Just My Type explores the ways our personality, fears and motivations impact our writing and, using personality types, provides suggestions for tailoring your writing practice to who you are as a unique, creative human.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality theory that uses four personality traits as a representation of your personality as a whole. Each letter or category represents a different dichotomy: introverted (I) or extroverted (E), intuitive (N) or sensing (S), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and perceiving (P) or judging (J). Your MBTI type consists of four letters representing which sides of the dichotomies you fall on. To find out your type, you can take a free test here.
As a writer, it can be helpful to know about your personality and how you interact with the world because it can help you become more aware of how you work best and enable you to customize your writing process based on that information. Below are suggestions to build a writing practice that takes into account the four categories that make up your MBTI type.
Introverted vs. Extroverted
Whether you’re more introverted or extroverted determines where you draw energy from. As a writer, knowing which environments energize you allows you to adjust your writing routine and work in environments where you are most creative, mentally stimulated and inspired.
Introverted: You are energized by quiet time alone. While spending time around people in busy, lively environments can be inspiring to you creatively, it can also be draining if you don’t take quiet time to recharge. After you spend time interacting with or observing others in a busy space, make sure to give yourself plenty of quiet, alone time to recover your energy and stimulate your creativity. Try to create a cozy, private space that you can come to and focus on your writing without distractions.
Extroverted: You are energized by spending time around others. As an extroverted writer, embrace the ability to draw energy from others and try writing in public, people-filled spaces, like a park or coffee shop. When you’re stuck with your writing, you can try drawing inspiration from the scenes around you as an exercise, and might even spark something new or that adds to your existing work.
Intuitive vs. Sensing
Whether you’re primarily intuitive or sensing determines how you take in information and observe the world around you. Observing and learning are important parts of how writers generate new ideas and stay inspired, so knowing how this trait presents itself can help you figure out the best approach to finding inspiration and ideas for your work.
Intuitive: You’re an abstract thinker. You’re introspective, imaginative and spend a lot of time daydreaming. In your writing practice, give yourself time to connect with your subconscious mind and visualize your ideas. Perhaps start with a quiet meditation, a walk in nature, or even just put on some calm, instrumental music that helps you get into flow and connect with your creative inspiration. It’s often when the mind is quiet and calm that new ideas and solutions bubble up.
Sensing: You’re great at observation and paying attention to what’s going on in the world around you. You love to get hands-on experience and learn about the world through the use of your physical senses. To incorporate your sensing skills into your writing practice, get out there as much as possible and try things for yourself. If you’re stuck finding the words to describe a place or a food or an experience, try to find a way to recreate it for yourself as best you can in the real world. Exploring how things look, feel, taste, smell, and sound in the real world will help you find the right words to put on the page.
Thinking vs. Feeling
Whether you are more of a thinker or feeler determines how you approach decision-making, and as a writer, knowing how you make decisions can help you determine how to best approach problem-solving, planning and revising in your writing.
Thinking: You tend to follow your head when making decisions; you’re rational, practical and use objective criteria to determine the best course of action. When it comes to your writing practice, you’re great at taking an objective look at your work in order to improve it, so you might thrive in a workshop setting where you can gather feedback from others and make changes based on what makes the most sense to you logically.
Feeling: You tend to follow your heart and your gut rather than your mind. In your writing practice, you might at times find yourself so close to your work emotionally that it’s hard to make cuts or revisions. While you are great at creating authentic, moving stories, it can be helpful in revision to take a step back. When you’ve finished a first draft, try to take a break, maybe work on something else for awhile, and get some space before you begin revising in order to come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.
Perceiving vs. Judging
Whether you’re primarily judging or perceiving determines how you organize and interact with your world. As a writer, this trait can tell you if you’ll thrive or feel stifled by a lot of planning and structure and how to approach organization in your writing practice.
Perceiving: You’re flexible, adaptable and willing to go with the flow in your life and writing. You prefer to leave things open-ended, so don’t try to force yourself to be too structured with your writing. In your writing practice, allow yourself to go down different paths and explore different ideas. This doesn’t mean perceivers can’t start with a plan or an outline if that’s your style, but keep an open mind and know you can always pivot when you need to.
Judging: You prefer structure in your life and work and love being able to cross items off a to-do list.. Devote time to planning and outlining in your writing practice, schedule your writing time on your calendar and feel free to set plenty of specific goals, like how many words you want to write or which scenes or chapters you’ll be working on during a given day.