The discussion below is very general. I know. It is stereotyping. I know. It doesn’t apply to everyone. I know that. It definitely does not apply to everyone who reads this. I know. The person who reads this is a complicated and multi-faceted, elaborate creature made up of an infinite and indefinable sets of higher functions that could not possibly be quantified. I know. You are special. I know. You are unique. I know. Just like everyone else you are unique.
The classic classification for a writer using the Myers-Briggs type Indicator is an INFP – which translates as an Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Perceiving person. In blunt terms a shy, caring, intuitive type who loves to spend time on their own. Very, very blunt terms.
Focusing on the Introvert / Extrovert aspect seems the most useful for this particular discussion. This aspect of Myers Briggs assessment (there are millions of articles out there if you need a fuller explanation) is concerned with how you get energy and recharge your batteries. Do you energise yourself internally (introvert) or externally (extroverts). In practical terms – after a long, hard, draining week how would you ideally choose to recharge your batteries in an ideal world. This is a world without the constraints on kids, money, relationships. In a purely selfish scenario how would you choose – Would you ideally go out clubbing, dancing, discoing or whatever you youngsters do these days – raving, garaging? Or would have a have a quiet night in – relaxing, chillaxing? Unsurprising if you choose the relaxing aspect this indicates you have more of an introvert tendency. So, what are you?
As I mentioned before the majority of writers tend to fall into this introvert camp. This sounds about right to me. Introvertion would be quite handy for the writing process. Being stuck in a room for hours on end would, I suspect, not really be the chosen pastime of most extroverts.
However, writers, certainly modern writers need more skills than just writing.
“Once the writing has finished the work begins.”
We need to sell. This is typical a job for an extrovert, not an introvert. However, it’s a necessity unless you have the skill of J D Salinger. You have to do it –it’s your job. Okay nowadays we can hide behind a laptop and tweet and write and pretend that we are extrovert. That’s quite nice isn’t it? But can we fake being an extrovert in real life? Tough.
I have found some tips for us –
- Let it out. I’m not too sure what you should let out but do it. Let it out. Let your shy personality – honed and fine–tuned by years and years of repression and disappointment – out.
- Walk on the wild side. Go crazy. Get into a bar-room fight. Dance on the tables.
- Be impulsive. If a wild day for you is one in which you change your tea towel then this is what you need. Be rash. Quit your job. Book a flight to Istanbul and just go.
- Join a club. Not too sure about this one. There are so many diverse, dodgy clubs out there. In my local newspaper there are invites for book reading clubs, friends of the theatre clubs, photography clubs. It seems a little dodgy to me. I’m pretty sure they are all covers for wife-swapping clubs. But, hey that should increase your extraversion score.
So, you need to do all of these activities and become a (pretend) activist – don’t forget you’ve still got to write. It’s only a job and the job requires different skills, like building walls or driving a bus. Learn these new skills. Who knows you may even like it.