What’s Your Writing Personality?

Your unique and inherent personality affects everything you do—including writing. Most of us will spend the rest of our lives learning how we tick and how best to apply our strengths and correct our weaknesses. This is just as true of writing as it is of familial relationships or workplace effectiveness.

The first step in learning how to maximize your personality’s pros and minimize its cons is to figure out your basic personality type. One simple approach is that of the “four temperaments” approach (popularized by Tim LaHaye, among others), in which human personalities are narrowed down into four basic categories: choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at all four personalities to help you identify into which category you predominantly fall and how to make the most of it as a writer. (Most people manifest one of these four personality types as their primary and another—possibly even two others—as secondary types. No one fits perfectly into the box of any one type.)

>>Click here to read about the MBTI personality-typing system.

>>Click here to read about the Enneagram personality-typing system.

I’ve asked three other writers to help out by describing their experiences with maximizing their personality’s potential in their
writing. I’ll sound off first.

The Choleric Writer: K.M. Weiland

Cholerics don’t do much of anything halfway. They thunder through life at top speed, which presents both their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. They’re determined, aggressive, and productive. They’re “good enough” people. Perfectionism doesn’t cripple them, but that can mean they don’t always complete jobs as well as they should. They can also be disorganized, impatient, and overbearing.

What strengths does being a choleric bring to your writing?

KMW: As a choleric, I have a good work ethic and the ability to focus and grit my way through difficult tasks. If I want to get something done, I get it done. I’m more organized than some cholerics, which helps me streamline my productivity. I’m good at breaking projects down to manageable chunks, chewing through them without letting perfectionism hold me back, and then moving on to the next thing.

What weaknesses does being a choleric inflict on your writing?

KMW: Moving at such a fast and furious pace all the time can sometimes lead to burnout. For better or worse, I usually just end up blowing right on through that as well. But I am learning to pace myself on certain projects, to let my brain and body rest and regenerate.

I also have quite a few melancholic traits, which gives me an attention to detail that often makes up for my lack of perfectionism. Even still, sometimes my “good enough” attitude can let projects slip out into the public before I’ve double-checked important aspects.

Really, I find that the greatest pitfall of a choleric personality in a writer is the tendency to put productivity and deadlines before relationships. I have to work to keep my priorities straight.

The Melancholic Writer: London Crockett

(London is a YA fantasy author, living in Chicago.)

Melancholics are arguably the most talented of all the personalities. They often have a natural bent toward artistic expression, including writing. They’re detail-oriented, patient, and idealistic. But in spite of all their talent, they can be prone to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. Their perfectionism and mood swings can cause them to feel they never measure up, which can in turn keep them from completing projects.

What strengths does being a melancholic bring to your writing?

LC: For non-fiction writing, a need for precision is a huge virtue. For example, I’m compelled to note that I can’t necessarily extract the melancholy nature from my personality at large. Art—whether fiction, non-fiction, or something else—is born from labor as much as inspiration. Being energized by artistic expression makes the labor rewarding, and patience allows me to stay dedicated to big projects for years. I don’t normally think of myself as detail-oriented (I care about idealistic abstracts more than details), but in practice, the pursuit of the ideal means that I sweat the details.

What weaknesses does being a melancholic inflict on your writing?

LC: It took a long time to have a consistent faith in my writing. Even now that I have a persistent confidence, I struggle with getting stuck and avoiding writing. Managing the tendency to be derailed by doubt requires forcing yourself to write badly and skip over things that aren’t working.

Remember that when writing “bird by bird” (per the wonderful Anne Lamott), you don’t have to craft each bird in order. If the chickadee isn’t taking flight, skip to the crow.

One warning that is commonly given to sensitive perfectionists (melancholics) is to start small: walk around the block before you plan a marathon. However, I think that’s unrealistic for idealists. If you’re inclined to dream big, go for it, but build in rewards to ensure your patience carries you past your self-doubt.

The Sanguine Writer: Linda W. Yezak

(Linda is the author of the romantic comedy Give the Lady a Ride and my longtime critique partner.)

