Juggling a writing routine among your other life routines

 

What’s this episode about?

Welcome to the second episode of the fifth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways.

Routines in general are great. This is what I’ve been saying in this podcast since day one and I’m not going to disprove that in this episode. They’re still great and all that I suggested as information to help you build your ideal routine from before still applies. But today, I want to shift the focus a little bit, move it away from the macro picture that I painted before, emphasizing why building a writing routine is so great and instead now look at where the writing habit fits in a writer’s daily life – and why it’s not always easy to start and maintain a consistent writing routine.

Part I: From frame to cage

I wrote this episode while on my holiday. Only with the benefit of hindsight and actually getting away from my many daily routines, including my writing and author one, could I appreciate how they all fit together to create a perfect symphony of stress, unmet expectations and guilt.

I know this sounds a bit negative but hear me out – I’m the queen of routines. If there’s an activity I enjoy or think it will be beneficial, I will make a routine out of it. I will slot it in my life and start following whatever rules I set out for myself. Then rinse, repeat for any new interest I obtain. Some routines might disappear quietly into oblivion but more often than not I will do my best to follow them all, thus boarding the fast train straight to burnout.

Back in Season 1, I discussed that routines are linked to higher Meaning in Life. A study discovered that “life is not only made meaningful through extraordinary experiences but also in its daily living.” So routines can give us familiar, cozy comfort but what about when there’s not enough hours in the day to satisfy all the conditions of each routine? What to do when they clash?

I will give you an example with my March 2021 – for that month, I had a humble 9 daily routines. Briefly, there was daily author writing, daily planning, daily yoga, daily morning and evening routine, daily meal planning, daily walk, daily family time, daily self-care. There were also weekly routines like weekly goal planning, weekly social time, weekly cardio exercise.

All of these things by themselves are great but lumped together without a period to reflect how it will all work? Not as awesome as I thought. Routines give us a framework for the day but with so many, I found myself getting more and more framed by each and every one, until I was essentially in a cage, panicking and feeling trapped.

Part II: A holistic approach

If the situation I described sounds anything like yours you may be wondering, how do I stay productive, keeping up with all the routines and still maintain my sanity? Well, I’m still working it out myself but from research I see there are primarily two camps of productivity thought when it comes to sorting out your whole life and building sustainable routines – schedule builders and system makers.

The first practice, which some call ‘timeboxing’, includes working through your daily life by slotting your responsibilities in neat little boxes of time on your schedule. Nir Eyal, a writer and marketing expert, has a great guide on his blog about the benefits of using a schedule for all the aspects of your life. Briefly, he says: “If we don’t plan what we will give our attention to, we risk having our time stolen by distraction.

This method is not without its limitations of course and it’s not going to work well for people who require vast amounts of flexibility like maybe parents of small children or those who have really hectic stop-start day jobs. Stress can be reduced because you have your day planned out, leaving no chance for issues and deadlines to blindside you but on the flip side, if you fall behind, stress and feelings of failure can mount up really quickly.

Then maybe the second approach will be more suitable – creating a time-management system. The idea behind this is not to simply block out time in your calendar for everything but to take a look at the way you already spend your time and identify opportunities to streamline your processes and create a time-management strategy. Schedule building may be part of it but it’s not the only component. On the subject, one of my favorite productivity apps, Trello, has a whole article on debunking time management and suggesting ways to improve. Check it out.

Part III: Productivity through play

You may have already thought to yourself by this point, I can use elements of both schedule building and system creation. And that’s absolutely valid. Most writers will probably feel most comfortable in some split between the two, utilizing the benefits of stress relief and avoiding burnout.

I personally am more of a system builder but when the system is in place, I do build a schedule around my tasks and block out time, making sure things have a chance of actually being done in the day, minimizing procrastination. That worked for me for a very long time. With lockdown however and a myriad of other personal issues, including a significant worsening of mental health, my productivity took a hit and neither my system nor my schedule survived the change.

I wasn’t procrastinating anymore, I was slipping into a pocket dimension where nothing from the real world mattered. Everything felt detached and things that were strong motivators before, like looming deadlines, became more like suggestions. As I missed opportunities and lost momentum in my author journey, I became increasingly agitated at the fact that I knew I had to be more productive but I just couldn’t. I would start and fail. So I turned to the one thing which has always bailed me out since I was a child – I turned to play.

