Youngblood Blog

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Writers according to Myers-Briggs

New Moon in Aquarius

An editor did a Myers-Briggs Survey and posted the results to Facebook recently and I was STUNNED to learn some pertinent facts about writers: the results speak for themselves. I’d be interested to see how the split works on this little writerly/readerly/publisherly community! Give it a try…

For a start, if you’re not familiar with Myers-Briggs and what that duo did, it might be an idea to click here.

Affinity for Fellow Writers
It isn’t hard to notice the kinship writers feel with each other. Some even feel compelled to start a group together *hint* and we are alike in some pretty fundamental ways. We approach the world similarly. We enjoy similar activities. But this has never seemed to me a tangible thing before. I fancied us a group both eclectic and hard to pin down. We simply have maybe… a common approach… or something…

I LOVE psychology and, I think, I chose to get married (and separated from) a psychology major because the function of analysing people’s whys and wherefores always had a fascination for me. Putting that into stats, though, or seeing people through Jungian or Freudian lenses, never felt quite as good as wondering just what made people tick. I prefer to look at social influences—predictions of behaviors and outlooks that are situational or perceptual rather than personality. I am definitely in the nurture camp; nature deals us a set of inclinations and abilities, a gene pool and a ‘background’, but in my opinion what we do with the package has a lot to do with us as people and how we live our lives.

All things considered, though, the Myers-Briggs test, because it is multi-dimensional, and because it takes into account some of that nurture stuff, does appeal to me.

If I had taken the test as a younger woman, (I never did) I think I would have come out more judgemental, more black and white, less intuitive; an INTJ; because in my early career I was driven, yes, driven to be the best journalist you could be. No holds barred.

In the middle, though, I had a child, raised a family, stopped writing professionally in the 9 to 5 sense and started writing in the back-to-nature-living, submitting-monthly-to-magazines sense; it’s that country ‘grow-your-own’, birdsong, and being a mother; the family stuff that got to me. Changed me from a thinker to a feeler. Of course I shall never know. I only took the Myers-Briggs as a ‘mature’ woman. And I come out INFJ.

If I go with my previous ‘knowing’ of my focused single-tasking self, I’d say in becoming multi-tasking (scattered female), I changed from being an ISTJ, a Thinker, to a Feeler…INFJ. I attribute that to hormones: to child-bearing and rearing. There are several things that changed in my life during those times, but that, the deaths of parents and older gen, and the difficulties worked through with my ex are the only things that would predict a shift from thinking to feeling (possibly not being a student anymore, but I’m still a besotted academic, even if I study from home…)

What Does it Mean?

Myers-Briggs personality test


I-E—Introversion Extroversion: seems pretty self explanatory, but… it says it is actually a means of cognitive functioning… whether a person sort of deals in terms of behavior, action, people and things (extroversion) or reflection and ideas (introversion). It’s a little different twist on how we normally think of these ideas (other-oriented, versus solitary)

S-iN—Sensing versus Intuition: these are about information gathering and what we trust. Sensing people like their ‘evidence’ to be present, tangible and concrete. Intuitive trust information that is more theoretical or abstract. (This is the pair that is about PERCEIVING)

T-F—Thinking and Feeling are about decision making. Thinking is more detached and objective, feeling is more through empathy. (This is the pair that is about JUDGING)
P-J—Perceiving and Judging is a distinction for which TYPE of information is dominant in how a person processes—so which of the above pair takes dominance in a person’s personality.

A description of what the 16 combos mean is given here:

Common Personalities

Myers-Briggs results for general population

In the general population the sensing feelers have it… the whole column that has SF has 8% or more, with the SFJ’s being the most common types on the board, whether introverted or extroverted. The STJs are right up there, too. Among those 6 personality types you get 64% of the population.

On the other tail are the NTs, not adding to 10% for 4 types. Intuitive thinkers are apparently rare, but also rare are the NFJs.

BUT THE WRITERS!!!

Writerly Personalities


This is where it gets interesting… it would have been amusing just to see how different from others (or how similar to each other) we are, but what actually happened, was I was stunned, (flabberstounded, if you will Mrs L), knocked off my perch in disbelief…

Moonrat's survey of writers, publishers and editors

The least common and third least common personalities among the population made up 49% of the people who took Moonrat’s quiz (those, because Moonrat is an editor, who are predominantly WRITERS). Among WRITERS these are the most common personalities, and not just by a little bit.

