Life of a logical writer

elizabethtown

I’m an obsessive person. One might call it “tunnel vision.” Whatever (or whoever) I’m focused on, gets all my attention. Other things fall by the wayside, even meals. On the up side, this is a good thing. It motivates me, keeps me on track, and helps me finish things. But… it can be emotionally exhausting (not to mention hard on the eyes, if it involves a computer screen!).

Sometimes, I wonder about my workaholic tendencies… I often find myself lazy and unmotivated (much has to do with my interest level; there is no middle ground with me, no lukewarm, no tepid… either it is all out love or “I don’t care”) but that doesn’t swing with my boundless energy when it comes to doing something I love. What it all seems to boil down to is… purpose. If there’s no purpose in it, I don’t want to do it. I don’t see the point of doing it, if there’s no end result benefit. This means I try stuff out for awhile, I see the pointlessness of it, and I stop.

Why did I stop posting movie reviews of modern stuff? Because everyone else is doing it. Why did I keep the costume drama reviews? Because no one else is doing it. Do you see it? That’s a purpose, to provide readers with information they can’t get elsewhere. It isn’t pointless. I don’t “do” hobbies, because the end result isn’t worth the effort, plus you have to figure out what to do with the “stuff” you made. I stopped drawing because I knew even if I practiced for the rest of my life, I’d never be as good as someone with natural talent. Frankly, I struggle with the futility of being a writer a lot… I sit down to write a book and think, “Others have already written on this topic… is there a point?” or “There are a million books out there, why should anyone read mine?” That is being results-oriented. I find that hard. I can let it veer me off course, but I refuse to.

There is a purpose in writing, to express an idea or belief, in addition of having the “control” over your own world. What better playground do we have than our imagination? We can create entire worlds that bow to our every whim, and live out our desire to be ruler of the universe on a blank page. We are the originators of multi-layered plots, morally questionable characters, and a distinct lack of needless add-ons. I wish more INTPs would write books! Think of all the purpose-driven plots! The complex twists and turns! The unexpected shocks! The cleverness of its characters! The lack of internal dialogue or pages upon pages of pointless description! You can express an idea, challenge people’s perceptions, and manipulate their emotions the way you know you want to, all from your desk!

32 Replies to “Life of a logical writer”

    1. I think they’re forgetting what you all have in common — Intuitive. Imaginative, creative people! What better playground does a writer have than their own imagination?

  1. “Spend any amount of time with me and all, and it’s obvious I’m not an F. F’s tend to be nice. I’m not nice.” that is a boring stereotype. Type is not determined by personality traits such as niceness or meanness.

  2. INTJs make great writers because they are logical (no annoying implausible plot twists!) and aren’t afraid to do what’s necessary (like killing off a character). They also make great characters for precisely the same reasons. Almost all my favorite characters in literature are Rationals, and the heroes in my own writing tend to be INTJs as well.

  3. Love that… “F’s tend to be nice. I’m not nice.” That sounds like something I’ve said a million times and in return I get that freaked out look that says, “Am I in the room with a sociopath?” (Cue maniacal laugh.)

    I’m a nonfiction girl myself, but never do I enjoy fiction more than when it’s written by a fellow INTJ. I wish more INTJs wrote fiction. Even though INTJs are less interested in people/emotions, they tend to write the most interesting characters. Perhaps it’s that desire to dissect and analyze everyone working itself out on the page.

    1. It is fun freaking people out. 😉

      That’s an excellent point — and maybe it’s also because an INTJ would know that all characters should have dimensions to them. No one is completely perfect or completely horrible in real life…

  4. hang on–I’m confused I thought INFJs were the rarest type? (I really wonder who draws up these statistics sometimes!)

    F’s tend to be nice. I’m not nice. Nonsense! You are TOO nice, in fact I can vouch with certainty that all my T friends have a sweet, cuddly side! It’s definitely there! OK, maybe it’s there in the sense that the most toothy, razor-clawed cat has a fluffy underbelly, but it’s there nonetheless 😉

    Actually I’ve always liked the way you focus on costume dramas, along with other genres, or things that pique your interest. Most family/Christian review sites just focus on the “latest mega blockbuster” which is all well and good, except I usually already know I’m probably not going to like the latest hot blockbuster. Too many people, I think, don’t stop and assess their situation. No, there’s no rule that you can’t run a website or write a book on a certain subject just because someone else beat you to it, but people don’t seem to realize that often their voice isn’t heard–because they’re shouting in a crowded room!

