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What Type of Writer Are You?

Updated on
December 1, 2021
Lifestyle

There are all kinds of writing: short stories, grant proposals, breaking news articles, emails, and journaling all fall under the big tent of literary tasks. And just as there are all kinds of writing, there are many kinds of writers.

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While each writer is a unique practitioner of their craft, we all fall into patterns. And different writing patterns and behaviors require particular guidance. Here are some common writer archetypes—which type are you?

An illustrated person writing on a piece of paper. There are multiple papers taped to the wall behind them. Text above the image says: The Meticulous Plotter. Writing doesn't begin until you have a full outline.

Their profile: This type of writer lives by their detailed plan. They have everything outlined, scheduled, plotted, and operationalized before diving into their real draft.

Known by: their bullet journal/Kanban board/customized spreadsheets, NaNoWriMo schedule, character bible, or heavily bookmarked Dungeon Master’s Guide 

How to succeed: Honestly, we all wish we were you, Plotter. For those hoping to become more of a Meticulous Plotter, this guide to writing outlines is a good place to start. For our plotters, some tips on how to self-edit can help you refine your finished product.

An illustrated person wearing a backwards baseball cap works on a laptop. The laptop is illuminated by a lamp and a clock on a shelf shows 3am. Text above the person says: The spontaneous scripter. You write when inspiration strikes—even if it's at 3am.

Their profile: The Spontaneous Scripter knows no schedule they have not broken. They may sit blankly at their computer for the hours they’ve set aside to write, but jolt awake for a midnight writing marathon when inspiration strikes.

Known by: the notebook/note-taking app they pull out when they just need to get an idea down, 3 AM texts to their most trusted first reader, a steady stream of coffee

How to succeed: We’re not here to yuck your yum, Scripter—whatever works, works. This guide to writing faster will help during those moments you’re full of inspiration but only have ten minutes to spare, and this guide to consistency can help you when you need to assemble your spontaneous sessions into a coherent whole.

An illustrated person with a long beard sits atop a giant lightbulb. Text above the person says: The idea generator. Your head is full of unwritten universes.

Their profile: When there’s a brainstorming opportunity, Idea Generator is there. Whether it’s article pitches, fantasy universes, or funny one-liner tweets, they always have half a dozen ideas—and a lot of them are good!

Known by: a Word doc or journal full of potential projects, early adoption of new trends, always encouraging people to share their ideas, too

How to succeed: Even the most tireless Idea Generators can get burned out. For next time you hit that wall, here are some writing prompts to get the gears moving again. As a bonus, here are some networking tips so you can get more eyes on your incredible ideas.

An illustrated person sits with their head resting in their hand beside an open laptop. They are looking down at a phone. Text above says: The procrastinator. You're not "avoiding" writing; deadlines fuel you.

Their profile: It’s not that they’re avoiding their writing tasks, of course not. They live for the thrill of the deadline. They’ll always get it done, but just know that the work you see was completed mere seconds before they hit Send, Share, or Publish.

Known by: “I’m working on it,” visible guilt for the planning they know they should be doing, preternatural writing speed

How to succeed: If you’re dedicated to the game, Procrastinator, you can find ways to make that procrastination work for you. And because we understand the struggle, here are some tips on how to stay focused.

An illustrated person with large glasses and voluminous hair peeks out from behind a laptop screen. Text above says: The modest mouse. You'd never call yourself a writer (but you are).

Their profile: Everyone knows a Modest Mouse, and they’re probably the best writer in their peer group. A Modest Mouse would probably read that last sentence and think “Well, I know that wasn’t about me!” What’s more, they mean it sincerely!

Known by: blushing and brushing off praise, giving credit where credit is due but not taking the credit they deserve, constantly turning out humble brilliance

How to succeed: Modest Mouse, we’re not saying you should develop a P. T. Barnum-sized ego, but you can and should let some of that praise go to your head. Check out this article on good writing, and see how many boxes you can check. And here’s how to talk about your achievements—you deserve it.

An illustrated person lays on the ground with legs resting on a wall. They are writing in a notebook and a thought bubble emerges from their head that is shaped like a unicorn. Text above the image says: The escape artist. Writing is your vehicle for daydreaming.

Their profile: The Escape Artist isn’t trying to get out of writing—writing is their way out of the real world and into an imaginary place of their choosing. Whether through journaling, fiction writing, or posting a particularly artful Instagram caption, the Escape Artist makes their daydreams real through the written word.

Known by: blissfully zoning out, constantly sharing beautiful photos as “inspiration,” saying “picture this” and actually being able to make you picture it, ink-stained hands from doodling

How to succeed: Make sure you’ve got a journal where you can write down all the places you escape to, Escape Artist. What’s more, some general tips on how to improve your writing can help you refine some of that inspiration into something really unique.

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