Part IV: Hat lotto, productivity bingo and gaming tokens

During my exploration period, where everything took way too long and was excruciatingly difficult to start, I discovered an online game which I enjoyed very much. It quickly took over my life, replacing my reality with its way more ordered, vibrant world. As I started to feel guilty about the amount of time I was putting into it and not into writing or my author business, I set out to examine which elements of it make me happy and I brainstormed ways to apply them to my writing process with the hope of boosting productivity.

I will share three of the play-productivity games I came up with. Feel free to try one or all of them, and if you want to improve them so they can serve you better, please do – and tell me about it. I’m excited to chat with fellow writers who enjoy the lighter side of productivity.

First, I tried a hat lotto. I picked up some pretty paper, wrote a number of small, broken-down tasks I had to get going with and chucked them in a hat. I started pulling out some and doing them. This helped with beginning anxiety. After every three tasks I got to play my online game for half an hour, then I would pull three more and do them. This worked well in the beginning, but its limitations started to show after a time – I realized I had many interconnected tasks to do so I couldn’t just have a random picking order.

Following that, I created another game which solved this issue. It utilizes a five-by-five grid – I called it productivity bingo. It existed on my whiteboard, where I filled every square with a task that needed doing. Then I could pick and choose what to do and prioritize either to get a ‘bingo’ line or to do what I felt like doing. For every ‘bingo’ win, I got to spend an hour in my online game. After crossing out a line, I would erase its contents and fill out the newly-opened spaces with other tasks. Again, this worked great for a time. Then, a new bout of mental health issues struck and I found that completing five tasks to get a reward was too much. If I had more stable productivity levels, I think the bingo game would have been sustainable for me.

Right now, I’m using a play system I called ‘Gaming tokens’. The gaming can be replaced by whatever activity or thing is your desired reward. I looked at my writing and author priorities, wrote them down in Trello and prepared my whiteboard. The crafty part of me was really hungry for a little side project, so I created cute cardboard tokens and was ready to use them. The rules are simple. For every hour of work, I get one gaming token which gives me 45 minutes of chill gaming time. I was surprised by how much I can get done if I have an uninterrupted hour of work. Here are some photos of my tokens and whiteboard on the blog post for this episode if you want a visual to aid the explanation.

Conclusion

To summarize, I rediscovered the simple effectiveness of the work-reward connection. It never quite worked for me before because I was following other people’s reward suggestions so the rewards never really felt rewarding. If you want to try any of the productivity games or even make your own, my one advice would be to start with picking your reward.

What are the things that bring you joy but may fall under ‘guilty pleasures’? Now is the time to harness the power of pleasure and put it towards your productivity. I’m still learning, trying things out and changing every day but that’s okay. After lots of thinking, I came to the conclusion that this is the only way to juggle many routines at the same time – by reflecting on your priorities and current practices and not being afraid to turn to something unorthodox if it means your work gets done and you’re your happiest self.

Next week on Tuesday, for the final episode of this season, I will discuss why we should return to comforting pieces of fiction when our writer journeys take unexpected turns that we’re struggling to process. One of my favorite books, and the one I re-read when I’m feeling stuck in life, is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I will talk a bit about how I interpret some of his ideas and how they have helped me with my mental health and my writer’s journey.

If you want to be up to date on Pen Garden news, subscribe to the show and sign up to my newsletter – sign up form available on the right (or bottom if you’re on mobile). Newsletters come once in the beginning of a season and once at the end so your inbox won’t fill up. As a bonus, all of them feature a cute animal and a book recommendation. So no spam, only cups of writing joy.

If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque. Thanks very much for listening/reading everyone. Hope you have an awesome week and speak to you soon.

Sources

 

Listen and subscribe

 

Listen to The previous seasons

 

 

SEASON 4 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!

 

What’s this Season about?

Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Success & Failure. After a short break, I’ve come back to the podcast with lots of new ideas so I’m once again very excited to share them with you.

Learn How success and failure can shape your routine

In this season I will look at writer success and failure, as perceived by writers themselves, and help you understand how these two seemingly opposing things can both change the way you view your writing practice. They can both wreak havoc in whatever writing routine you’ve established so I’m going to examine them through the lens of mental health and productivity, and leave you with some tips to manage the change when it inevitably happens.

