Know Your Type, and Then Sit Down to Write

SAMSUNGWhat type of writer personality are you? Knowing your specific type can help you make significant progress on your novel or story. If you know what you are, you’ll have the key to how you work the best.

Based on the Jung Typology test each different personality type is assigned 4 letters. For instance, I’m an INFJ. That stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging. There are 16 types overall, but a significant portion of creative writers fall into the category of the Intuitive Feelers. Check out the creative writing types below and see if you can spot your personality:

INFP
Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving
INFPs are gentle souls and they are highly imaginative. They are also very skilled at connecting with others on deep emotional levels. Although they might not say much in groups, they have an eagle-eye for details about the character of people. One of their best strengths is the ability to flow like water. They can’t stand conflict because it goes against this natural tendency of flow, clogging their tubes and shutting them down.

Challenges
Because INFPs are so good at flowing with all of the unexpected surprises of the universe, they can be blocked by any linear method that forces them to work in a logical, straight line. Because they are gentle and bring a magical wonder to all they create, they do not do well in tense or competitive environments that demand assertiveness, like large critique groups or large creative writing classes. INFPs who haven’t learned self-acceptance will frequently feel that something is wrong with them or they’re just not doing things “right.”

Writing Strategy
INFP writers should give themselves permission to be themselves, gentle and flowing. They would do best working with a small group of encouraging, supportive writers. I have one INFP writer friend who writes the pieces of her novel out on index cards and then places the cards all over her apartment to get an idea of the order of her book. Because INFPs are so unique, they will most likely find that their writing strategy needs to be just as unconventional as their personality.

Fictional Character
Anne of Green Gables is an INFP

INFJ
Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging
INFJs are just as highly imaginative as INFPs, but with an added dose of intensity. They see patterns and connections between seemingly unrelated things on deep levels, and this specific kind of connection-making is what their brain does all the time. From the outside, it may appear they’re flowing like an INFP, but they’re always planning ten steps ahead. One of their best strengths is forecasting through their intuition, although they frequently have trouble explaining to others how they arrived at their conclusions.

Challenges
Because INFJs see so many possibilities at once, they also see dozens of possible obstacles. They do well working with logical methods—tackling timely assignments in order, following a to-do list—but if left to their own devices they can easily fall prey to perfectionism and overly critical self-judgment. Because they are so used to relying on their own intuition, it doesn’t come naturally to them to ask for outside help or guidance.

Writing Strategy
INFJ writers should find a trusted confidante who they can talk to about their writing, someone who is openhearted and emotionally supportive, but also realistic. Their writing confidante should be someone who is an excellent listener. Most INFJs are used to always listening to other people, but the chance for them to talk about their own writing ideas out loud is invaluable. They would do well to find another writer who is an ENFJ, as these two types mesh very well in creative endeavors.

Fictional Character
Laurie Laurence from Little Women is an INFJ

ENFJ
Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging
ENFJs are passionate and playful. The name of their game is Engagement. They want to be engaged with the person in front of them, and they want to be engaged with the world right now. Like INFPs and INFJs, they are imaginative and intuitive, but they’re also practical. They are very good at figuring out what makes people tick. They also usually wear their heart on their sleeve.

Challenges
ENFJs need some alone time to fuel their creativity, but they can get a little depressed with too much solitude. And when they’re stressed, they can get extremely critical and short-tempered. They tend to have very high standards for their work and so if they are feeling critical, that criticism is usually targeted inward at themselves.

Writing Strategy
ENFJs do beautifully in writing groups. They thrive on making inspiring connections with others and their writing really benefits from the chance they get to talk about it out loud. If an ENFJ is feeling blocked in any way, the first thing they should do is sit down with another writer who will ask them questions about their characters. They love getting inside their characters’ heads and discovering the juicy events that lead up to the decisions those characters make. ENFJs should definitely join a reading circle if they have the chance.

Fictional Character
Charles Darnay from Tale of Two Cites is an ENFJ

ENFP
Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving
ENFPs are like gorgeous wild parrots. They will dazzle you with their colorful beauty but then quite possibly disappear into the trees on you. They live to experience life to the fullest—eccentric people, exotic locales, interesting food—these are the things that fuel the ENFP engine. But because they pursue so much variety in life so intensely, they need downtime periodically to process it all. It surprises a lot of people when the ENFP goes into withdrawal mode, because in public the ENFP seems to be an Energizer Bunny.

Challenges
If ENFP writers don’t get the quiet alone time they need, they will get super stressed. A stressed-out ENFP can have a major meltdown about something minor and go from Energizer Bunny to exploding volcano in about five minutes flat. On the flip side, if they’re forced into a routine that’s boring, mundane and repetitive, they can also lose their shit.

Writing Strategy
ENFPs need a schedule that includes outside variety and inner quiet time. They should seek out music, people, food, and opportunities that really stimulate them, but also schedule time to themselves when they can chill out and just read a book or watch movies alone. They would do well to carry a journal with them at all times to takes notes on all the colorful people and places they meet on their adventures.

Fictional Character
Edmond Dantes from Count of Monte Cristo is an ENFP.

INTJ
Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging
INTJs are actually Intuitive Thinkers (instead of Feelers) and they’re the only Intuitive Thinkers included on this list. INTJs are primarily rational and logical, but like the INFJ, they can hone in on all kinds of patterns and predictions based on their intuition. Because their intuition is so strong, they rarely question it, and so they’re one of the few Thinking types that listen to their intuition first, and then logic second. Due to this unique pairing of logic and intuition, INTJs are capable of writing great works like novels and stories, and also brilliant nonfiction books in fields like history, business, and economics.

Challenges
INTJs tend to think they’re always right. It is true, they are right an extraordinary amount of the time. But they’re only human and so sometimes their calculations are just the tiniest bit off, and then they’re, well…wrong. But INTJs are famously stubborn and they have a hard time seeing the (only sometimes) error of their ways.

Writing Strategy
Like all of us, INTJs can always benefit from outside feedback on their work. But because of the brilliance of their INTJ brains they would do best if they sought feedback from an expert whenever possible. INTJs respect knowledge and competence, and little else. If they’re getting feedback from someone highly competent in their field, it’s likely they’ll listen and benefit from it.

Fictional Character
Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice is an INTJ

If you’re interested to find out your type and how you can use it to do your best writing, you can take the test here. And if you want to know all the fictional characters Huffington Post labeled by type you can find the full article here.

And if you’re interested in learning more about writers according to type and how we work check out my book:

The INFJ Writer

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