Personality Types and Writers

Are writers introverts? So many of us say we are, but personality tests show that how we view ourselves is not always how others view us. I’ve been subjected to a number of personality and team-building profiles in the business world and I always find them interesting.

Many years ago I took a detailed Myers-Brigg test conducted by my local college. If you’re unfamiliar with Myers-Brigg, it’s based on the foundation that there are sixteen personality types which are factored from four key elements:

Favorite World
Do you focus on the outer world (Extraversion • E) or the inner world (Introversion • I)

Information
Do you focus on the basic information you take in (Sensing • S) or do you interpret and add meaning (Intuition • N)

Decisions
Do you look at logic and consistency first (Thinking • T) or people and special circumstances (Feeling • F)

Structure
When it comes to the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided (Judging • J) or stay open to new information and options (Perceiving/Prospecting • P)

Human Personality Types word cloud concept on black background.

There are short online tests as well as the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® which is usually administered by a certified individual. That’s the one I took decades ago. I don’t remember much about it other than the ending results. I kept them for many years, mostly from a sense of irony. Let me explain:

The test results provided the three career fields for which I was most suited and the three which I should avoid.  I only remember two of the three that were considered a good match—the arts, which included anything creative (such as writing) or visionary. The second was teaching and/or academia. I can’t argue with either of those.

As for the fields I should avoid—entrepreneurship, law and real estate. This is where the irony factors in, as I have been employed in the real estate field for over twenty-five years. Granted I employ a lot of creativity in my job, from graphic design, copy writing and even teaching, but I never fail to chuckle over the fact my personality isn’t a good fit with the industry.

Real Estate aside, I’ve taken shorter versions of the Myers-Briggs over the years and my results always come back much the same. I am either an INFJ or INFP personality type. That last letter changes on occasion. My most recent results returned Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Prospecting. My Introvert score is 86% and my Intuitive score is 89%. Feeling is 82% and Prospecting is 54% (you can see why this one fluctuates).

An introvert score of 86% is pretty high in my opinion.

Oddly, most people who work with me see me as outgoing and confident, and when I am in my element, I am both of those. I can also be extroverted when the situation demands, but the performance saps my energy. Even a party—where I have a blast—can leave me depleted and in need of “down time.” It usually takes me a full day or longer to recover from a social event, especially if it’s on the larger scale.

Is this the way of most writers? What is it about our profession that attracts introverts?

Perhaps it’s because we spend so many solitary moments hunched over a keyboard creating worlds from visions in our heads. Would an extrovert have the patience to do that? Would someone who is observant rather than intuitive be able to tap into the emotions of a character? They might be able to note the mechanics of actions, but would they be able to relay what a person feels?

What personality type are you?

To find out take this short free quiz to determine where you rank among the sixteen personality types determined by Myers-Briggs. Then check it against your personality type name. When you’re done come back and share the results.

If you don’t feel up to quiz, do you consider yourself an introvert? Do you think your personality helps or hinders you as an author?  I’m a diplomat/mediator which doesn’t come as a surprise to me. If you do take the quiz, tell me if you’re surprised by the results. Are they how you see yourself? How you think others see you? Introvert or not, let’s chat in the comments!

Bio banner for author Mae Clair

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126 thoughts on “Personality Types and Writers

  1. I received INFJ-T (The Advocate), which perfectly describes me. I scored 78% Introverted, 57% Intuitive, 81% Feeling, 80% Judging, and 64% Turbulent. Every part of the analysis resonated with me. I’ve done this quiz (or one like it before) and they are very accurate. Thanks for sharing the link. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve done this test (or similar ones) several times too, Yvette and always end up with the same (or near same) results. It’s amazing how accurate they are.
      From another INFJ, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Just got to this. It’s been a busy week:) Really amazed at the test and how accurate it felt. I got ISF3, -A/-T, the Defender like Catherine. Shared this on my author Facebook page and twitter.

