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 prompts are a great way to spark your imagination, take the pressure off of writing, and just have fun creating and getting words onto the page, whether it inspires something new or is simply a piece of writing you never look at again.
Each of the prompts below is tailored to an Enneagram type. If you don’t already know your type, you can take a test here which will tell you which types you match most closely with. The Enneagram is all about identifying the underlying motivations and fears that drive you. Fear and motivation are important factors in creativity and understanding ourselves better can only make us better writers.
When responding to the prompt, just allow yourself to freewrite. If nothing from your own experiences comes up in response to the prompt, feel free to make something up. Set a thirty minute timer, or longer if you’d prefer, and write what comes to mind, with no pressure or judgment.
As a One, you’re the idealist of the Enneagram. Ones can be perfectionists, but ultimately it’s about having high standards and a mission of improvement, whether that be for the world or themselves. Think of something you’d like to improve in the world or your life. This could be something as big as halting climate change or as small as mastering poached eggs. What would that look like? Imagine that world and create a scene that takes place in it (even if it’s you enjoying a perfect eggs benedict).
As a Two, you are the helper of the Enneagram. Twos are generous and love taking care of others. Think of a time when someone took care of you. Maybe this was a parent, sibling, teacher, partner or friend. Write about that experience. Who was this person? What did it feel like to be taken care of? Maybe someone wrapped you in a soft blanket or made you a comforting soup. What did that feel like, smell like or taste like? Use all of your senses.
As a Three, you’re known for being the goal-setter of the Enneagram. You have big dreams and you’re determined to achieve them. Write about yourself or a character living a life you dream of, whether it’s something you’re working toward or an indulgent fantasy life in an alternate universe. Where does this character (or you) live or work and what kinds of items are in their home or workspace? Be sure to zoom in on smaller details. What do they eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner? Who do they interact with?
As a Four, you’re the individualist of the Enneagram. Fours are known for their emotional honesty and being very in touch with their feelings. Think of a song that inspires you and impacts your emotions, whether it makes you feel happy and optimistic, or nostalgic and melancholy. Write a story inspired by the song. Maybe it’s a love or breakup song, maybe it’s about overcoming a challenge, or maybe it’s about something silly and nonsensical. Can you evoke the mood of the song in your story?
As a Five, you’re the investigator of the Enneagram. You want to understand how things work, are always asking questions and diving deep to learn more about things. Think of a topic that you’ve investigated or researched. Maybe it’s a historical event or a scientific or technical concept. Write what you remember about it and try to be as descriptive and poetic with your language as possible. The idea is to use real ideas or concepts as a jumping off point to fictionalize them. Don’t worry about accuracy or feel like you need to look things up to get them right. Try to invoke all five of your senses, even if you have to make details up.
As a Six, you’re known for your loyalty and commitment, as well as your responsibility and hard work, but you can struggle with anxiety and a need for security and stability. Write about a moment–whether something that really happened in your life, or a made-up experience that happens to a character–where there is anxiety and tension building over an impending event or change, but ultimately you or the character come out of the experience unscathed or even better off than before.
As a Seven, you’re known for your enthusiasm for life and sense of adventure. Write about someone experiencing for the first time something you’ve tried or want to try. Maybe it’s something exhilarating like skydiving or getting a tattoo, or something more simple like trying a new food or a new art medium. Describe the environment and sensations this person is feeling, like the clear air and the wind touching their skin, or the art studio and the feeling of brushing paint onto the canvas or spinning clay on a pottery wheel.
As an Eight, you’re the challenger of the Enneagram. Eights are confident, decisive and often confrontational. Write about an argument. It could be based on a real argument you’ve taken part in, or a made-up argument between two characters. It might be about a large conflict or something silly. Aside from the dialogue, how can you build tension between the characters? How are the characters speaking? Are they standing or sitting? What is their body language? What are their expressions?
As a Nine, you’re known for being self-forgetting. Nines often merge with others and have difficulty identifying their own opinions. You might struggle with withdrawing and making yourself less visible in the world. Use this time to make yourself visible. Write about yourself as if you were a character in a story. Become the narrator to your life and describe yourself in the third person. What do you look like? How do you spend your day? What are the things you do or think or feel that others don’t see?