In the next five episodes, you will learn about:

  • writing practice highs and lows, and how they impact your writing routine. I’ve asked writers about what they perceive as success and failure and their answers were eye-opening.
  • how to deal with success, whatever that means to you. It can introduce new stresses and unexpected time black holes in your writing practice, so reestablishing your routine and keeping your focus on the important things is important.
  • how to accept criticism and avoid the mental health traps that rejection and critical feedback inevitably bring. Writers of any kind will encounter this at some point in their practice, be it from agents, editors, clients, readers or even family members and friends. Learning how not to be discouraged is immensely useful both for your writing life but also for your overall mental health too.
  • how to avoid some of the writing goal-setting pitfalls by reassessing your aspirations as a writer and crafting a writing routine tailored to your personal situation.
  • how those around you affect what you perceive as success in writing, and how well-meaning peers can make you mistakenly believe that you’re failing. Evaluating the usefulness expectations friends and family have for us, as well as society as a whole, is something every writer should take some time to do.

Book ANNOUNCEMENT

The Lavender Phantom, my upcoming thriller romance, is now available for presale at a special price for all the early birds. The creation of that book has informed a lot of the content I’ve discussed in this podcast, so I’m excited to share it with you all. It’s not been an easy journey but I’ve learned a lot along the way about writing, mental health and productivity.

Listen and Join The Conversation

Episodes come out weekly on Tuesdays, with episode 1 available to listen right now. After the end of this season, as before, there will be a reflection break, for me and for you guys. I’m currently considering a change in format which will come into the new year but more about that closer to the time.

If you want to be up to date on Pen Garden news, subscribe to the show and sign up to my newsletter – sign up form available on the right (or bottom if you’re on mobile). Newsletters come once in the beginning of a season and once at the end so your inbox won’t fill up. As a bonus, all of them feature a cute animal and a book recommendation. So no spam, only cups of writing joy.

If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque.

Episode 2 comes out next week

Join me on your favorite podcasting platform!

 

Listen to all Available episodes of season 4:

Keep your writing career expectations in check– Success & Failure Episode 5

    Keep your writing career expectations in check What’s this episode about? Welcome to the final Episode 5 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In episode one of this season, an author I surveyed about […]

Set realistic writing goals– Success & Failure Episode 4

    Set realistic writing goals for 2021 What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 4 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Happy New Year! Let’s start 2021 with a bang and talk about setting achievable […]

Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey– Success & Failure Episode 3

    Accepting feedback and rejection in your writing journey What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 3 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. We’re midway through season four, so it’s the best place to tackle […]

Success and your writing routine – Success & Failure Episode 2

    Success and your writing routine What’s this episode about? Welcome to Episode 2 of the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. In this episode, I will look into why achieving your writer career dreams can be […]

Writers’ perception on creative success & failure – Success & Failure Episode 1

    Writers’ perception on creative success & failure What’s this episode about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the blog post below for the main takeaways. Today I will try to define what writerly success and failure is, and how they impact […]

Season 4 – Success & Failure – Overview

    SEASON 4 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!   What’s this Season about? Welcome to the fourth season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Success & Failure. After a short break, I’ve come back to the podcast with lots of new ideas so I’m once again very excited to share them with […]

 

Or the episodes from seasonS 1,2&3:

 

 

 

SEASON 3 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!

 

What’s this episode about?

Welcome to the third season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Inspiration. After a short break, I’ve come back to the podcast with lots of new ideas so I’m once again very excited to share them with you. In this season, there is going to be a secret bonus episode.

Learn about inspiration and capture it

Inspiration is mysterious for both creators and scientists but absolutely essential to the creative process. In this season I will try to de-mistify it and offer you some practices which might be useful if you want to foster inspiration in your writing routines. 

In the next five episodes, you will learn about:

  • the theory and science of inspiration – what it was perceived to be, what it is viewed as now and how can you fit this knowledge in your writing practice to empower your creativity. I learned a lot while researching this episode so make sure you take a look – I bet there will be at least something new and unexpected there for you.
  • procrastination and how we can trick out procrastinating brains to be creatively productive. There I discuss what I call productive procrastination, or consuming inspiring media to ensure you are at the top of your game when your procrastination subsides.
  • dreams and their day cousins, the daydreams. Dreaming opens the door of our subconsciousness and lets us tap into the hidden depths of our creativity. Many of my writing ideas come from things my mind has shown me while I’ve been asleep so I can’t wait to delve into this topic and how it relates to inspiration.
  • how brainstorming can jump start your inspiration and how writing exercises can get you out of a slump and into a new dawn of creativity.
  • the often neglected social aspect of writing and inspiration. There I will talk about the benefits of writing retreats, writing groups and writing friends and how their mere existence around you can be inspirational.