Sanguines are the bubbly extroverts who bring life to any party. They’re fun and funny, sociable and charismatic. These folks know how to tell a good story—with all the dramatic flourishes. They’re often compassionate and emotional (in both the good and the bad senses of the word). However, they can also be unorganized and undependable, which can lead to difficulties in creating consistent writing schedules and finishing stories.

What strengths does being a sanguine bring to your writing?

LWY: Just like the definition says, I know how to tell a story, with all the dramatic flourishes. Rhythm and timing seem to come naturally to me. Knowing the pause beat before the punch line, knowing tone development, knowing when, on a dark and stormy night, to flash the light under my chin and yell boo! are all intuitive. Charisma often flares upon the page, and its immediacy draws readers in every time. My opening pages always promise a good time… which leads me to my weaknesses.

What weaknesses does being a sanguine inflict on your writing?

LWY: I really can start a novel with a bang, but unless someone’s constantly riding me, unless someone’s expecting to see that next chapter, I may take a year or two to finish my first draft. I’ll get the first two chapters written, then put it off.

When it comes to my own work, I need to be pushed and, though I hate to admit it, I need strong, praise-filled encouragement to keep me going. I get discouraged very easily. I can take the criticism (after engaging in melodramatic episodes of self-pity), but I feed off praise like a vampire on a juicy vein.

The “undependable” part of the definition applies only to my own work. For my clients and others, I have no problem whatsoever. But I’d hate for anyone to see how many incomplete projects I have—and not just writing!

The Phlegmatic Writer: Johne Cook

(Johne edits the speculative e-mag Ray Gun Revival and has contributed to the Space Battles anthology edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt.)

Phlegmatics are the Steady Eddies. They’re not easily ruffled, which means they get to avoid many of the high and low mood swings the other personality types can be prone to. They’re dependable, thoughtful, and pragmatic. But they can also struggle to find motivation and energy to start—and then finish—projects.

What strengths does being a phlegmatic bring to your writing?

JC: I am calm, friendly, easy-going, and balanced. I see the best in people and work well with difficult people—this works to my advantage working with editors and as an editor working with writers with delicate sensibilities.

I adapt easily to changes, which helps me pick up new genres, applications, contact people, and technologies.

I’m a pretty good listener. This helps me see sides of people others may not see and represent a person’s complexity in my writing. I have a talent for bringing people together in real life, and also in my writing. I like the energy and synergy of throwing apparently disparate people together, and I especially value stories where that happens.

I am not usually the leader, but am a fierce follower. I am immune to what the cool kids are doing, but when I find something good or noble or undervalued, I am good right-hand man.

What weaknesses does being a phlegmatic inflict on your writing?

JC: Despite my apparent friendly exterior, it can be difficult to really get inside my head and know my true person—I have subtle armor. As a result, my writing can also come across as genial but shallow. It takes effort to really dive deep and open my soul. I like it when everyone gets along and has a good time. Therefore, I wrestle with allowing my characters to feel pain and conflict.

As a steady, even-keeled person, I have middling energy to begin with. When I am bounced with an idea or a turn of phrase, if I don’t capture that insight the moment I think about it, there’s a decent chance I’ll never do it at all. This means I’ve learned to have mechanisms to deal with that spur-of-the-moment epiphany; I use online tools like Evernote and Dropbox to capture ideas from anywhere.

I can be indecisive, have a tendency to procrastinate, and can be difficult to motivate. If not careful, I tend to play it safe (when I rouse myself to participate at all).  I wrestle with the fact that my goals may be lower than they ought to be.


So there you have it—a quick primer on four basic writer personalities. Once you’ve identified your primary personality traits and figured out your strengths and weaknesses, you can move forward with a plan of action to help you take advantage of your good points and overcome your weaknesses—in life as well as writing!

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What is your writing personality? What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. I am very strongly phlegmatic. The description fit me to a tee.

    In my writing, I have capitalized on my strengths to write about themes of being misfits, doing your own thing, and overcoming obstacles. I’ve taken that into genres where it hasn’t ordinarily surfaced, and I’ve found that exciting. I also write down ideas for stories as soon as you get them, and I have them saved in a big Scrivener story file that I back up to several places.