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. Great post, Mae! I’m an INFJ, too. I used this tool while working in the counselling field to assist others with career decisions. I first completed the MBTI in 1993, a year after my accident. It was an interesting time as I felt my body no longer fitted my personality. I was much more outgoing and spontaneous before. With time I found my place and charted my course in life. I’ll turn 43 tomorrow, and I said to my hubby, just a few hours ago, that I feel more settled and content than any other time in my life. Cheers to that! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Mae, I wrote a blog about a month ago titled “Who Am I?” discussing personality types, but have not yet published it. I am also an INFJ-T of which there are not many of us. Are you familiar with the Enneagram? My personality type was The Helper. Now, with your permission I will include your blog with mine and publish it soon. A fascinating subject that helps me to understand myself and the people around me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Karen, I just looked up the Enneagram on Google. I’m not familiar with this concept, but it sounds fascinating. Do you discuss it in your blog post? I would love to see that post and would be honored to have you include mine with yours. There certainly do seem to be many INFJ-T personality types among writers. I think it’s fascinating to get an inside look at what makes us tick as individuals. In my experience, most of these tests are spot on. Thank you for sharing today!

      Like

  10. Very vocal INFJ here (INFJ Problems – Misunderstood
    https://jessicabakkers.com/2017/05/10/infj-problems-misunderstood/)

    The MB Types really resonate with me (probably because I am an INFJ and didn’t know what was “wrong” with me until I first found MB). I have since found a whole bunch of folk on WP who identify being INFJ-P. I think maybe writers and creatives are mostly inf’s though whether it’s the inf in us that drives the creativity or the creativity that needs the inf… who knows??! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Jessica, I just hopped over and read your post (and left you a comment). I love the memes you included and your take on the INFJ personality type. I do think the majority of writers and creatives are INFs (or so it seems). Growing up and socializing with others, there aren’t that many who fit that role, but connecting on WP certainly has opened the flood gates to many 🙂
      Awesome to see you here and thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. INFJ-T (Advocate). I have to say, every category was very accurate. And it looks like I have not changed over the years, but that is NOT good. It’s a shame to go out the way you came in. Anyway, here’s the “conclusion” to the Advocate personality categories:

    Advocate Personality – Conclusion
    Few personality types are as sensitive and mysterious as Advocates. Your imagination and empathy make you someone who not only cherishes their integrity and deeply held principles but, unlike many other idealistic types, is also capable of turning those ideals into plans, and executing them.
    Yet, as an Advocate, you are likely to be easily tripped up in areas where idealism and determination are more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is navigating interpersonal conflicts, confronting unpleasant facts, pursuing self-realization, or finding a career path that aligns well with your intricate inner core, you may face numerous challenges that at times can even make you question who you really are.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Emily. I have to say that I haven’t changed over time either (except for waffling a bit between J and P at the end of my INF. In many ways I think it’s hard to change our core personalities. We may adopt other roles when needed (such as in the business world) but at the center, we remain that same personality. At least that’s been true for me.

      Thanks for sharing the additional information on the Advocate Personality. Empathy brings up something that has always resonated with me. I find that at times I mentally have to shut-off that connection because it can be so strong. I wonder if all INF feel that way.

      Great to have you here today!

