I'm a little obsessed with psychology- personality theory in particular. In my last foray into MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), I thought about what implications these dichotomies might have for writers.
MBTI is a preferences scale. It's all about which of two ways of operation you like better.
The dichotomies are
E: Extroverted - more in tune with and energised by the outer world
I: Introverted - more in tune with and energised by the inner world.
S: Sensing - concentrating more on hard, cold fact.
N: iNtuition- concentraing more on ideas.
T: Thinking- Making decisions based on objectivity.
F: Feeling- Making decisions based on how they will affect people.
J: Judging- Using the Judging functions (T/F) in the outer world and being happier with order, and decisions already made.
P: Perceiving- preferring the Perceiving functions (S/N) in the outer world and being happier with flexibility when gathering information.
(NB, Many of these words have general meanings outside of their MBTI meanings. For example if you are an introvert on MBTI that doesn't mean you will shrivel at a party or that you can't give a speech.)
E/I Weaknesses and Strengths
Extroverts love being out in the world and interacting with it. If you are an Extrovert writer, you will have lots of opportunities to gather material for your books. On the other hand, concentration can be harder for Extroverts, so you may be prone to distraction during long stretches in front of a computer. Also, it can be difficult to organise your thoughts without bouncing them off someone else or talking them out.
S/N Weaknesses and Strengths
If you prefer Sensing, you are more concerned with things as they are and not as they could be. You are probably very good at representing factual data in a concise way. This lends itself to non-fiction writing on technical topics. More than likely, fiction will be difficult for Sensers. If you want to write fiction, you'll have to train yourself to imagine- physically stop yourself and ask "what if?" over and over until you've got a story.
S/N is the only dichotomy that is wildly skewed in the American population. (Sorry, I haven't seen data for other countries.) There are about 65% Sensers and 35% iNtuitives in the U.S. However, the large majority of people in any field of entertainment and most creative fields (including writers) are iNuitives. As I've said before, being a Creative can be hard in the real world. But iNtuitive nature is a perk in the Creative world.
T/F Weaknesses and Strengths
J/P Weaknesses and Strengths
If you lean towards Judging, then you prefer knowing that the decisions have been made. Moreso than any other dichotomy, this represents the plotter/pantser. Judgers like making the decisions and are happiest working towards a known end. Trouble sets in when the story or characters don't want to go where you told it. If a story or a character is really struggling to do something against the plan, let them. If you really, really, really need to be following a plan, take a break, think it through and re-outline from the point of departure. It may lead you to a stronger piece.
If you're interested in a "Free Myers-Briggs Test"* check out:
* Only CAPT is licensed to give the MBTI, so these are technically MBTI-based tests.
Btw, I'm ENFP.
E- Loves being out and about and suck at concentrating
N- Love to fly through a first draft and hate editing
F- Voice and characters are my strength
P- I hate writing endings. I wrote 51,000 words of my first novel in 30 days. I wrote the next 5,000 over 3 months.
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