BONUS Episode ANNOUNCEMENT

On the 1st of November, many writers will be starting a massive undertaking. They will be trying to write a novel in 30 days. And that’s fantastic.

I’m of course talking about Nanowrimo. I have taken part in National Novel Writing Month four times so far and will take part this year again. It’s an amazing time which can leave you buzzing from all the words you’re putting down on the page every day, all the friends you’ve made, all the things you’ve learned. Or it can be extremely demoralizing as you try to reach the daily wordcount goal but the graph slips from its intended trajectory, leaving you feeling deflated and unmotivated.

The bonus episode will look into how you can be productive during this month and keep your mental health, optimizing your chances of winning Nanowrimo. And if you’re not participating, come listen anyway – there will be lots of useful suggestions which can help with the mental health side of writing, no matter what kind of a writer you are.

Listen and Join The Conversation

Episodes come out weekly on Tuesdays, with episode 1 available to listen right now. After each season, there will be a one-week reflection break, for me and for you guys, and then a new season will be available the Tuesday after the break. I will explain more about this in the final episode of this season.

If you want to be up to date on Pen Garden news, subscribe to the show and sign up to my newsletter. I promise no spam, only cups of writing joy. If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque.

Episode 2 comes out next week

Join me on your favorite podcasting platform!

 

Listen to all Available episodes of season 3:

Writing friends, writing communities and writing retreats – Inspiration Episode 5

  Writing friends, writing communities and writing retreats What’s this episode about? Welcome to the final episode of the third season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. Today I will look into the often neglected social aspect of writing and inspiration. […]

Creative brainstorming and writing exercises – Inspiration Episode 4

    Creative brainstorming and writing exercises What’s this episode about? Welcome to the fourth episode of the third season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. Today I will be talking about how brainstorming can jump start your inspiration and how […]

Sleep, dreams and creative inspiration – Inspiration Episode 3

    Sleep, dreams and creative inspiration What’s this episode about? Welcome to the third episode of the third season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. Today, I’m going to talk about sleep, dreams and how we can prime our subconscious […]

9 Mental Health Traps of NaNoWriMo and how to avoid them – S3 Bonus episode

    9 Mental Health Traps of NaNoWriMo and how to avoid them What’s this episode about? Welcome to November and this bonus episode of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to it in full above and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. This podcast talks about mental health and writing productivity. NaNoWriMo, […]

Trick yourself out of procrastination – Inspiration Episode 2

    Trick yourself out of procrastination and refill your creative well What’s this episode about? Welcome to the second episode of the third season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. This week, I will discuss a topic which all […]

Theory of writing inspiration – Inspiration Episode 1

    Theory of writing inspiration What’s this episode about? Welcome to the third season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. Today’s episode focuses on the theory and science of inspiration – what it was perceived to be, what it […]

Season 3 – Inspiration – Overview

    SEASON 3 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!   What’s this episode about? Welcome to the third season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Inspiration. After a short break, I’ve come back to the podcast with lots of new ideas so I’m once again very excited to share them with you. In […]

 

Or the episodes from seasonS 1&2:

 

SEASON 2 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE!

What’s this episode about?

Welcome to the second season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Your Personality because it’s important we know ourselves before we begin making any changes to the way we lead our lives, with writing and everything. Listen to the overview above to find out what I’ve included in the first season and then jump straight into it.

Find your writing self

This new season is jam packed with interesting tidbits about how to be a productive writer by making decisions informed by data around your MBTI personality type. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, before you continue listening to this, go listen to episode 2 from Season 1, where I explain why your personality type is important to your creative practice and how to discover yours.

In the next five episodes, you will learn about:

  • habits – what they are and how to build good ones. Habits are different from routines and you need to sort those out first before you set out to create a productive routine for your creative self;
  • creative motivation and what motivates different people. It comes out on Tuesday next week and will get you thinking about what motivates your writing and how to tailor your practice so you can ensure maximum success;
  • your most creative time by using your personality type insights as inspiration. Early worms, night owls and everyone in between would benefit from listening – sitting down to write at the right time for you will guarantee that you have the most productive session you can have;
  • the effect your personality has on your writing environment. The different personality types get their creative energy spikes from different things so it’s useful to know where to go and who to surround yourself with when you decide to create;
  • routines and how the different personality types respond to them. To some it comes more easily than others but I have some ideas and inspiration for everyone in that episode.

