Writers and INFJ’s

Several days ago, Kristen Lamb’s blog post stated something that caught my attention. She said, “As artists and writers many of us fall in the INFJ or ENFJ sectors of the Myers-Briggs. What this means is that we process information and interpret our reality through intuition (N) and emotion (F). We have a heightened sense of empathy.” That passage stuck out to me because I’m neither an INFJ or an ENFJ. In fact, I’m the opposite. I’m an ISTJ (note the two letters in the middle are different – that means opposite in the Myers-Briggs stuff).
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(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Let me back up a bit for those of you who are lost. To figure out what personality type you are on the Myers-Briggs scale, ask yourself four questions:

1. Where do you get your energy? If you feel energized in a crowd or around people, you are an Extrovert (E). If you recharge your energies by being alone, you’re an Introvert (I).

2. How do you deal with incoming information? If you filter what you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, you are a Sensing (S) person. If you are introspective, highly imaginative, and think problems through, then your’e an Intuitive (N).
3. How do you deal with decisions? If you are objective and analyze the pros and cons, you’re a Thinking person (T). If you look at multiple points of view and take into account how others will feel about the decision, you’re a Feeling person (F).
4. How do you live your life? If you like planning, organizing, settling and deciding for yourself, you’re a Judgment person (J). If you’re flexible, spontaneous, and adaptive, you’re Perceiving (P).

Pick one letter from each question, and that spells out your personality type. (See previous posts for tons of detail about each of these personalities.) As noted above, I’m an ISTJ. That means I recharge by being alone (many writers are this way), I see the world analytically through my senses, I like things orderly, I’m a hard-core pragmatist, and I rarely take into consideration other people’s feelings. That’s not to say I can’t empathize, but I’m often accused of being rude or insensitive. Doesn’t bother me a bit, but I digress.

Kristen, in her blog post, mentioned that many writers aren’t like me at all. I can live with that. Differences make the world go around. It just got me to wondering: How many of you fall into the INFJ/ENFJ camp? How many aren’t anywhere close? Please share! I think it’d be fun to see how many different personality types think of themselves as writers, and how different we all are from each other.

-Sonja

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5 thoughts on “Writers and INFJ’s

  1. I’m fairly sure I’m INFJ. But that brings with it certain flaws in my writing, too. I tend to be more concerned with who my characters are in terms of personality and care very little about their physical appearance. I am more interested in the mood and feel of the setting than the sensory appearance. As such, my biggest challenge as a writer is my tendency to neglect the physical descriptions of characters, settings, everything. Having worked with you, I can say that it’s great getting feedback from someone with a different perspective on the world, because it helps me see the important things I’ve left out – things that someone else with a more similar perspective to my own might not have noticed.

    • As one who often ignores character feelings and instead writes action sequences and scenery, I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I couldn’t write flowery prose if you stuck me on a unicorn in a field of blooming wildflowers. I’d enjoy the experience, but it wouldn’t produce lyrical prose. So I rely on you and my other critique partners to spiff up my writing. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I visited human metrics.com and took the test there after scoring myself based on your four options and came out the same in both cases: INTJ. How that helps me is that I have to be careful not to create distance between myself and my readers, which is my tendency. Knowing one’s personality and how it applies to one’s writing therefore seems to me to be worthwhile. Thx. For bringing it up.

  3. Pingback: Top 10 Posts for 2013 (and a contest) | For What It's Worth

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