    I also love how Femnista has had issues devoted to Children’s lit, or organized by themes such as friendship! Because those are things people don’t think of very often. Most focus on relationships in our society tends to be toward romance. While others easily just as important are ignored. Occasionally you’ll see a film about parent-child bonding, but it’s rarer to see one about friendship, or the love among brothers or sisters, or even those formed between mentors, uncles and nephews, the list goes on and on. Yet I have personally known people for whom a good relationship in one of the last few categories was a literal godsend. While I’ve known fewer who’ve lived epic, cinema-worthy romances 😛 (Not saying that true love doesn’t exist, or can’t be wonderful, just that it’s not as commonplace as pop culture would have us believe!)

    You make good points about hobbies! Obviously it’s a free country and if some guys want to get together on weekends to play ball, knowing they’ll never go professional, there’s nothing wrong with that! But there are times when people seem to pour a lot of time into something and you have to wonder if it’s worth it. Like people whose lives revolve around chasing down elusive collectible merchandise, memorizing details about fictional characters etc; I actually read an article recently that said our brains are always learning–or capable of learning, and that upon becoming adults, our brain ceases memorizing (or discards?) educational facts like the multiplication or periodic tables, and ceases upon often useless trivia.

    What you say about most people deluding themselves is interesting, because I’ve actually thought that humans often choose to delude themselves on a cultural rather than personal level. In one century this might take the form of denying the humanity of another race, in another era it takes the form of denying the humanity in the unborn. Within this polite lie the whole or half of a society has agreed upon, people live their lives, free of guilt, and usually feeling themselves to be a “good” person.

    PS
    I have to know, ARE most INTJs from this planet? 😉

    1. They claim to be the rarest type. I’m not sure who actually IS the rarest type…

      Oh, yes, we INTJs are big snuggle-bunnies, always full of love for every–

      Um… what was I saying? Oh, right. We’re nice. Really nice. 😉

      The latest mega blockbuster will get reviewed on parental websites for content concerns — whereas something like Downton Abbey or The White Queen won’t. I’m happy to fill a much needed niche… plus, I love costume dramas, and I look forward to seeing many new ones, so in a way it’s how I “justify” spending my time on them as something more than just sheer entertainment.

      I try and come up with unique themes for Femnista. It’s fun to think outside the box and challenge my writers — who more often than not, rise to the occasion magnificently! I’m looking forward to our friendship issue, perhaps selfishly as a way to remind people that yes — friendship existed before slash became popular.

      My guess, for those people who have outlandish or obsessive hobbies, is that it’s their way of defining themselves and finding purpose — but of course, they’re searching for that in all the wrong places! We’re supposed to find our identity in Christ, and in ourselves, not in how many Betty Boop shot glasses we can collect, or how many sweaters we can knit.

      Delusions can happen anywhere, anytime… in any facet of our personality, relationships, or imagination. For example, I insist I’m anti-social. My father argues that I’m deluding myself and actually very social — just with a small number of people. I think he’s delusional in his inability to accept my anti-social-ness, whereas he thinks I’m delusional that I keep insisting I’m anti-social. Who is right? Who knows?! We could both be delusional!

      No, most INTJs hail from Planet Vulcan. Thanks for asking.

        1. I know, right? I don’t know what would be more awesome — being surrounded by total logic all the time or not having to worry about your own emotions! Pon Farr on the other hand might be… um… interesting.

  5. Yes, I’ve noticed that. My core center I believe I am almost Isfj, at least around my best friends. I’ve grown up homeschooled, the past 6 years at least. And am still going to be homeschooled throughout highschool unless I can convince my parents otherwise.

    I guess that’s why I am not a very outgoing person, I really don’t have much of a reason to be. But I’ve been trying to branch out to more people, and actually made a few new friends this year:P
    I get a lot of the “You’re a robot.” Or, as my friend said just yesterday, “You are the thief of joy.” But in the end I really don’t care. Even if there is some truth to what they’re saying.
    I’m also a bit of a complexity to many adults, since I get along much easier with them over kids my age. I guess I can attribute that to my uncle. He’s been in a wheelchair my whole life, so any time I went over to his house we didn’t have much to do, so we just talked for hours.
    I think everyone should have somebody like that who they can talk about anything to. We covered every subject, History, Science, Politics, ect…
    I’m not sure what his type was though, and I don’t recon I’ll be able to ask him any time soon. Maybe when I kick the bucket and head off to heaven too.

    Also, I’d like to thank you Ms. Charity, your blog is very interesting and thought provoking. As well as inspiring.
    I’ve been planning a series for almost 2 months now, and I realized I am much more result oriented then is healthy for a passion.
    I’ll try to curb off some of that.
    Good luck with your future writings,

    -random Intj on the internet.