So writers are introverted… no real surprises there – dealing with reflection and ideas rather than the external world? Sounds about right… Intuitive rather than sensory? Again… this is not surprising that we like the theoretical and abstract better than the concrete… that we are willing to believe without evidence…

We are equally split among thinkers and feelers and I would bet good money there is both a gender split and a genre split here (higher percentage of men thinking, women feeling) – but also guess the thinkers are our ‘plot junkies – thrillers, mysteries, where our feelers are the romance and the character-driven stuff.

I’m not even going to name names here…. 🙂 you KNOW who you ARE!!

The Final Summary

First I have to say I apologize for not being able to put a push-button poll – a quiz – on this page: I’m simply not techie enough to post a survey; but I’d love it if someone who knows how, would. Mysteral is a wiz at audio; Yin’s a wiz at video; who’s the wiz at putting a polldaddy on my page…? I’ll sell my cat for that… besides I think most of us would like to pit our writerly/editorish selves against the mass of humankind out there and PROVE that we’re different… ahem.

Seems maybe, with my plans for living in the New Age of Aquarius, I am not an INTJ after all… put it down to my inability to say anything bad about Valentine’s Day, and its new moon. OK I’m INFJ. Vascillation wins.

More to the point, how does it work out for THIS group? Now there’s an interesting question.

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17 Comments »

  1. Nice to see someone talking about INFJ. We are such rare birds!

    I just stumbled from crop circles page on FB on to your site today. We are very rare, us INFJs, and while I don’t blog or write ‘out in public’…yet…a pen or keyboard is usually at hand!

    We have very similar interests from what I can tell from your blog…..but of course!

    Janet

    Comment by Janet | August 5, 2011 | Reply

  2. INTP – Fiction writer, though. Would be interested to see that kind of distinction.

    Comment by mistybbarrere1015 | August 7, 2012 | Reply

  3. ESFJ – and the writing process is keeping me away from people!!
    But, the post-writing stage will bring me face to face with many; I know I’ll love it already.
    I’m writing about what E’s are thinking about when they get reflective! memoir.
    : )

    Comment by Helen McNab | August 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks Helen and Misty for stopping by; isn’t it fun to find that Myers-Briggs didn’t know it all…and that we explore our own fantasies/reflections in somewhat virgin territory… or is our imagination always a virgin?… I suspect so

      Comment by siderealview | August 17, 2012 | Reply

  4. […] Writers according to Myers-Briggs […]

    Pingback by Whatever the Weather: Write On « Youngblood Blog | September 5, 2012 | Reply

  5. Georgess was an INFP and I am ENFP

    Comment by Mike Roberts | March 12, 2014 | Reply

  6. INFP -Love writing sci-fi and fantasy

    Comment by frogman1189 | May 9, 2014 | Reply

  7. Enjoyed following your type evolvement! First time I tested in my 40’s there was quit a bit of overlay of my mother–excellent therapy helped me own my type as an E/INT/FP–you are right a little ambiguity there–now I claim INFP (with touches of E and T) I appreciated your graph on writers– I have written a book, Heart Beats–self published and languishing I’m told because I’m resistant to social media. Could that be the introvert in me?

    Comment by Evelyn Lawson-Jonsson | July 8, 2014 | Reply

  8. Nice but as you said, not surprising for the most part. I was a bit surprised on the J over P. I would have expected those to be about even. I’m INTP(F was almost even) attempting a first publish of fiction. Genre that I have stories in my head for runs from westerns to spy to fantasy, basically anything with adventure. Love running hiking, camping, of course reading a good book, and a I’m becoming quite a bit of a history buff recently.

    Comment by Scott | September 2, 2014 | Reply

  9. ENTP and a writer! Only thing is, I get so many ideas I think I have planned out and written the first paragraphs of 100 stories before scrapping them!

    Comment by Emily | December 7, 2014 | Reply

  10. Myers-Briggs say ISFPs are writers. Glad to see they got that wrong. Haha! I’m an INTJ and I won’t deny the fact that I’m a plot junkie. It’s all about the Easter Eggs and the cliffhangers for me.

    Comment by Jeyna Grace | May 15, 2015 | Reply

  11. ENFP is missing from the graph.

    Comment by Jimmy | October 25, 2015 | Reply

  12. Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves. E. Joseph Cossman

    Comment by Mao Gailey | October 31, 2015 | Reply

  13. I’m an INFP

    Thanks, Mel Gr8 😉
    xM

    Comment by Mel | January 5, 2016 | Reply

  14. […] good resources already. Most notably, the types of 101 famous authors and youngbloodblog’s discussion of writers according to MBTI. The discussion mentioned a (non-scientific) survey that yielded astonishing percentages of […]

    Pingback by YA Authors by Myers-Briggs Type | Lyse of Llyr | July 14, 2017 | Reply


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