      Like

  12. I got INTJ-T, which …well. It fits. Lol. I rarely ever find individuals that I can truly connect with. Or, who can at least “keep up with [my] relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering.” Especially as a woman, I’ve gotten quite used to being alone in a crowd most of the time, and as good as that is for my writing, I’ll admit I do wish I had more people I could bounce ideas off of, and just shoot the breeze with sometimes. I’m 70% introverted, so just under a third of the time that I feel the need to “people” lol. My best friend in an ENTJ-A and I have never seen him sit still long enough to write down his phone number, much less entire stories or books. I’m sure some extroverts make excellent writers, but the profession is definitely suitable for solitary souls. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Kim-Lee. I agree with you that the writing profession is far better suited for solitary souls. I know there are other INTJ’s out there (SE author Craig Boyack got that too), I guess it’s just finding them and connecting. It’s interesting that your best friend is such an extrovert, but then, I’ve often heard that opposites inspire each other. My husband and I are opposite in many ways, although we are both introverted. I find personality types fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing today!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Since Mae mentioned it, true story time. I just spent two days in a classroom with 75 attendees. My turn to present was the second day – after lunch. (That’s a whole lot of people for two solid days.) I make these presentations regularly, but as in introvert, it takes a lot out of me. The early reports are that I did great. Here’s the punchline. I nearly fell asleep at the wheel driving back home. The peopling skill is what I used to call my chameleon skill. I can do nearly anything, but sometimes I need to crawl back in my culvert for a few hours.

      Liked by 3 people

    • LOL! Okay, there’s a blip that you didn’t get a precise fit…although, I’m not supposed to work in the real estate industry either 🙂
      The full MB is definitely worth taking. I think I was given a five page report after taking mine. Extremely detailed!

      Like

  13. I first took it in a seminar held for people who were in my field of work. It was the first indication that perhaps I was in the wrong field. The majority of those in the seminar were the polar opposite. There are other tests to gauge the occupations you’re best suited for. “Writer” continued to emerge at the top of that list. Strange. at the time, I thought it was all a bunch of garbage.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Another extrovert here! ENTJ- Commander. Apparently, I have bossy- boss tendencies. Uh-oh– I need to be in charge. Which explains why I get frustrated when not in charge. Which explains why the urge is strong for me to take over book clubs, and I am never shy about poetry readings or novel critiques…
    Also, explains why I get nominated for leadership roles in volunteer organizations. If only I could turn some of my character traits into success (aka cold hard cash!)
    Advantage for writing? I can imagine myself as the director of my novel’s characters.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It sounds like your test is a good match for your personality. I wish I could be a bit more extroverted at book readings. That would certainly come in handy. It appears that you are involved in multiple organizations and clubs and are constantly busy. That is definitely an extrovert trait! Go, you! 🙂

      Like

  15. I’m ISFJ-T “The Defender.” I took a similar test on another website several ago and got ISFJ “Guardian” (I had saved the results). I was amazed I got ISFJ both times, because I’d taken the test so many years apart. I thought it might have been a little different 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Catherine, I find that the test results have been the same for me each time I take it, even years apart. I am always an INF with the last trait fluctuating between J and P because I’m always in the 50ish percentage. It’s so intriguing you had an exact match each time. It goes to show our core personalities don’t change as we age, even if our views adjust.

      Thanks for visiting and sharing!

      Like

  16. Mae, you sound like you’re a social introvert. In other words, you do well in social settings but get easily exhausted by the event. That’s what I do too. I don’t know the percentages but I’m an INTJ which is why I’ve done a lot of tech support over the years. I was at home most of April without a car after my wife had an accident and I was just fine with that. My wife would have climbed the walls after about 2 days because she’s so extroverted.

    Liked by 2 people

    • A social introvert. That’s a great way to put it, P.H!
      I do best in small social gatherings, but I can be “on” when I have to be at larger events. And yes, I’m thoroughly exhausted afterward.
      It’s interesting that you and your wife are opposites. My husband and I are both introverted. He’s retired and works part time at our local library. When I did a book-signing there last year, the library director later commented to him that “it’s odd you’re so quite and your wife is so outgoing and extroverted.”
      LOL! Can you tell I was “on” that day? I think it’s somewhat like an actor playing a role.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. MEDIATOR (INFP-A), which surprised me. However, as we grow older, we learn from our mistakes and want to help others live a different life than we did. Basically, we don’t want others to live through the tough times we did. In my writing life, I’m definitely an introvert; but at a conference, small group meeting, etc., I’m easy with reaching out and meeting new people. I love being a bi-vert!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I hit mediator too this time, and I can see myself as a “fixer.” As you said, we want to help others through hurdles, especially if we’ve experienced them ourselves. It’s great that you’re comfortable reaching out and meeting new people at events. I’m an still awkward with that, LOL.