    1. Being home-schooled has nothing to do with not being outgoing — being outgoing or not has more to do with three things — how Introverted you are, how shy you are, and how reserved you are (and yes, they are different things… Introverts need to be alone to “recharge,” shy people are intimidated to talk to new people, and reserved people want to size you up before opening up to you). However, an Introvert would be MUCH happier being home-schooled (fewer people, less stress, no teachers other than Mom), whereas an Extrovert might envy the socialization of high school.

      No one is a robot, not really… they just don’t show their feelings. That doesn’t mean the emotions aren’t there, they just don’t surface very often (and usually when they do, we panic about it and go hide!).

      I always did get along better with adults growing up — because with adults, there’s less petty, insecure drama and generally they’re consistent — they like you one day, unless they have bipolar disorder, they’ll like you the next. I couldn’t rely on that with girls my own age, who would dump me in a heartbeat if someone better came along.

      It’s good to have people to talk to, that’s for sure! You’re fortunate to have your uncle to do that with. 🙂

      Well, thank you for reading along, taking the time to comment, and affirming me!

      Being results-oriented isn’t a bad thing… you just need to channel it in productive ways. Good luck with your projects!

  6. They really should just give all mastermind villains and antiheroes some writing pads. Vent out some of that “I’ve got to destroy the world and then exert my genius control over it for the remainder of time.” steam. Who knows, Moriarty might write a New York Times Best Seller. He is the story-teller.

    Of course, it’s widely speculated that such authors as C.S. Lewis and even Jane Austen were INTJs. Always tricky trying to type people that have long since died, so I don’t know how much credence to give it, but there’s definitely a certain sense of direction in their respective works that seems to indicate that kind of purpose-driven, results-oriented plot you had mentioned. Maybe that’s just well-mastered writing, but something does smell a little NTJ-ish about them both.

    It amuses me to no end how often INTJs seem to be construed and stylized as some sort of alien non-feeling breed, to the point we seem practically non-human.

    “Do INTJs cry?

    “Can INTJs eat cheese?”

    “Do INTJs sleep?”

    “Are we really sure they’re actually from this planet?”

    Emotion tends to drive so much of what makes a person a person in this day and age. We’ve built an entire culture of people told to follow their hearts and dreams. So I guess it’s only natural that those on the flipside, the thinkers, have somewhat been shoved to the wayside and labelled as villain material.

    “Why can’t people just think?”

    As Christians, I think it’s definitely worthwhile to realize that there’s a place for both in the Body. We can’t all be hands, we can’t all be feet, we can’t all be brains. It would make for a boring and completely dysfunctional body, otherwise. We’ve each our own strength and weakness, but the beauty of the Church is that we have the opportunity to then shore up others weaknesses with our respective strengths. The thinker helps the feeler to keep emotions from fogging reality, and the feeler leans the thinker away from getting too pigheaded and heartless. All while tied together, aided, and unified by The Spirit.

    I could go on, but my soapbox is beginning to sag in the middle. Apologies for that detour. Great post Charity! I’m guessing this is leading up to the release of your own writing? Can’t wait!

    Also, isn’t it a bit weird that my INTJ mother also has a bit of a fascination with Pontius Pilate?

    1. C.S. Lewis does come across as an INTJ, both in his rational approaches to faith and in his fiction — particularly the more grown up stuff (much as I love Narnia, his Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce in particular are BRILLIANT). You’ll also notice that in his Narnia books, there’s no unneeded filler — not even descriptions of the children. He lets the audience decide what they look like, which is either very clever or simply a result of his no-nonsense writing.

      Austen could very well be as well — her books are fraught with sarcasm and scathing judgments on society, which is very much a TJ trait. Without knowing more about her personally, I’m not sure where my opinion would be on the “N” (though, didn’t she refuse to get married because she saw the potential long-term fall-out?).

      Unfortunately, I think INTJs have propagated the “INTJs are robots” approach, because we … like it? Society is used to feeler types and encourages everyone to base all their decisions on emotion (well, if you’re in love — do it!), so someone who uses logic to motivate all their actions is foreign and frightening to society. But yes, you’d be amused by the types of things that get searched for on this blog — along those lines.

      Bravo, I have nothing to add to your statement about the Body needing all kinds. It is very true!

      Yes, it is. I spent the first half of this week obsessing over formatting my book for Kindle and proof-reading it… three times. My eyes are killing me! I joked to my best friend this morning that it’s a good thing she’s coming out for several days, or I’d never get any time off!