Listen and Join The Conversation

Episodes come out weekly on Tuesdays, with episode 1 available to listen right now. After each season, there will be a one-week reflection break, for me and for you guys, and then a new season will be available the Tuesday after the break. I will explain more about this in the final episode of this season.

If you want to be up to date on Pen Garden news, subscribe to the show and sign up to my newsletter. I promise no spam, only cups of writing joy. If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque.

Episode 2 comes out next week

Join me on your favorite podcasting platform!

Listen to all Available episodes of season 2:

Writing routines are for all personality types – Your Personality Episode 5

    Writing routines are for all personality types What’s this episode about? Welcome to the final episode of the second season of The Pen Garden podcast. Listen to it in full and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. The Pen Garden is the place where I share my little nuggets of […]

Discover your best writing environment – Your Personality Episode 4

    Discover your best writing environment What’s this episode about? Welcome to the fourth episode of the second season of The Pen Garden podcast. Listen to it in full and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. When I was younger I thought the only thing I needed to be able to […]

Find your most creative writing time – Your Personality Episode 3

    Find your most creative writing time What’s this episode about? Welcome to the middle of the second season of The Pen Garden podcast. Listen to the full third episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. Today, 22nd September, is “Dear Diary Day” – a day in the year when […]

Uncover you inner writing motivation – Your Personality Episode 2

    Uncover you inner writing motivation What’s this episode about? Welcome to the second season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full second episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. The Pen Garden is the place where I share my little nuggets of knowledge about writing and mental […]

Theory of habits & writing – Your Personality Episode 1

Theory of habits and writing What’s this episode about? Welcome to the second season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the full first episode and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. In this episode, I will talk about habits – what they are, how they’re different from routines, why it’s so […]

Season 2 – Your Personality – Overview

SEASON 2 OF THE PEN GARDEN IS HERE! What’s this episode about? Welcome to the second season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Your Personality because it’s important we know ourselves before we begin making any changes to the way we lead our lives, with writing and everything. Listen to the overview above to […]

 

Or the episodes from season 1, beginnings:

 

Self-care & Writing – Beginnings Episode 1

Writing and self-care What’s this episode about? Be kind to the writers in your life This podcast starts in the wonderful month of September. This whole month in United States is National ‘Be kind to Writers and Editors’ Month. It’s a wonderful time to appreciate all writers and editors in our lives, give them some […]

Burnout in writers – Beginnings Episode 4

Burnout in writers What’s this episode about? Welcome to the first season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to episode 4 in full above and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. I’m a writer just like you and as I’ve said before, I have been writing actively for the past 8 years. […]

Your social bubble & writing productivity – Beginnings Episode 3

Your social bubble and writing productivity What’s this episode about? Welcome to the first season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to episode 3 in full above and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. Following the previous two topics, it is only fair that we look at what outside factors can affect […]

Your personality & writing productivity – Beginnings Episode 2

Your personality and writing productivity What’s this episode about? Welcome to the first season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to episode 2 in full above and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. In this episode I talk a little bit about how to determine your personality type and how that can […]

Writing routines are great – Beginnings Episode 5

Writing routines are great What’s this episode about? Welcome to the first season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to the final episode 5 in full above and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways. Routine is a word which sparks both joy and dread depending on your outlook on life. If you […]

Season 1 – Beginnings – Overview

Season 1 of The Pen Garden is here! What’s this episode about? Welcome to the first season of The Pen Garden Podcast. It’s titled Beginnings because we all start from somewhere. Listen to the overview above to find out what I’ve included in the first season and then jump straight into it. This season of […]

Your personality and writing productivity

What’s this episode about?

Welcome to the first season of The Pen Garden Podcast. Listen to episode 2 in full above and/or scan the show notes below for the main takeaways.

In this episode I talk a little bit about how to determine your personality type and how that can help you shape your writing routine. Understanding what drives you and what your strengths and limitations are will help you focus your efforts and create a routine that is a perfect fit, with you and your needs at its core.