      Thanks for visiting and sharing, Sherrey!

      Like

  18. Hi, Mae. Thanks, this was fun. I haven’t taken one of these for decades. Results still remain basically unchanged: Personality Type: ADVOCATE (INFJ-A) “Quiet and mystical, yet vey inspiring and tireless idealists” ### Have a most amazing day, dear Mae! 🙂 xo

    Liked by 4 people

  19. I am very like you, Mae. I can be the life and soul of a social event but it does deplete me and I need down time afterwards. I think maybe writers are seen as introverts because we chose to spend our spare time alone and writing. I think we chose this over socialising. Funnily enough, I have also been involved in real estate for about 15 years.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Robbie, that’s so cool! Are you a sales agent? I’m licensed but I don’t list or sell. I work primarily in marketing which allows me to employ creativity in copy, design, and social media. It’s a good fit for me being “behind the scenes.” I also handle a fair amount of IT.

      The down time you mentioned after a social event is so important to recharge our energy. It usually takes me a complete day, sometimes more to feel “myself” again. And it’s so true that many don’t understand how we choose to employ our spare time writing rather than socializing. For some people, that is a hard concept to grasp.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am not a sales agent. I am a chartered accountant but my area of expertise is property listings. I know a lot about residential, commercial, retail and industrial property and the retail of those. It is a very interesting sector.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s fabulous, Robbie! I do find real estate fascinating. I’ve learned so much during my career, and it’s a field that is always evolving,growing and changing. Definitely never boring, LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that you had two traits that changed, Teri. I think when you get in the 50ish range it often comes down to how you are feeling at the time. I think that’s why I usually waffle back and forth between INFJ and INFP.

      Glad you had fun with it!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. IN(-F/-T)(-P/-J)-T: Hmm. I’ve got a Mediator personality. Okay, I can see that. I did note though that I likely would have answered some of the questions differently ten or twenty years ago. I think I would’ve been more solidly INF(-P/-J). Age. Has to be. I think I’ve gotten more confident (wisdom??) as I’ve gotten older.

    These tests are always fun to do, and I agree, sometimes the answers depend on the day, whether I feel more combative or depressed or just “leave me the hell alone for a while”. Thanks for the exercise, Mae!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I do think aging does factor into personality. I’ve always been a core INF throughout my life but I think that last letter has waffled because of changes to my viewpoints with age. Also, as you pointed out, sometimes with mood too. I always enjoy a good personality test, especially to see how close they come to how I perceive myself. I’ve also been categorized as an A-Type Personality, which doesn’t seem to fit with the INF, but I think that part has to do with not being able to walk away from a challenge 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed the test, Julie!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. IITJ, I needed to get into the article to remember the test I took years ago. I usually spike the introvert meter, and think there should be a medal for that. I and S tend to waiver for me. I’l do like others and try the test later. I have to make a presentation to about 75 people this afternoon, and you can bet I’ll need to recharge my introvert self for hours afterward.