      THAT interests me… I wonder if some of us are intrigued by Pilate, because we suspect the common perception of him that the church propagates (oh, he put Jesus to death! what a horrible person!) isn’t entirely the truth. Sort of like how everyone in America paints King George III as a total ass and never bother to discover that he was actually quite a decent man, and one of the few moral kings in British history. Well, your mother will like my Pilate. He came out very… um… INTJ. 😉

      1. When I read your post,, it was C S Lewis that came to mind. Did you see Shadowlands? That depiction of Lewis came to the conclusion that we read to know that we are not alone. Through reading someone’s work, you gain an insight into their thoughts and feelings that you never can through normal human interaction. We read and find that others share our fears, our humour, our deepest secrets and desires. It matters not then that another author has treated the same topic as you because, if there is some you in the writing, someone else will know that they are not alone

        1. Yes, I have seen Shadowlands. I try not to watch it too often, though, because it attacks all my feels!

          Those are some profound thoughts to ponder. It goes hand in hand with something Lewis said in one of his books — that friendship is ignited in that moment where you say, “You too? I thought it was just me!” 😀

    2. Brilliantly said, Ruby. I don’t think I could say what you said about the Church better.
      I’ve started to use the Sherlock phrase “Why can’t people just *think*?” all the time.

    3. I read C.S. Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy” before I was familiar with the MBTI, but it’s funny reading the book again through that lens. Lewis recalls being attracted to his mother’s more cool, rational family as opposed to his father’s more emotional family. Other things–the anti-funeral lecture he gave his aunt after his mother died, the near-hatred for the neighbor boy who wanted to be friends, the absolute disgust for the caste system in one of his schools–certainly seem to suggest that he was INTJ. They don’t prove it absolutely, of course, but being an INTJ would explain a lot about his childhood.

      Mix an INTJ with literature, and interesting things come out. :p

  7. Ohhkay, whoever said INTJs don’t write needs his or her head examined. (I am an INTJ, and I have been writing [mainly fiction] far more naturally than talking since I was 8 years old.) And also needs to learn a little bit about the etiquette of personality typing.
    1. You don’t tell other people that they *are* or *aren’t* a certain type out of the blue, based on a blog post, especially if you hardly know them.
    2. You don’t assume that if a person claims a certain type she can’t ever have a certain hobby or profession.
    3. Contradicting a person’s experience of herself is stupid, unless you’re a professional counselor and the person is pathological.

    Hrmph.

    1. Given that INTJ is the rarest type, it stands to reason that the majority of writers would NOT be INTJs… but there are exceptions! (Lewis almost certainly, Austen possibly, and I’m starting to wonder about Thomas Harris, from reading his books. He follows a very INTJ-like pattern in his writing — straightforward, gets to the point, total lack of romanticism, and a downright brilliant, INTJ-heavy villain.)

      1. True. At least hang around awhile and observe them! When I told Carissa about it, she laughed until she cried.

      2. Yup, although I suppose it’s logical to assume that certain hobbies or interests appeal to some types over others (?).

      3. This is true. People know themselves best… unless they’re delusional, and I’m convinced most people are delusional. I once read something by a nonfiction author that said everyone is a little bit delusional and our sanity relies on how true our perception of ourselves actually is — for example, are we REALLY like that, or is it a lie we tell ourselves to avoid something or another?

      *pats* It’s okay. Get it all out there. 😀

  8. I’m INTJ and I enjoy writing fiction/non-fiction. I’ve enjoyed the art since I was a child. It started with telling stories verbally. When I had enough confidence to put my thoughts on paper… life seemed to just flow. Through different online groups I’ve met some amazingly talented INTJ’s: Writers, Musicians, Artists, Teachers, etc. We are out there!

    1. THANK YOU!

      Not all INTJs are math-obsessed robots!! I’ve actually read that INTJs fall into two types within themselves — the Scientist (focused on math/science-related fields) or the Creative (which would be the writers/artists/musicians/etc).

        1. Math sucked, but algebra is where I drew the line — my poor mother finally gave up trying to teach it to me, since I sat there shrieking “WHAT IS THE POINT?!”

      1. I’m hopelessly INTJ and consider myself a writer. It’s not my profession, but rather my hobby. I write anything from fiction, to essays, to technical documents, all for fun.
        By profession I’m a scientist ( in the computer field), but for fun I explore the artistic world (visual arts, musical arts, written arts).

        1. I love that dichotomy and that it can exist in one person. I also am quite creative, with writing, drawing, photography, cooking, jewelry making, sewing… But in my current profession I’m a programmer/web developer and in the past my favorite job has been library cataloger.

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