Saturday, April 24, 2021

Your Writing Personality: Blessing, Curse, or Both?

Happy Saturday, all! This week's topic on the SFF Seven Blog is how our Meyer's-Briggs assessment affects our writing, and I'm about to get real. You may not know this, but taking a close look at your personality assessment can point out behavioral issues that could be stifling your writing life. It isn't easy to face truths like this sometimes, but it can help so much when it comes to truly tackling change.

I'm an INFJ, a slightly introverted Advocate with mega intuition who listens to her silly, giant heart. Which is no surprise. Leave it me to spend most of my time cheerleading and helping others rather than focusing on my own work. I battle this constantly; it's just how I'm designed. It's the curse part of my personality.

It wasn't until a couple years ago that I began actively trying to pull the brakes on some of my extracurricular writing and editing activities and instead, turn some of that attention inward. I remember thinking--STOP TRYING TO MAKE EVERYONE ELSE SUCCESSFUL. HELP YOURSELF.

I can't say that I've done the best job at this. I'm still an editor, a job I love. Saying no to people who are Oh, so close isn't in my DNA. Literally. I have to MAKE myself send query rejections (but I can because I have to, just FYI 😉). It's built into every cell that I have to help others though, above helping myself, which is not a great trait. This behavior tendency has led to a long career of seeing other people reach dreams that I've yet to attain. I've worked with people who didn't even know what genre they were writing, and then, a few years later, watched them go on to major traditional book deals, much to my delight. I love seeing people succeed. I will never be the jealous gal in the back corner. I'll be the one screaming and cheering and beaming with pride and happiness at the foot of the stage. 

But, there came a point where I realized that I'm not just an editor, mentor, critique partner, teacher, or cheerleader. I'm a writer, first and foremost. With my personality type, I've had to face more than a few hard truths. Not only the advocate issue, which is still significant, but the idealist side of me also happened to be a weakness. I sought perfection in my own writing, my standards so high I could never be good enough. I've also always had really difficult, high-concept ideas that are doubly hard to manifest under the pressure of my self-imposed impossible standards. AND, on top of that, I struggled to feel okay with starting out anywhere than the top.

And that's ridiculous. (Thankfully, I know this now.)

Another issue I faced was that until just a few years ago, I had no idea how badly I needed organization and lists to sharpen my focus and keep me on track with my writing goals. It was like I knew I needed a plan, but knowing what manner of planning would work for me? I had no clue. Thankfully, this particular battle has been won. Now, I use a KanBan board, quarterly goals, and daily lists to get things done.

It's still a struggle, though. On top of all the above, I'm a hard worker, which means I can put in some serious hours for other people, forgetting that I need to do the same for myself. Prioritizing my own work is still hard for me. I'm that person who has to clean the whole house before they can sit down to write. If I'm not careful, my writing tasks can easily fall to the bottom of my lists. This is something I'm learning to overcome with each passing day. Psychology was my minor in college. I believe in behavior modification, y'all, but it's not easy! 🤣

There are advantages to being an INFJ Advocate, too. The blessing part. For example, INFJs tend to have vivid imaginations and loads of compassion. I'm a bit of an empath as well, so I understand emotion. One of my best talents in writing is getting to the heart of the matter, digging down to the often missing emotional layer in a story. I'm insightful and able to read motivation, feelings, and needs, and my intuition about people, if I'm able to meet someone face to face especially, is often scary accurate. This helps so much when designing characters. I can figure out what makes them tick and translate that to the page. 

Still, I'm a work in progress. But, the work is being done, and partly because I understand my strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. Did I also mention that I'm abnormally persistent? I will get where I'm going, even if my journey takes a little more effort.

How about you? Have you examined your personality type and how it might be affecting your writing life? Is it more of a blessing or a curse? 

Thanks for reading! Do you follow me on social media? I mostly hang out on Instagram. Find me there and say hi!

~ Charissa

1 comment:

  1. I love your big heart! And I'm so excited that you've become more committed to your writing over the past year...and I'm even more excited to read more about Mem ;)