Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your Writing Type--A Study In Personality

Your Writing Type—Join the Study

By Kathy House

Have you wondered why some parts of writing feel easy and natural, while you struggle with others? The answer may lie in your personality type as described by Carl Jung. As a graduate project, I’ve developed a questionnaire to determine relationships between our fiction writing and our personality characteristics.

Jung’s ideas about personality type cover three elements:

• Where do you put your attention, inner world (Introvert) or outer world (Extravert)?
• What sort of information do you pay attention to, concrete details (Sensing) or patterns (Intuition)?
• How do you make your decisions, by a logical system (Thinking) or a values system (Feeling)?

This list may already be giving you ideas about what type you are and how that influences your writing.
Specifically, I’m studying how your personality type may affect your choice of genre, your writing strengths and weaknesses, and your writing process. My study does NOT say you must be a certain type to write well or write certain types of fiction. It does NOT say one type is better at writing than another. It only reveals HOW the different types may approach writing and what strategies may help people of different types improve their writing.

Each element contains both strengths and weaknesses. For example, people who are strong in Intuition don’t like to work in a step-by-step, linear fashion; instead, they see patterns and connections. This trait can result in creative imagery, as they see relationships others don’t. Yet because Intuitives’ attention goes quickly from one thing to the next, they can sometimes skip steps. They may be unaware that they’ve left out a critical narrative detail and leave their readers confused.

Another area of interest is what Jung called the “inferior function,” which is a person’s weakest element. Jung theorized that this element is our least conscious and least developed. On the other hand, this means the inferior function is connected to a lot of unconscious, undeveloped energy. As we age, Jung theorized, we seek energy renewal by developing previously unused elements. His theory could explain why many people take up an entirely new activity at midlife or bring a new twist to something they’ve already been doing. Exploring your inferior function could help you tap into new energy for your writing.

Interested? I hope you’ll help me with my research by taking the two surveys on my website (http:/ They’re free, but it takes about an hour to complete the two (you can take them at different times). You’ll get a result about your type (based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) right away and a discussion of my findings once I finish my analysis.

You have until March 31, 2011 to participate.
Bio: Kathy House has a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Virginia and is earning a second master’s in psychology from Regis University. She’s been active in regional writing groups for 15 years. She qualified to interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in 1998 and has studied with the C.G. Jung Institute of Colorado since 2001. She’s married, writes mystery and fantasy, and has been well-trained by a large fluffy dog.

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