the current pandemic, we definitely have an easier time coping with lockdowns and staying at home.
What are your favorite ways to practice creativity?
Writing and getting inspiration from books, music, movies, and the environment. Right now, I am learning more about music production. Music always has a special place in my heart because you can convey nuances that words can’t. Oh yes, if something frustrates me, that is a good opportunity for me to find a better way of doing things. That is also a way to practice creativity.
Are there any habits or rituals that help you to stay centered?
Meditation every morning is a must! Taking mindfulness breaks just to focus on the breath or the surrounding helps me to stay present too. Lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling blankly works for me too. I used to go for walks in nature but have been doing less lately due to the pandemic.
Can you share some of the resources, tools, or books that have best helped you on your journey?
If you want to learn more about yourself, definitely check out Enneagram books. I feel it’s a more meaningful personality system than MBTI. It talks about your motivation, fears, and desires, which is good for both spiritual and personal growth.
Please tell us a bit about the books you’ve written and how they can help introverts to grow and thrive.
I’ve written six books so far. You can check them out here. Introverts tend to spend a lot of our time in our inner world but this also means that we might have a very noisy mind that we can’t stop.
My books are mainly about self-compassion and mindfulness. If you have a critical mind, have low self-esteem, or want to be more at peace, my books will help you change your perspective.
I hope that you enjoyed getting to know Yong Kang in this Interviews with Introverts segment and that his story has inspired you to lean fully into your uniqueness. If you are a creative introvert navigating the waters of the internet, please be sure to grab the special video guide I created for you, below.
Opening photo from Stocklane