Hi SE friends! Gwen with you today, and we’re going to explore another element of typology as it relates to writing.
You may recall that my prior two posts focused on Extroversion/Introversion and Sensation/Intuition, per the work of Dr. Carl Jung. Today I will continue that journey by focusing on Jung’s two modes of judging – Thinking and Feeling. If you are unsure of your typology, and if you are interested, you can take the short test provided here. There are longer tests available that are more accurate, but this short one offers plenty of insight.
Let’s begin with a story.
Most of my working years were spent on college campuses. My supervisor at the final institution was a geophysicist with two PhDs. Needless to say, he is a strong Thinker type. I’m a strong Feeler type. It took one meeting with him to realize that if I were to be successful in my position, I needed to learn to speak his language. He wasn’t interested in how people might feel and delegated all such matters to me. He was focused on provable facts, evidence-based conclusions, and clear logical steps to reach determined goals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m interested in the same, but at the forefront of my decision-making are people. When my boss addressed the faculty or other groups, he provided a point by point analysis and plan. When I spoke to the same gatherings, I tried to evoke their partnership for a course of action. We were both right, and most of the time, our two approaches complemented one another.
All of us make judgments and use both objective and subjective reasoning. But we use one approach more than the other and that dominant approach finds its way into our writing. Below are a few much-loved Thinker-type writers. They tend to be well organized and are often described as plotters.
- Lewis Carroll
- Hannah Arendt
- George Bernard Shaw
- Ayn Rand
- Mark Twain
For comparison purposes, I’ve also identified some beloved Feeler-type writers. They are natural improvisors, and their first drafts would probably horrify any true Thinker-type.
- Kurt Vonnegut
- Erica Jong
- Anne Frank
- Agatha Christie
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Let’s see if we can detect a difference in their styles. I’ve taken the liberty of listing a well-known quote from each of them. The Feeler writers are shaded and their names bolded for ease of comparison.
Can you detect a difference in style, slight though it might be? Did you relate to one type more than another?
When I began this typology journey, I didn’t know what I’d find or if there was any value to my quest. But with each step, doors opened, and I began to see a beautifully diverse writing world. We are all unique and through our chosen genres and singular writing styles, we share bits and pieces of who we are, whether we intend to or not. How incredible is that!
I look forward to your comments and to meeting you through your books.
Until my next post,