    Causing pain to my characters in my latest book was definitely my biggest struggle. It took me weeks to write one section because I just didn’t want to go where I knew the story should go. That part, unedited, is still very choppy, but I’m going to have to fill it out soon. I think in some was that did help. I wrote almost in short note form, and at least it got me through it, and I don’t think editing will be quite as story.

  2. I find the whole “avoiding conflict” thing very interesting. As a choleric, I have no problem laying into my characters. I never before thought about that being a product of my personality, but it almost makes sense now!

  3. You might be surprised how few people really understand the basic theory of the temperaments. I’ve found having an awareness of what makes people tick really enhances my understanding of life in general and writing in specific.

  4. I suppose if I had to choose from the four types you surveyed, I’d be a choleric, but I’m not sure that for me, those are the distinctions that matter. What I’ve noticed is that some people are internally motivated and others are externally driven. My motivation is internal. It’s a compulsion, and when I feel I need to, I can go at full tilt and not even be aware of the time. No one can stop me when I am like that. But if, for whatever reason, the internal motivation is not there, no one, not myself nor others, can compel me to write.

    What this means is that the muse calls the shots. The projects she supports get finished and the ones she never smiles upon are doomed from the start.

  5. I am the melancholic writer for sure. I try to make everything be and sound perfect the first time around. Even though I know that that isn’t possible (the first few drafts will always be crap no matter what), I feel it just has to be perfect. When it’s not, I fall into this depression and shame myself for not being a good writer.

    • I know how that feels, I do the same thing.
      Partly why I haven’t started editing my hulking first draft, and haven’t written everything for anything else.

  6. I’m definitely a choleric… lol 😀

  7. I am just the unique combination of traits that is me–and I identify with every one of the traits listed above. I am an overachiever and try to do way too much to the extent that when I get things finished I often don’t give them a final polish (I was famous in university for saying “spelling and grammar are only worth 5% after all…”). But I often get hung up on things not being perfect, or wonder “will everyone just think this is stupid”…so in certain things my insecurities keep me from completing the tasks I set for myself–even though I am always dependable to get everything done when asked of me by others. I am a bubbly extrovert who is always trying to make people laugh and feel at ease (I can’t stand conflict so I use my extrovert trait to keep the conflict to a minimum–it is a critical need in me to defuse an argument I sense brewing even when I don’t even know or care about the people in it). Whenever life gets out of control or hectic I am the calm rock in the storm–whatever life throws at me, as long as I am happy right here and right now in the little moments, I am ok. I have faced death and lived, I have faced violence and defused it with the calm center of peace I maintained in the face of it. Sometimes the little day to day things get me worked up into a tizzy, but in those big moments, the ones that really matter, I am the slow and steady that wins the race. I am also a psychology graduate. LOL. So I tend to wince at pop psychology.
    So basically I am a complete mess as far as personality scales go–but I think that is quite possibly what makes me a writer. One of the ways this probably helps me is that I can slip into the head of anyone and completely get them, how they tick and why. One of the ways this hinders me is that I get scattered and lose focus and have not yet learned how to write a story through to completion that someone else is not depending on me for. I would probably make a really exceptional collaborative writer LOL.
    Anyway I can’t leave this topic without a disclaimer: Just remember that personality pigeon holes are a guide. In any measure of personality types nobody will ever score only within one type–in fact, usually you are made up of a spectrum of traits from all types, but score higher in one in particular. Personality tests are fun, and they can be telling in the right hands…just be sure you don’t let a label limit you or define you.

  8. @Phy: Thanks for being a part of my little study! I’m totally with you on the value of understanding basic human temperaments. It’s done wonders in helping me maneuver my relationships, not to mention figuring out how I tick myself.

    @Aya: Sometimes the trick is just figuring out *which* projects the muse is smiling upon.

    @Anonymous: I have enough melancholy traits that I can definitely relate to that. This is yet another reason I like outlines: they allow me to perfect things in stages – ideas first, structure next, words last.

