Who we are affects our writing just as much as what we do.
Although personality is not the be all and end all of our writing, it is a powerful contributing factor to our process , that is, the way we approach writing and perhaps even which pieces/genres themselves we’re more likely to produce.
Process not Success
It is important to note that while personality can affect our writing process, it, emphatically, does not determine our success. Success is made up of so much more than our base programming. It is the product of discipline, opportunity and sometimes even coincidence! When it comes to success, we are so, so much more than our personalities!
So while personality does not determine success, it often influences the path we take to get there.
Enter the Enneagram! Have you heard of it? We have and it’s driving us wild with speculation!
According to the Enneagram Institute, the Enneagram is “one of the most powerful and insightful tools for understanding ourselves and others. At its core, the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.”
The Enneagram system suggests that our personality as a whole is itself a product of nature and nurture- genetics and the environmental factors that shaped us during childhood. It consists of 9 types most commonly referred to as:
Type 1: the Reformer
Type 2: the Helper
Type 3: the Achiever
Type 4: the Individualist
Type 5: the Observer
Type 6: the Loyalist
Type 7: the Enthusiast
Type 8: the Challenger
Type 9: the Peacemaker
Type Ones are principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
Type Twos are generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
Type Threes are adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
Type Fours are expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
Type Fives are perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
Type Sixes are engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
Type Sevens are spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
Type Eights are self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational
Type Nines are receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.
Beneath these very general descriptions lie rich and complex anthologies of motivations, fears and longings which influence every aspect of the person’s life.
In fact, we bet that we could probably predict which types of Pacemaker plans each type would likely create and follow e.g., achievement oriented, excelling and image-conscious Type Threes might create Pacemakerplans which are high intensity and unforgiving as they don’t just love reaching goals, but prefer to SMASH them! Methodical, principled, perfectionistic Type Ones might opt for a more steady pace for their Pacemakerplans, with many customizations for daily work load and intensity, because they love planning and details and care that the method they choose is not unnecessarily hasty or reckless, and gives them enough time to comfortably hit their goals. Cautious, anxious, responsible Type Sixes will definitely schedule some buffer time at the end of their plans, ‘just in case’ and, ‘just to be safe’, they may likely choose to Bite the Bullet and do more at the start, as anxiety might propel them to do more now because ‘you never know what could happen later’! They’re all about being prepared!
Cerebral, secretive and isolated Type Fives are all about energy conservation- that is conserving their energy and constantly redirecting it from physical demands of people and place, toward the more mental acts of acquiring knowledge. So Pacemakerplans for these types will leave plenty of room for research and exploration into the topic at hand which may ultimately leave less room for the actual writing! Generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing Type Twos on the other hand, are all about people and would willingly and eagerly sacrifice their own agendas to help others at the drop of a hat. So while they may have the best intentions of hitting all their goals in a steady manner, they may end up missing deadlines and constantly reworking plans to keep up with all the life that keeps happening! Expressive, self-absorbed, artistic Type Fours need planning that will accommodate their creativity, not restrict it. They may use notes and definitely color-code all of their plans, with each plan having a color that perfectly matches the essence of the particular work. We can also see people of this type opting for the Graph display for their progress instead of the more rigid Table or Calendar or even Bar Graph options as the Line Graph shows movement and isn’t as academic feeling as the others.
Conflict-avoidant, easy-going, complacent Type Nines can struggle with finding the motivation and energy to get stuff done. They are very much go-with-the-flow people and would probably create Pacemakerplans which bend and contort around other people’s schedules, so as to avoid conflicts in their personal lives, and which would allow them to hit their targets in steady, predictable ways that don’t leave them feeling hurried or overwhelmed. Enthusiastic, spontaneous and sometimes scattered Type Sevens might prefer not to be confined to a plan at all, and may opt to use Pacemaker to simply track their progress as they go along! If they do create a plan, they’ll probably make sure to opt for the display to adapt to their actual progress instead of staying the same, so that their plan becomes less static and more dynamic! Type Eights never back down from a challenge and may just end up getting most of their progress done fairly close to the deadline when the pressure gets high- what feels likes panic to most people, feels invigorating to these folks!
BUT we could be totally wrong! The only way for us to know for sure is if you take the test with us and let us know how your personality affects your writing planning!
People are generally divided in just how much stock they put into various personality typologies and goodness knows there are many, many such typologies out there. But you don’t have to be a devotee to be open to any insights and motivations gained through their wisdom.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be diving into the Enneagram, specifically as it relates to the possible effects of our Enneagram personality type on our writing process. But we don’t want you to just be an observer as we go along, we’d love for you to participate as well. So consider taking the test and join us over the next 9 weeks as we dive into the various ways your personality type might be affecting your writing, and how you might use that knowledge to get the most out of your writing- and Pacemaker- experience! Stay tuned!
There are tons of places online where the test can be taken for free, but here’s one we recommend. The key is to be totally honest with your answers. Don’t answer from the perspective of your ideal self, answer truthfully from the perspective of where you are now. Your result should feel eerily accurate and personal!
If you want to just dive into the Types for yourself, you can do so here or here or any of the other thousands of places online where the Enneagram is being shared!
HUGE DISCLAIMER: we are not psychologists or therapists or certified Enneagram Coaches e.t.c., and in no way is anything we write in this series to be taken as medical advice. Any information provided in this series is for informational purposes only!