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Monday, October 24, 2011

Why The World Doesn't "Get" Writers

My final statistical comparison following my Plotting and Personality Survey is below. It will totally explain why the general population scratches their heads at us writers.

I compared the United States statistics for Myers-Briggs Type Indicators with those from the writer population (who took my survey). Check it out:

MBTI General Population

MBTI Writer Population
 

The interesting comparison is found in the top quadrant (IN) of introverted intuitives, in particular the INFJ, INTJ, and INFP types. In the writing population, these types are considerably higher than in the general population. Most writers are INFJs, which is the smallest percentage of types for the general population! That's actually a HUGE discovery...and you read it on The Character Therapist first, folks.

The ESTJ and ESFJ types are among the most prevalent in the general population, but among writers, we are in the minority. The introverted counterparts of ISTJ and ISFJ are basically the same between writers and the general populace.

So now you know why writers are a curious bunch. We don't fit the personality stereotypes at all...in fact, in many respects, writers exhibit the exact opposite of what the world would expect (at least according to type).

Q4U: Does it all make sense now? Why writer's conferences are a merging of souls for writers who just don't quite "fit" with other normal non-writer folk?

30 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

What does it mean if I don't fit the personality of a writer?? Ha!

BettyZade said...

It SOUNDS fascinating. I WANT to be excited by this color chart. I don't know what all those letters stand for though, so I'm not jumping up and down the way I should be. ; ) Please to explain?

BK said...

I was really surprised that there were that many INTJ writers. Who'da thunk it?

Shilpa said...

LOL. Now I know why my husband never gets me!

Miss Sharp said...

And here I was thinking I'm just a social klutz! lol

Oh, wait. This is just the big picture. I'm still a social klutz.

*sigh*

Thanks for the info. ;)

Miss Sharp said...

BettyZade - Here's the link Jeannie originally gave us. After you take the test and get your score it will all make sense! :D

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Christine Hardy said...

I'm an INTJ so that makes total sense. It also explains why I can't finish my book to my satisfaction. My husband and I had not one but two big fights this weekend that centered around writing. I would guess he's an ESTJ. Two TJ's form opposite corners...a recipe for disaster!

Miss Sharp said...

Hi Christine - here's a place you might like to visit!

http://personalitycafe.com/intj-forum-scientists/

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

thanks, miss sharp, for giving betty the link. :)

Ryan and Melanie said...

Jeannie,

It's so interesting to see that most writers are introverts. My personality type (enfp) didn't really fit personality of a writer. So, I guess I'm with Katie...what does that mean;)

Mel

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

katie and mel -

there is no such thing as "the" writer personality....just where you fit within the continuum. writers are represented by every type!

Sarah Forgrave said...

This makes me feel so much more normal, LOL! Thanks for sharing, Jeannie. Interesting stuff!

Kenda Turner said...

Thanks, Jeannie, for helping to explain why I sometimes feel out of place in different situations :-) At least other writers understand!

Abigail said...

So, are judgers more prone to be plotters and perceivers, pantsers?
Perceivers seem to like things open ended.

Would also be curious to know if more published authors are judgers than perceivers. As a perceiver, I know I have a hard time finishing manuscripts and keeping with a timeline. My judging friends are better at being on time and sticking with things.

McKenzie McCann said...

It's hard for me to really pinpoint one type to call into. I'm always right on the fence between I and E as well as J and P. I flux between ENFP, ENFJ, INFP, and INFJ. It really depends on my mood.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

abigail, i didn't do a break down for that particular question. but i did breakdown the types to which writing method they were more likely to have here. hope that helps!

GigglesandGuns said...

What I found most fascinating about the group I took MBTI with was how many were upset with their results.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

If you feel "at home" with other writers, then you have a writer personality, no matter what your "type" is.

Jennifer said...

Just what I needed, scientific proof that I'm odd. ;)

Seriously though, very interesting stuff. I really need to join a writing group - find some more of my people.

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Very interesting, Jeannie! It doses explain a lot. Thank you!

thesolaceofloweredexpectations said...

What an interesting idea! The link to this post was forwarded to me by a writer friend who has been telling me for months about your blog--so happy she finally just got it to my inbox, where all the action happens.

It's a nice irony that "the general population scratches their heads at us" while we write because we recognize and understand them. I think INFJs, in particular, have a mindset that drives us to write, and probably write well: introverts tend to be observers, which is the absolute fundamental pre-requesite for good writing; intuitives get life's holographic multidimensionality; feeling types have the empathy and resonance to render others in an honorable way; and judging types can appreciate (or obsess over) the niceties of language, as well as handle structural/thematic/ordering issues that a longer work requires paying attention to.

It would be interesting to have a writing workshop based on the MBTI! I'm sure there are ways in which we could all, regardless of type, benefit from developing our opposite Jungian poles.

You have created an ingenious niche for yourself. Long ago, I bought a copy of the DSMIV just because I'm interested in psychology, and because it's such an invaluable aid in terms of understanding characters (fictional and real). As a teacher and editor, I am always engaged in some kind of therapeutic work with students or clients, since writing is really about authenticity at some level. It's good to see that a someone (and especially someone with legitimate training!) has managed to turn this natural affinity into a working business. :-)

I hope it's okay to link to this article on my own blog.

Michelle Sutton said...

ROFLOL! Well last year I did this test for my son's class (he was a college freshman) and my results were that I'm an INFJ. That's the number one personality for writers, eh? That said, next time I wonder why I am writing when it can be such hard work, I'll remind myself that it's my personality. :) I'm called to do it. Hehehehe.

Cara Putman said...

I'm an ENTP or ENTJ depending on the day -- neither of which is in great supply in either world. And maybe that explains why I can plot or pants. I've done both ways, and it really doesn't bother me in either style.

Colleen Coble said...

Does that mean I can't be a writer since I'm an ENFP? LOL

Melissa Jagears said...

I'm an INTJ and I totally have the "no one gets me" complex and I think I've got some extra odd ball stuff thrown into that personality that even a fellow INTJ decided she didn't quite get me either! Glad to see there's plenty of writers hovering in my corner so maybe I can find someone who understands me in the writer world!

And Melanie, I am so glad you are what you are, you are like happy glue for us less socially exuberant. Don't know whether you'll see this comment or not--but I'm glad you're in the writer mix!

Penny Zeller said...

This is soooo interesting! I love things like this! Also interesting to me is that I'm an ENFJ, so there are only 7% of that type of writer personality. I don't have a shy bone in my body, so I guess I kind of break the mold when it comes to the introverted writer type :) Thank you for posting this, Jeannie!

Francinne said...

I'm a ESTJ and i'm happy to be the minority of the writers :D. I'm surrounded by very creative personalities.

Benjamin Garden said...

Oh damn me. Discard my previous comment, had no idea tf I was doing.

Danyal Zia said...

I really enjoyed learning that most writers are/were INFJs. Now, I feel more proud as an INFJ and have dream to pursue a career in creative writing :)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

Danyal - YOU GO FOR IT!!

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