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 health and empower writers to take control of their writing routines. I hope this new season, jam packed with interesting tidbits about how to be a productive writer by knowing your personality, will be useful to you. I can’t wait to hear about your new and improved writing practices.
In this episode, I dive straight into what creative motivation is and then break it down for all MBTI personality types. So bring up in your head the memory of your personality type. I will be using the terms set out by 16personalities.com – there is a table below where you can double-check your type if you forget its name or its letter combination. 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 and how to find yours.
MBTI personality types table
|Architect (INTJ)||Advocate (INFJ)||Logistician (ISTJ)||Virtuoso (ISTP)|
|Logician (INTP)||Mediator (INFP)||Defender (ISFJ)||Adventurer (ISFP)|
|Commander (ENTJ)||Protagonist (ENFJ)||Executive (ESTJ)||Entrepreneur (ESTP)|
|Debater (ENTP)||Campaigner (ENFP)||Consul (ESFJ)||Entertainer (ESFP)|
When I asked my friend Google what exactly was the definition of creativity, it told me it was “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something”. It’s the ability to see the world and put something new into it, something which came from within you and found expression on the outside. But for this expression to take shape, we need to find the motivation to get it out of us.
This intrinsic motivation, according to scholars has four parts: Expression, mission, passion and commitment. Expression allows for the creative mind to bring the idea into reality via a medium of choice. Mission is the feeling that the idea is worth pursuing, that it is ‘the bearer of an ideal’ of sorts. Passion is the unrelenting desire that walks hand in hand with the creative process, making the creator unable to leave an idea until it’s out there. Commitment is the patience with which the creator pursues their expression, mission and passion. When you nail this motivation, as a writer, you enter a state of flow, where words magically appear on pages and you feel productive. Different people will achieve success in this by taking different approaches. I’m going to look at each of the personality types as defined on 16personalities.com, and try to give you some inspiration about how to tackle this and hopefully reach the deep-running waters of your creative well.
I will start with the personalities who are most sensitive to distractions. We all hate distraction but nothing prevents these two personalities from getting in a flow state more than being interrupted or unable to escape a situation they don’t want to be in when inspired to write. Unsurprisingly, these are the Architects and the Mediators – both sharing the Introverted and intuitive trait, they need to go deep into themselves to find their mojo. Architects need a quiet time to focus, while Mediators, 16personalities.com says “combine their visionary nature with their open-mindedness to allow them to see things from unconventional perspectives. When something captures Mediators’ imagination and speaks to their beliefs, they go all in, dedicating their time, energy, thoughts and emotions to the project.” Tolkien was a Mediator personality type, which is not surprising, because they make great authors.
Lovers of recognition
Similarly to my previous point, we all love recognition but for some us, it’s good enough if our writing is out there. Some of us write because it pays the bills and some of us do it to de-stress, without ever sharing our words with another living soul. But for Consuls and Entertainers, getting recognized is a key motivator, one that can hinder them or propel them forward. They both share the Extroverted and Sensing trait, which means they place a lot of importance in what people think about them. A famous Consul is Taylor Swift, who has put her whole dating history is song, her interactions with others clearly fueling her creativity.
Do it for the people
Some of us find the purest inspiration in people – we write to make their day a bit brighter, we write to help educate them and get better at the things that improve their life. We write to pay it forward, to inspire in return. These five personalities put people in the heart of their creativity – Advocates, Protagonists, Defenders, Campaigners and Adventurers all share the Feeling trait which makes them best at empathizing with others and providing writing that makes a difference. Marie Kondo is a famous Advocate and if you read her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ you will feel her desire to help people de-clutter their lives and live with more joy seeping from every word.
Do it because it’s right
Another set of personalities find inspiration in their writing because said inspiration doesn’t let them sleep at night and plagues their thoughts when they should be doing any other daily tasks. It’s the people who find motivation by wanting to share their knowledge of improvement and complete projects because it’s right. They are the type most likely to start and finish writing a novel. These are the Commanders, Logisticians and Executives – all sharing the Thinking and Judging traits, they easily see the value of a finished task and motivate themselves with thoughts of completion achievements. With this attitude, it is not surprising that John Rockfeller, having the Executive personality managed to become the “wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history” according to Wikipedia. This following quote underlines his strict internal motivations: “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”
Do it just because
And while some find motivation in completion, others find it everywhere around them. Inspiration strikes at random times and connects seemingly unrelated things to be created and questioned. They do it for the science, so to speak, or just because they had a wacky idea that is new and exciting. They pursue their creativity always because it follows their every step, it is ingrained in their daily life. The four remaining personality types – Logicians, Debaters, Virtuosos and Entrepreneurs find their inspiration by constantly asking ‘What if’ and having debates about things. It is unsurprising they all share the Thinking trait – new knowledge fascinates them and gives meaning to their creative practice. Famous Entrepreneur type Ernest Hemingway said that ““As a writer you should not judge. You should understand.” And that is the core motivation of these four personality types – to know and understand as much as possible.
sO, TO SUMMARIZE…
All of these could apply to every personality. I have mentioned which personalities are most affected by certain motivators and that doesn’t mean that other personalities won’t find inspiration in those too. It is just data, prevalence and a bit of fun. All these statements are based on personality type research shared on 16personalities.com.
In the next episode, I continue this deep exploration of how personality type can inspire your writing practice and delve into what your most creative writing time might be according to your personality. I will also talk about some interesting research into creative times and sprinkle some celebrity inspiration to help you get in the mood of thinking how you can best utilize your most creative time in your daily writing habit.
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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.
- 16personalities.com (website)
- Creativity and Intrinsic Motivation: Exploring a Complex Relationship (journal article)
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