    @Gideon: I’m partial to that one. 😉

    @Amanda: I admit: I like putting things in boxes to some extent, since it makes everything all so much easier to understand. But I’m in total agreement that personality “tests” are far too general to properly nail the complexities of a human being. Still, I find it helpful to understand basic tendencies, both in myself and in others.

  9. I’m somewhere between the melancholic and the sanguine … which basically means I never finish anything! 🙂 Thanks for the post. Very interesting.

  10. I am phlegmatic. I looked back at my WIP and discovered my MC is also phlegmatic as is my villain. I think my next edit may play with that.

  11. @Tanya: My sister has the sanguine-phlegmatic blend. She’s one of the most energetic, bubby, and fun people to be around. But I know she also struggle with the downsides. She’s overcome a lot of them though.

    @Ransom: Playing around with different personality types is one of my favorite things to do with characters. Never know what interesting facets you’ll discover!

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  13. Well, I found myself described accurately in the sanguine. I have a lot of half started stuff, get discouraged easily and doubt my skill/talent/ability constantly. I can go a long way on a little praise and encouragement but, a single criticism can wound me for a long time.
    Without any external pressure to work on my writing or to complete incomplete projects, I am the master of procrastination.
    I do like that I am the same type as Linda, though because I thoroughly enjoy her writing.

  14. If sanguines can translate all that personality to the page, they’re way ahead of the rest of us when it comes to voice!

  15. I’m a melancholic with all my artistic endeavors. And no surprise there as I’ve seen this definition before and knew I owned it. Except for the “patient” part. I am the most impatient person I know, especially with myself!

  16. I’ve known both patient and impatient melancholics. It think it’s that attention to detail that allows them to be patient sometimes and their perfectionistic needs that lead toward the impatience.

  17. I’m one of the people that none of the above categories describes me in any way. I reside way over on the extreme side of the introvert scale and prefer to be left alone 90% of the time. I’m not a perfectionist, I’m totally comfortable in my own skin, don’t doubt the gifts God has given me, don’t crave others’ approval of what I do. The Myers-Briggs profile is the only one to ever describe me correctly. I’m an ISTJ.

  18. Myers-Briggs offers much more specific models than other personality tests, but the simplicity of these four personality types is actually why I like them (that and I’d have to do a whole series on writing personalities if I tried to interview all the Myers-Briggs types!). BTW, coincidentally enough, my Myers-Briggs personality type is very similar to yours: INTJ.

  19. I’m definitely melancholic. The moodiness, the sensitivity, the perfectionism. This was an interesting exercise. I’m not one who necessarily likes to be categorized, but the technique has its uses. If I have any mix, it’s with the choleric. When I’m on, I’m on, and I tend to race through, but I haven’t been there for some time. The choleric influence also leads to me tending to take on too much at one time. At work and at home, so it can be trying when I get into that space overall because then I get overwhelmed which throws me back into the melancholic (depression). I’m kind of there now, and striving to simplify so I can get back to the thing that matters most to me: writing.
    Thanks for this 🙂

  20. The choleric-melancholic mix is a good one (says the choleric-melancholic mix), since it harnesses the melancholic perfectionism with the choleric’s get-‘er-done attitude.

  21. By this set of standards, I’m a Melancholic. Keirsey Temperament profile, I’m an Idealist, ENFP which doesn’t surprise me. That’s pretty much me, warts and all.

  22. An extroverted melancholic! Traditionally, melancholics are supposed to be introverted, just like cholerics are supposed to be extroverted – which I am most definitely not.

    • That is interesting. I had never really heard much about introversion/extraversion relative to the temperaments before. I am an introverted Sanguine (INFP). Tradition-breaking is my stock in trade.

      And yes, as a Sanguine, this nailed me. My biggest, most pressing, most chronic struggle is in the follow-through. I would rather start a dozen projects than slog through and finish one, any day of the week.

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        Ah, Myers-Briggs! I discovered Myers-Briggs after writing this post, and it’s now my hands-down, go-to (kinda/sorta obsession) personality profiling system. INTJ here. 🙂

  23. Phlegmatic-melancholic, probably.

    I’m not a huge fan of the ancient style for personality, but mostly because when I get into personality types, I do it for psychological purposes, and the new systems work better, I think.

