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.
Writing advice is not one-size-fits-all; all writers will have different routines and rituals that work for them. Ultimately, knowing what will work best for you as a writer comes down to understanding yourself better as a human being. The Enneagram is a helpful tool for getting to know not just your personality, but also the underlying fears and motivations that drive you and how those might manifest in your creative habits. The true beauty of the Enneagram is that it helps us accept who we are so we can work with our nature, rather than against it.
If you don’t already know your Enneagram type, you can take a free test here and read the descriptions of each of your top results to decide which feels most right to you. (Remember, the Enneagram is less about how your personality presents itself and more about your internal motivations.)
Ones are conscientious, organized, and set high standards for themselves, but perfectionism can prevent them from getting their ideas on the page out of fear they won’t match the vision inside their head. Constant editing and dissatisfaction can mean lots of unfinished writing projects. Unfortunately, the creative process is inherently messy and imperfect. As a One, embrace the mess by writing your first draft by hand. By starting with pen and paper, you can avoid getting stuck in the endless cycle of revision and get back to getting the words on the page.
Twos spend so much time and energy caring for others that it can be hard to prioritize themselves and their creative pursuits. As a Two, commit to yourself and your writing. Make your writing time sacred by putting it on your calendar and, if possible, give it a dedicated space in your home. Give yourself permission to focus entirely on your writing during this scheduled time, making arrangements to prevent interruptions whenever possible. Think of your writing as a loved one that needs to be nurtured and cared for, and give it the time and space in your life that it needs to thrive.
Threes are ambitious and driven, but can often be so goal-oriented that they forget to have fun along the way. As a Three, bring joy and spontaneity back into your writing practice by starting with a writing prompt. Have fun with it and write whatever comes to mind. Letting your creative mind run free can provide fresh insights and may even help inspire your current project.
Fours are inspired, creative and emotionally honest, but they can also struggle with self doubt and fear of rejection. As a Four, learn to share your voice and open yourself up to feedback by joining a writing group. Not only can feedback from other writers help you improve your work, but being accountable to others can keep you from isolating yourself out of fear.
Fives are cerebral, inquisitive and innovative. They excel at research and investigation, but can struggle to get out of their head and take action. As a Five, do something physical to stimulate your subconscious mind and inspire your writing. Sit in nature and use your senses to observe your surroundings. Paint a picture. Make a collage or mood board with magazine clippings to inspire your current project. Giving your brain a break and connecting with your creativity in a physical way can provide a new perspective and allow your subconscious time to work through ideas.
Sixes are loyal, committed and hardworking, but can struggle with anxiety and insecurity that leads to procrastination. As a Six, anchor your writing practice by starting with meditation. Try a guided meditation, or simply set a timer, close your eyes, focus on your breath and observe your thoughts as they float by, gently guiding your mind back to your breath when it wanders. Centering your mind and disconnecting from anxious thoughts before writing will help you silence your doubts and focus on creating without judgment.
Sevens are energetic, spontaneous, and eager to pursue new ideas, but they can become scattered and overcommitted, jumping from project to project and struggling to complete them all. As a Seven, it can be hard to settle into your writing and focus on one project. To declutter your mind, start your writing practice with free writing. Write down everything that comes to mind, from to-do tasks to worries to new ideas. Don’t filter yourself and don’t worry about making sense or organizing right now; the idea is to simply empty your mind so you can focus on the project at hand.
Eights are decisive, assertive and confident. They love a good challenge and are great at getting things done, but often avoid rules and structure out of a fear of being controlled. As an Eight, take time in your practice to pause and reflect. Zoom out, look at the overall structure of your project and take some time to plan how you’ll continue, maybe even create an outline. Remember that you do not need to follow the plan exactly and can change it at any time, but taking some time to reflect and structure will help you keep the big picture in mind.
Nines are accepting, patient and easygoing, but can struggle with complacency, inertia, and avoidance of anything that disrupts their sense of peace. They have a tendency to forget themselves and their creative projects, and can procrastinate when writing feels uncomfortable. As a Nine, it can be hard to get going again when you’ve hit a roadblock with your writing goals. Spend time breaking down your goals into tiny, very doable tasks you can do every day. Maybe that’s a page count or minimum amount of writing time; make it smaller than you think you should. Some days you’ll exceed the goal and others you might barely reach it, but the important thing is to keep the momentum going.