Your personality

As we found out the benefits of self-care and that it’s important to tailor it to your own life, let’s talk about personality. Your personality is only one part of your creative self – there’s also your environment and experiences that have shaped who you are as a person and a writer. Your decision-making will also be influenced by your writing goals so take everything I say with a grain of salt. People with the same personality can lead massively different lives so the information in this podcast is to inform personal growth and give you the tools to embark on a self-awareness journey, nothing more. Don’t feel like a personality type is a box you need to fit in, take it as a signpost to your best self.

You might be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or this name might mean nothing to you – to bring everyone on the same page, I will briefly explain what it is and why I have chosen it as the personality type indicator I will be urging you to get acquainted with after you finish listening. For short I will be calling it MBTI from this point on.

Psychological type theory and MBTI

The theory of psychological type was introduced in the 1920s by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. His work inspired many scholars to develop their own frameworks of personality types, wishing to expand the field and add more detail to his initial findings. The essence of the theory is that seemingly random variation in human behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.

The MBTI tool was then developed in the 1940s by a mother-daughter duo, Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs, who aimed to make the insights of type theory more widely accessible. Since then, research into this has continued, making the Indicator a robust tool.

Finding your personality type

What does the tool actually measure and why is it so helpful for building self-awareness? The book MBTI® Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® explains that your personality type is formed when you decide on your preference for each of the following four categories: Favorite world, Information, Decisions and Structure.

Here’s a short excerpt of the Manual providing a bit more background on each of these categories:

Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

When you decide on each of those four, your personality type will be expressed as a code with four letters and you will be able to delve into the results to find out what makes you tick and how to play to your strengths.

Here you might be wondering how to decide accurately where you fall on the spectrum of these four categories. And that’s a good question, particularly because by today, millions of people worldwide have taken the Indicator each year since its first publication in 1962.

Thanks to the internet, the MBTI is something anyone with access to a computer can take and does not require you to go to a professional. There are many websites which offer to provide you with your type after asking a varying number of questions with varying degree of accuracy in the interpretation of your answers.

I would recommend www.16personalities.com. This is not sponsored but I have chosen it because it’s fast and easy and its blended approach to the theory introduces a fifth category which can bring more detail into the specifics of each of the 16 types.

All that said, if you wanted to take the personality test and have the results explained by a trained practitioner, you can. Links to information about that are down in the Sources section.

My MBTI type

Before you set off and do the test yourself, or take another more detailed look at your already known type, I want to tell you a bit about my type. I’m an INFJ, labeled on www.16personalities.com as ‘The Advocate’. I have also seen it as ‘The Idealist’. Breaking down the letters, it means I’m Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging.

All of these traits definitely affect how I have constructed my writing routine. As an introvert, I am at my best when I’m focusing on my work alone, I prefer writing in quiet places by myself, like at home or in libraries. I don’t deal too well with writing in socially-heavy spaces like coffee shops and guided writing retreats.

I’m intuitive, which means I enjoy creative writing more than copywriting. I wish I had taken this test before I decided to study journalism many years ago not realizing writing was not all the same.

As a Feeling type, I get really captivated by what I write so I make sure not to write too close to my bedtime – otherwise I stare at the ceiling, my story still writing itself in my brain while I can’t switch off.

My last trait is Judging, which means I like to decide on things and follow through. This is why my routine is meticulously planned and executed, with even breaks and rewards planned in. It gives my writing structure which quiets my emotional side and lets me just sit down and write. It works.

I share the same type as Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. Not sure how 16personalities figured those out but that’s a lot of pressure to live up to with my tiny podcast. All types have celebrity examples so if you look up your type there, you can find some famous people inspiration.

sO, TO SUMMARIZE…

Finding your personality type is not only a bit of fun but can also help you know yourself better and inspire new ideas when it comes to forming or refreshing your writing routine. The website I recommend you check out is www.16personalities.com but any other resource will do, provided it gives you a result that you feel is accurate and helpful. I would love to hear what type you are and how it informs your daily life, if at all.

Next week, I’m diving straight into season two – Your personality, where I will dig deep into what are the best approaches to a writing routine for the different MBTI types. Come join me by subscribing to the show on your favorite podcasting platform.

If you want to be up to date on Pen Garden news, subscribe to the show and sign up to my newsletter. I promise no spam, only cups of writing joy.

If you want to continue the conversation, you can poke me on The Pen Garden Facebook page or tweet me @laineydelaroque. Thanks very much for listening everyone. Hope you have an awesome week and speak to you soon.

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