  24. You always have the most timely articles on your blog, which is why I keep coming back :)Is it possible to be a mix of the 3 different types? lol I find myself identifying with bits from the first three types.

  25. I would fall under the Sanguine Writer. Start it with a “Wow” intro, enthusiasm, sarcasm and some humor but when the dust settles…it ends up being an essay or short story. It needs to something I can do in one sitting while I am inspired. “The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy…” (Blade Runner) I also like the Myers-Briggs Test where I am an ENFP. Took it way back in high school and have taken it twice since then all with the same result. The only difference now I can appreciate what my tendencies are…PS I also saw the other day a quote from Mark Twain that would have gone well with your “adverb” blog or post.
    “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Mark twain

  26. This is SO cool! I’d guess I’m a Steady Eddie 🙂

  27. Thanks for the article. I’d have to say I was closest to the phlegmatic. I’m a total harmony kind of person in real life. Once I wrote a short story in which a character I liked was psychologically tortured. Mind you, it wasn’t very horrible torture — she was threatened with creepy insects, which she had a serious phobia of — but just writing it was almost as hard as doing that to a person in real life.

    The personality typing system I use most often is the Enneagram — in that system, I am a Nine/Peacemaker. Anyone else have good results taking advantage of the Enneagram?

  28. I’m definitely a melancholic. Midterms are teaching me that in no uncertain terms

  29. I guess I am melancholic with the phlegmatic tendency to procrastinate.

  30. @Varon: Specificity is almost always better. But I do like the simplicity of this old style.

    @Cate: According to LaHaye, it’s absolutely possible. I’m predominately choleric, but I have strong traits from both the melancholy and phlegmatic personalities.

    @Stephen: Can’t argue with Mark Twain. (Wonder what his personality was? Choleric-sanguine?)

    @Julie: Or a Steady-Betty? 😉

    @Andrew: I love the Enneagram. It’s one of the few personality type indicators I actually apply to my characters. Personally, I come out strong as a Five, the Observer. Laurie Campbell offers a great article on the subject, geared toward writers: http://booklaurie.com/workshops_flaw.php

    @Galadriel: Stress tends to bring out our personalities’ strengths and weaknesses in full force.

    @Sheridan: Procrastination is one that seems to grab most writers, sooner or later.

  31. I’m a mixture between a Melancholic writer and a Sanguine writer depending on whether I’m around people or not.

  32. Interesting post! I’m definitely Melancholic with a dash of Phlegmatic. Thanks for giving me some insight into my own strengths and weaknesses.

  33. Oops. Not sure, but think I fit all these categories! On any given day, I probably combine at least three of them, but not necessarily the same ones.
    Think you might have to invent another category: Random.
    Or even Messy.
    Very much identify with the Choleric Writer, have all the detail-ridden angst and self-doubt of the Melancholic, the extrovert bang of the Sanguine followed by the need for a good push and at least some faint praise to keep going, with the Phlegmatic’s tendency towards procrastination and indecision.
    Added to which I am a introverted extrovert or do I mean extroverted introvert?
    Does this mean I am a hopeless case?

  34. Great post! I think I’m a Mel-Chol combo!

  35. @Writer4Christ: I would think that would be a handy mix to have, since the introvert and extrovert tendencies, respectively, would maybe even each other out.

    @Rhiann: We have to know ourselves before we can know the enemy, right?

    @Pat: I have this theory that complicated people make for good writers, just because they get to explore so many more elements in their own lives.

    @Carla: It’s a good combo! But, then, of course, I’m a little prejudiced. 😉

  36. I’m sanguinic ENTP, mad amount of ideas, rarely develop them , prefer short outputs – songs, novellas, quick research projects, otherwise i get discouraged bored distracted with new ideas :)) to exacerbate it , i’m Libra, so i waste tons of time trying to pick the right idea to develop, sometimes years :0

    Wow, you’re choleric, love them 🙂

  37. You know, I think I would have pegged you for a sanguine. Can’t say exactly why, but it feels right!

  38. I’m definitely a melancholic writer. It can be very frustrating! Yay for getting advice from a choleric though! It’s a good motivator.

