What type of writer are you?
The Juggler Writer
You are probably working, have a family, keep a home, have social and extended family commitments. You could be a man or a woman but I think it is more likely that you are a woman. You feel as if you are constantly on the go, running from one job to the next, keeping all your plates spinning. You feel busy, chaotic and disorganised yet still find time to write – but at no fixed time – just whenever you can. You probably see your life as a bit of a crazy circus and yourself as an accident waiting to happen with all those balls in the air. But, despite this, you are no clown. Others are jealous of you and wish they could juggle as well as you. You are not completely happy with your writing output, always wish you could spend more time on it, but are reasonably successful. You may see yourself as too many things to call yourself just a writer and you may never stop taking on other activities. When your family and work commitments lessen you are probably the type of person to take on new activities and hobbies which compliment your writing. I suspect your writing is witty, observant and easy to relate to. Because you are modest your writing is probably better than those around you realise and you often have to write in a house that is less than peaceful.
You are quite happy to scrap an idea and start a new one in life and in writing, yet you remain loyal, friendly and reliable and take your commitments very seriously. I, for one, am very jealous of people like you and admire you immensely.
The Organised Writer
You also have commitments but you have pinned everything down. You have nailed your writing time to evenings, or early mornings or weekends. You have a specific writing time and place. You have a diary. Your plates are not spinning. You have projects that you pick up and put down and when you are not writing you are doing something else. You have an important job or a special duty in life and I see your life planned out months – if not years – in advance. Perhaps you have a farm or you are a carer or have an important job in society – something time-consuming that cannot be put on hold. But you know where your spare moments may be and have scheduled them in advance as writing time. You have probably enlisted the help or support of others or you pay someone to do the domestic chores. I believe you are equally as likely to be a man or a woman. I imagine you suffer from regular health complaints but battle on bravely. You probably write novels that are planned carefully in advance, have serious content and you rarely deviate. You have created a world where others understand your routine and see you as highly reliable and predictable. I see you as the type who knows their genre and sticks to it. You are thorough and detailed. You might write a series of crime novels, historical or family sagas. I am jealous of your organisation and I am nothing like you but you are the type who is good for my motivation!
The Frustrated Writer
You are me a few years back. Life is bonkers. There are no plates spinning because they fell a long time ago and are smashed all over the floor. Life is chaotic. People may not see the chaos – it may be hidden inside your head. You may not be writing at all, yet. You feel like a writer, you feel that writing is something you want to be doing, but if you do get started you rarely find time to finish anything. Your head is a whirl of tiredness, dreams and duties. There is an extremely strong chance that you are a woman! You spend your time looking for intellectual satisfaction – crashing from one idea to the next with a sense of failure and unfulfillment. You are tough on yourself, you can’t or won’t ask for help and fear stops you from making the life-changing decision needed to call yourself a writer. You define yourself as mother, housewife, nurse, policewoman, gardener, whatever, and wait for life to change/ get better, for there to be more money, more hours in the day… You may sneak in time to write a blog and find that your life-rantings strike a chord with other women. It is likely that you are a bit of a martyr and put off things that would be good for you such as taking walks, eating healthily, and talking about your problems. You are probably very modest and surrounded by people who have no idea how clever you are. If you are not careful you may remain a wannabe… Which would be a shame because your writing would be very encouraging to other women.
The Avoider Writer
Shame on you – you procrastinator!
Fear is in your way and you can’t see a way around it.
Either you are frightened that when you sit down and begin to produce a proper piece of writing that it won’t be good enough; you are scared of your own ability and what others will think of you OR you have a fear of what is inside your own head; you have suffered, you have had a tough life. Your experiences may be too much for others to handle or they may even be too much for you to handle. What will happen when all the disturbing truths that you have locked away for years come pouring out? You may start to write a novel but when you write the word “child” your own childhood may develop on the page in front of you without warning. You may end up in a mental institution, you may have to tell everyone what a nutter and a freak you really are when you have spent so many years trying to be normal. What if you can’t deal with your own emotions, your own past?
Or maybe it will just be crap. Maybe you can’t write at all. It’s better to live in hope than to find out the truth, yeah?
No, because if you want to write you should write. If it’s crap, don’t show it to anyone. Or post it on a blog under a pen name and ask for feedback from strangers. There are millions of writers out there who never win prizes or get a publishing deal. We’re all just enjoying the creative process.
I see you as a man or a woman. You probably don’t allow yourself to show emotions often enough and are unsure of yourself. You may have fixed ideas and/or are scared of change. You probably plan things and then are too scared to follow through.
(I recommend a bit of life-writing secretly on the loo and reading outloud to yourself. You’d be amazed how therapeutic it can be! And a troubled life is always very interesting!)
The Hermit Writer
This is me when I am being a writer. We cannot juggle. We have thought explosions. We have moody periods and we have more wasted time than any other type. We can go into our shell for whole days and then come out crying that all we have written is “Turmoil” six thousand times. Our [metaphorical] wastepaper bin is often overflowing. When we have an idea we are possessed and neglectful of ourselves and our loved ones. I believe this type is more likely to be a man. For a woman this way of writing comes with too much guilt attached and can cause depression. A man of this type will often be supported or be single. We can swing from one idea to the next and scrap something that is not going our way. We are in danger of jeopardising our writing careers with our perfectionism and self-punishment. If we are lucky enough to have loved ones willing to hang around, our one good novel may be rescued from the fire by a relative in the nick of time.
For me this is a life of walled personalities with inter-joining doors. I cannot have the doors open and be a writer-stroke-family person or a writer-stroke-businesswoman, etc. I have to shut the doors. I do not juggle. I do not organise writing time and I do not fear or avoid writing. I merely shut the door to my writing self and become the domestic me, the social me, the attentive mother me or the bookkeeper me. My ideas don’t seep through the bricks. It is a difficult type of writer to be because when I haven’t written for a while I become angry with guilt because I know I want to be elsewhere and it seems wrong for a wife and mother to feel that way. And when I am inside the walls of the writing me I am unapproachable, rude, void of routine, unhealthy, selfish.
I see Hermit Writers as more likely to have obsessions or addictions and to deliberately avoid what is good for us because to us nothing feels as good as the process of writing. We can be unreliable and may not be very good at holding down a conventional job. Because of the brain channeling needed, writing for a hermit necessarily involves retreat and not blending with the rest of life.
What about you? Do you fit into one of these writing types? Or are you a mix of different types?
Or maybe you disagree with my observations completely!