For those of you who regularly read this blog you might know that I’m into the Myers Briggs personality type stuff. However, I also know that some people really don’t like it. They either consider it a scam, or they’re bored by it, or they don’t want to be categorized by the “type” of personality they are supposed to be.
Regardless of how you personally feel about the system, it does offer an essential human truth from which everyone can benefit:
Things are going to go a lot better for you in life if you embrace who you are instead of fighting it.
Successful writers already know this.
For instance, I have a friend who is loud, spontaneous, extremely extroverted, and who loves to joke around. He told me the other day that he thinks he needs to “tone down” his personality because he sometimes has trouble fitting in. This was a great eye-opener for me because I’m an introvert. I always feel like I’m the one who has trouble fitting in because I have a hard time talking in groups and when I do say something it’s usually something weird.
I gave my friend the best advice I could. I told him to keep being himself.
When we try to go against our own natural grain it doesn’t work. We might get through a day or two, or maybe even a whole week, of faking being something we are totally not. But sooner or later, the person we really are will leak through again. This holds true for the way we write too.
Instead of devoting our energy to plugging the leaks, things will go much better for us if we direct our energy into embracing the flow.
Of course, we all have the potential to develop different skills and accomplish things we would never have expected out of ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we have to change the core of who we are. Let’s look at my friend again, as an example. He’s never going to be the quiet introvert who can’t wait to get away from the party. But he can work on developing his communication skills so that he has an easier time of knowing when his brazen jokes will be appreciated, and when they won’t.
The more you embrace yourself for who you are—even the parts of yourself that you find highly inconvenient at times—the more success you will experience in developing your creative gifts.
When you acknowledge that you thrive on order and planning, you’ll give yourself the freedom to plot your entire book with index cards and outlines before you begin. Or, you might finally recognize that you’re the exact opposite and that too detailed of a plan only stifles your creative flow.
But most importantly, you will grow increasingly immune to outside opinion about how you should express your own individual creative gift.
The small, still voice inside will become strong and clear.
There’s a guy on Youtube named DaveSuperPowers who talks about personality functions and he’s one of my favorites. He says that each person has a couple of areas in which he or she is just phenomenal. These are our superpowers. In his videos he urges us to “develop the heck out of” our natural talents and not worry so much about the rest. I can’t recommend his videos highly enough. My favorite is the one in which he talks about the shadow side of our personality. Check it out here.
“I don’t care how bad you are at something, if you love it and are spending every waking hour on it, year after year, you are going to become really good at it.”
And that is really the best advice for any writer.
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