  39. For better or worse, cholerics are good at telling people how they think things should be done. 😉

  40. Fascinating read… I’m definitely a melancholic. Off the charts melancholic :). I do have a touch of sanguine in me in that I do feed off positive reinforcement and praise, but eventually, even that fades away and the self-doubt creeps in again. I’ve learned to soldier on despite the self-doubt, by working quickly enough that I don’t give myself a chance to stop and overthink things, but I think I will always be plagued with self-doubt. I think the trick will be to just learn to manage it, rather than expend a ton of energy trying to figure out ways to change my writing personality :).

  41. We definitely have to learn to manage it. The whole self-doubt issue isn’t exclusive to the melancholic temperament; I think we all struggle with it to one extent or another. But melancholics, in general, do have to put up an extra guard against its sneaky, infiltrating ways.

  42. Melancholic for me. I am an artist naturally. I get depressed when I feel trapped in non-artistic professions. I have to have the idealistic hope that I can spend my life creating things because it makes me so happy to do so . . . . And I’m a very insecure person, which is why I don’t trust myself to judge my own work at all. I’ve had five beta readers look over my novel and hired an editor before trying to self-publish it, but I’m terrified that they have failed to point out gaping flaws in my writing.

    I’m scared of receiving my first bad reviews because instead of getting mad, I know I’m going to say I deserve them and that I might freeze and be unable to write for awhile.

  43. Many authors choose not to read their reviews. Reading negative reviews isn’t necessarily a productive experience. If you tend to overreact to criticism (even if it’s wrong), why read them? The book is out there; there’s nothing you can do about it. So there really isn’t much point in exposing yourself to the possibly negative (and always subjective) opinions of others.

  44. I would describe myself as a melancholic writer. Which makes petty insults about my writing even more destructive. Which makes me tend to ignore critique sometimes if its to harsh, and not balanced enough.

  45. Learning to hear criticism (constructive or otherwise) and see it objectively for its value – and then discard what isn’t true – is difficult, but important, for writers of all personalities.

  46. I’m definitely melancholic and I just wrote my post on how I’m back in meancholy mood. lol My strength is my imagination and creativity, but my weakness is the insecurity. Great post.

  47. The great thing about all personalities (no matter what “system” you use to determine them) is that they come with their fair share of both strengths and weaknesses.

  48. Wow, so many comments! People seem to be (rightly) interested in what makes people tick.

  49. Personally, I never get tired of learning about personalities. It’s always enlightening.

  50. I’m melancholic for sure hahaha

  51. When you know it, you know it! :p

  52. I’m a melancholic with a type three personality. I have never gotten past the first chapter in any book–except for my early teen attempts at writing–I want everything to be perfect. I don’t know how many times I have rewritten my stories beginnings and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get anywhere. No, I don’t tend to be depressed, I get excited planning stories, but when I sit down at the computer nothing sounds right.

    • Maybe, keep a recorder and record a few spoken words here and there, instead of sitting down with a confrontational attitude at a computer?

  53. It’s a common failing. Our words never perfectly capture the beautiful ideas in our heads. But there comes a point when we just have to let those early chapters go and keep writing. When it comes to the first draft, completion is much more important than perfection.

  54. I am such a Sanguine it’s not even funny. I thought I was going to read through these and think “Oh, well, I’m *kind* of like that one…” Nope! 😉 That describes me to a T! Thankfully I have my mom, who is organized and dependable, as a great foil to my bubbly charismatic self. 😀 I love bouncing ideas off her and she helps me stay motivated.

  55. Finding complementary personalities to help balance our extremes is always useful. We each other in all our diversity!

  56. Wow… I love this! Thank you for sharing. I’m going to come back to this a few times to really think about the traits so I can build my strengths to manage my weaknesses. I’d say I’m 70% Melancholic, 30% Sanguine, but the Sanguine part of me only comes out when the Melancholic lets it. My husband keeps me in check by building me up, believing in me 100%, and encouraging my abilities. Thank goodness!

  57. Having people around us who understand our personality’s strengths and weaknesses – and can complement us with their own personalities – is a great benefit. If you’re interested in reading more about the personality types, I would recommend Tim LaHaye’s book Why You Act the Way You Do.

