QUOTE: “Writers are among the most sensitive, most intellectually anarchic, most representative, most probing of artists. The writer’s ability to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange, and to mystify the familiar – all this is the test of her or his power.” ∼ Toni Morrison, “The Source of Self-Regard”
NOTE : Part 1 is more about styles or categories or writing.
The following list is about personality-type writers.
♛ CLOSET Writers
They’ll never refer to themselves as a writer. In fact, many of these might not even know they are. Although they often have great ideas & sharp writing skills, they’re too shy to share their work. And heaven forbid someone should ever see their unedited drafts! Unfortunately, some of their best ideas will follow them to the grave, unless a friend miraculously stumbles across their secret manuscripts
They’re a ‘jack of all trades’, having tried just about every type of writing you can imagine, from nonfiction self-help guides to romance novels. Just try putting them in a box – they won’t stand for it!
They want to leave their “real” world behind, if only for a while. They may have a job that’s not fulfilling, or not satisfied with their relationships – but whatever ails them, writing gives them a channel to another life, a path to freedom.
The Escapist may or may not be a Closet Writer, & maybe wouldn’t like doing it full-time if given the chance, but as long as they’ve got a pen in their hand, they can happily get lost in another world – hopefully one that we readers will benefit from
♛ IDEA MACHINEs
They can find inspiration anywhere & at any moment. That’s why it’s imperative for them to always carry a small notepad or keep sticky notes handy. If they don’t keep track of all those ideas, most will never see the light of day.
It’s rare to come across an Idea Machine with writer’s block, at least in the early stages of creating. Unfortunately, many of their ideas never get expressed, because they’re too easily distracted by the next flashing lightbulb
These are not far off from the Closet Writer, but their shyness isn’t about the fact that they write. Instead, it’s just about being an introvert – happily sitting alone, hunched over their laptop in a coffee shop. They prefer the company of notepads & fresh Word documents over people, which is normal for them.
They do what the Plotter couldn’t even imagine – starting with an idea, & just letting the rest flow from there.
They’ll have a vague idea of where & how the story ends up, but it doesn’t keep them up at night. They embody the quip “flying by the seat of your pants”.
♛ SPEED RACERs
Opposite of the Tortured ones, these get an idea, & know how to run with it – fast. Their talent is in their ability to articulate ideas clearly & quickly – although they usually need a good editor once it’s done.
Ian Fleming was notoriously fast churning out his Bond novels – averaging about 6 weeks for each installment.
Of course, a writer’s speed might change, depending on what they’re writing, how much research needs to be done first…. but in general, once they get started, there’s no stopping them.
These usually start out as a Reluctant writer, or even a Closet Writer. But there’s something burning inside, a story that just needs to get out.
Maybe they survived a war, or overcame extraordinary life circumstances. Whatever it was, they feel a responsibility to share that story with the world. Their experiences ofter show up as memoirs, though they might also turn into fascinating fiction
♛ TORTURED NOVELISTs
These are never satisfied. In fact, they could spend years rewriting the last 3 chapters of their novel before letting anyone see it. Maybe they’re perfectionists, or maybe they love the story so much they really want to do it justice.
They can probably be found locked in their library or office, downing endless cups of coffee – or something else – & shooting yet another draft into the wastebasket.
EXP: Ernest Hemingway rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms 47 times, while F. Scott Fitzgerald continued to rewrite The Great Gatsby even years after it had been published
♛ WRITING SNOBs
They have a reading equivalent, & you’ll know them when you meet them. They’ll go on & on about their process, & about whatever the latest “in” author is doing. They only read high-brow literature & write exclusively in leather-bound journals shipped straight from Florence. Oh, and their coffee is always black. Always.
NEXT : Writing for Personal Growth, #1