    Liked by 1 person

      • An imaginative and strategic thinker! I like how they group the roles into different categories. So you’re an analyst. Given what I know of you, including your work,I’d say that’s an excellent fit!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Craig, I am so with you on recharging. I’m normally fired up when I have to do a presentation before a group of people, then plummet afterward. In some ways, it’s like giving a performance or donning a different personality. How much nicer to tuck into a room with my computer and create characters 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • WOW!! I never thought of taking the test as a character, but that’s an excellent idea! I’m going to have to try that with a few of mine.
        I’m sure it provides excellent insight into their personality traits. What fun! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Irene, that’s the one I always waffle back and forth with. Advocate or Mediator. I forget the reasoning of the last letter, but I think it’s explained in more detail when you opt for a premium profile (I seem to remember doing that once). I think it’s a fairly accurate test too. At least for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Will have to try the quiz later since it’s a busy day. I do have some introvert tendencies, but I usually just call myself shy or socially awkward. Not a fan of crowds because that put me on edge. I do okay in small groups and one-on-one. Honestly, I can’t tell if I’m introverted anymore because I see so many people use the term. Many of them are socially comfortable people who simply prefer to stay home at times. I mean, I can’t see how someone is an introvert when they’re constantly going to parties and events where they’re happy to be the center of attention. Almost like the term has become trendy and will lose its meaning like what happened with ‘depressed’.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charles, I’m the same way with crowds. I don’t do well with large groups, but I’m usually fine with small groups and one-on-one (although sometimes even then, I feel like I have to be “on”). I think shyness is a trait of introversion, which in turn can result in feeling socially awkward. I grew up thinking I was shy, then shyness became introversion as I grew older. I hate being the center of attention, but there is one instance that allows me to shed my introversion without qualm. I LOVE to dance. It’s the only time, I can be comfortable in a large group, although I definitely need to recharge the next day.

      I think there is a lot of attention being given to the introvert now, so in some ways it has become “trendy.” Even so, I think you either are or you aren’t. There are a few people I know who are extreme extroverts and could never be anything but. Sometimes I look at them in awe 🙂

      Like

      • I lock up when on a dance floor. Even around family, I can’t get my body to move even though I can keep a beat. There aren’t any thoughts behind it either. Just doesn’t happen and I keep looking for a way out.

        Trendy is the best way to put it now. I see it worn as a badge of honor these days. For some reason, that doesn’t strike me as very introverted. I wonder if the Internet has changed how it works. You can be social without physically being around people.

        Liked by 3 people

      • You sound like my husband. He won’t dance either 🙂

        Excellent point about the internet. Many people who would never dream of sharing their opinion are now hopping on soapboxes to tell the masses. That’s the downside. On the plus side, it allows people who shy away from others to connect in a manner that meets their comfort zone. Which, of course, does nothing to help them over being socially awkward in public. Good and bad in everything, I guess!

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Shared this on my site. Great stuff, Mae.

    I’m a INFJ-T (Advocate)—which they say is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population. (I always knew I was weird.) I’m going to dive into this in more detail later. Very interesting. I can see how these tests could help develop a character.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for sharing, Staci.
      And the Advocate is the one I waffle back and forth with (that and mediator). I think it must depend on my mood when I take the test. There is a premium profile that gives you more detailed information. I think all you have to do is provide your email address and they send the results to you. I remember doing it once and did profile some interesting details. If you’re weird then I am too, LOL!

      Like

  24. Wow! What a quiz!

    I was totally skeptical at first, but the more I read, the more I saw ME – “a starry-eyed idealist and the bitterest of cynics” – GUILTY! LOL! I’m “The Architect” (INTJ-A) – Analyst – Confident Individualism and 80% introverted – me and Colin Powell! LOL! This explains a lot for me. I’ve always been somewhat out-sync with everyone else… and it’s never bothered me one bit! 😉 “Bookworm” is name I’ve been called most of my life – that’s never bothered me either.

    Had my results emailed to me. Will definitely have to read them through. Very interesting! Many thanks, Mae! Will definitely be sharing this!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Felicia, I’m so glad you had fun with this. The emailed results are definitely far more in depth than the quick personality score. I love how much they explain about what each category means. And isn’t it interesting how two traits that appear to be opposite can factor together? I, too, am a “starry-eyed idealist” but I’m also cynical about a number of things. You wouldn’t think those two traits could exist side-by-side, but they do!

      One of our regular SE members was also an Architect and Analyst. I’d say that’s a great thing to be. And I love the name Bookworm. I’m one too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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