  58. Danielle Paige says

    I’m really melancholic as a writer, and have been from a young age. It certainly is a struggle to finish projects, and I find myself often seeking the praise of others in order to continue.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      At least you know the pitfalls. Much easier to strengthen our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses once we’ve recognized both.

  59. Thanks for this post — found it through I.O. Kirkwood’s blog. I’d never considered writing personalities before, and it’s kind of freeing to read this. I love London Crockett’s words that it’s okay to start with a big project if that’s where your heart is.

    That’s what I did, despite all the advice to start small. Small would have been much easier but nothing small fired my imagination. Almost 20 years after my first notes for a novel, which needed deep and multiple revisions, it was published last fall. The second novel I wrote in the waiting is slated for this fall. I’m so glad I didn’t quit (permanently!).

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’ve never liked the advice about saving your best ideas for when you’re a better writer. There are always more (and better) story ideas down the road. Write what you’re passionate about *now*. It makes all the difference.

  60. Big time Melancholy over here! Due to personal issues I had to take a long break from writing and after so much time spent not writing it’s hard to get started again. The insecurity definitely creeps in, but I know that about me so I’m surrounding myself with inspiration to get the words flowing again.

    Great post, K.M. Can’t believe I didn’t see it before now!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It’s so empowering to understand our personalities and why we do the things we do. It makes it much easier to empower our strengths and fix our weaknesses.

  61. Sanguine here…
    Funny how my struggles totally matches with Yezak. Personality types do have strong impressions on our work 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That sounds about right, based on your comments on other posts!

      • Yeah! You know almost all of it 😉
        My personal writing bumps in the road.
        Well, I also have a brother who is choleric, it is really cool to be choleric. Good for you, you are one of them 🙁
        I am in a skulking mood right now…

  62. I’m soooo sanguine!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Then I suspect you’re a fun person to be around. 😀

      • I’m a sanguine too and I can totally relate..
        I’ve chosen to be committed to my newfound profession as a poet, artist and a writer where all these need long hours of solitude to produce good works…
        and we sanguine people need to be around people most of the time! So the challenge is how to be productive in the long hours needed for writing without us getting bored by being alone?
        Any ideas or any tips from your fellow sanguine writers?

  63. Leanna Gracey says

    This was so interesting! I would say I’m a charming (yet frustrating) combination of the melancholic and sanguine personalities. I love writing and storytelling, yet I’m a complete perfectionist (I’m known for writing – and re-writing – my rough drafts in pen) and find it hard to push through the moments of insecurity, doubt and procrastination.
    So good to know I’m not alone, and that other writers struggle with the same things!
    Thanks for the article 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Since writing this post, I’ve really gotten into another personality typing system: Myers-Briggs. It’s much more thorough than the Four Temperaments and insanely helpful in guiding us to our unique strengths and weaknesses. This site, which types a lot of movie characters, is a ton of fun and a great resource: http://funkymbtifiction.tumblr.com/.

  64. I’ve always been fascinated by the Four Temperaments too. I’m certainly a Melancholic, and the confession by London here applies to me a lot. I think the most difficult obstacles I face in my writing is perfectionism, which in turn causes self-doubt and prevents me from finishing stories. Coupled with my mood swings, I sometimes become a complete emotional wreck and even consider abandoning writing altogether. I loved this post, it helped ne realize all this and encourage me in my journey 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I adore personality typing (Myers-Briggs is my new obsession). I think it’s so incredibly helpful in embracing both our strengths *and* our weaknesses.

  65. It’s Melancholic writing for me. I tend to dream ‘big.’ Sometimes I have to go back and start again, but I’ve learned to set goals instead of jumping in too deep. Photography, painting, writing, crafts, and even coloring makes me kinda artsy, I guess. I tend to read a portion of other author’s work and then second guess myself. I read over my manuscript and change verbiage soo much that I cut my word count by hundreds of words. On the flip side, I catch grammar and punctuation errors by reading my piece over and over before submitting it; not sure if that is a pro or con.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      There are pros and cons to all the personalities. The trick is figuring out how to maximize the pros and constructively deal with the cons!

  66. Definitely the melancholic one.

  67. Well…Sanguine is me. Yes, I am the animated storyteller/prankster and joke teller. Enjoy seeing people laugh and leaving them with joy-filled hearts. I am undisciplined and do not want to write; but I do want to write. There are so many funny stories to tell…you see, I work in the retirement industry. I am the entertainer…the Activities Director! (Oh, do I have stories…) I just want someone to write my stories, my screenplay…the way my heart feels it. Sanguine’s need discipline but do not want it. “Did ya hear the one about…?”

  68. “prominently” — you mean “predominantly”?

    A promontory is prominent. Prominent citizens are predominantly, uh, prominent. And often dominant.

  69. Howdy!

    I have no idea which category I would fall into honestly. I can see myself in a couple different areas. Also I hate to put myself into categories, I’d rather have someone else tell me which one I’m in. That’s just me though. What do you think?

    Nice post.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      You strike me as possibly being Sanguine–but, of course, I don’t really know you well enough to say.

  70. I am phlegmatic and sanguine. I am revising my co-author mermaid book. How long did it take for you to get published?

  71. I’ve been looking for something to help me understand myself in the writing aspect of my life. I began really writing about 3 1/2 years ago. Since then, I’ve gotten better and better to a point where a college professor who teaches short stories and writing for a continuing ed program thought it was awesome that I’ve mostly taught myself. She thought I should submit my short story to a magazine, which I did.

    However, I have a husband, a part-time job (looking for full-time w/ benefits), two kids (9/7), laundry, a house to clean, dinner to make, etc, etc, etc. I barely have time. I’ve fought through it the last few years, but now, not so much. I have decided I’m done with writing, despite the fact that I love it still with a great passion. I don’t want to give it up, but I’m not sure how to make it work anymore. Perhaps I’m not supposed to write in this time in my life. I suppose I can keep doing writing prompts when I remember, but I find myself struggling each night to gather the energy to think, be inspired, and even think about writing. Instead, I’d rather watch a show on Netflix and play a game (I blame this on the phlegmatic side…lol). Inside I still scream “I want to write”.

    I’m definitely melancholic with a good dose of phlegmatic and maybe a tiny side of sanguine (love making people laugh by saying funny things–good sense of humor). It’s interesting the mix I am. However, the moodiness and depression (never used to get this) and “I’m not good” enough thoughts are tough to live through. I taught myself how to write better by scouring the web on different ways to do this or that. I want to continue doing that, but from what I’ve read, I really need to write and write and write. It’s like a vicious cycle with me.

    So, tonight I looked up “ideas to help a melancholy phlegmatic personality write better”, and your website popped up. I believe the more I understand about myself, the more I might be able to beat myself one day. Haha! Not beat myself as in hit or kick, but if I could learn a new way of thinking or a new form of planning, maybe, just maybe I can be more prepared and not overwhelmed. So, onward in the search. Thanks for sharing this! I’m bookmarking it as you never know if I’ll need it for character development (not any good at that either).

  72. Olayinka Elizabeth says

    Glad I come across this. I’m totally a blend of Phlegmatic-sanguine. I can be playful, energetic and all around the people I know but i’m an introvert as well. I do procrastinate and avoid trouble. In short your descriptions fit me perfectly for both but I’m more of a Phlegmatic than a Sanguine.

  73. Cool, another INTJ. I would say I have a melancholic core surrounded by a thick phlegmatic shell. If I could get away with writing a novel using info graphics and dot points I would have twenty books by now. However, deep inside, an insistent echo exhorts me to find the golden mean, the most harmonic, resonant score, the perfect formula, to craft a story worth telling.

    I was 17 or 18 when I decided I wanted to write. I’m 40 now. 2 decades of dreaming, planning, plotting and learning. I am either very prepared now, or a Jedi Master at procrastinating, ha ha!

  74. its book motivated behavior, (review different type of behavior in human )

  75. Who is the lady in image (thinking with pen )

  76. K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

    It’s a stock photo, so I don’t know.


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