I have been intending to introduce you to a writing blog that I have enjoyed reading for quite awhile now.
Here now you get the blogger, Kenneth W. Davis, who says:
“In this knowledge economy, writing is the chief value-producing activity. But you may not be writing as well as you could. That may be because you think writing requires a special talent.
In fact, writing is a process that can be managed, like any other business process. If you can manage people, money, or time-then you can manage your writing. And you can profit from the result.”
This particular set of Davis’ posts relates to the series here on dealing with audience diversity as a communication challenge. One related issue is self-knowledge: Know yourself better and you will be better able to understand your audience as well. These posts help you understand individual differences-in both writers and readers.
Manage Your Writing
By Kenneth W. Davis
Write to Type – 1
“You have a personality. So does your reader. To write effectively, you have to take personality into account, consciously or unconsciously.
Probably the most used way of categorizing personality is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which measures personality on four scales. The first of those scales divides people into extroverts (E) and introverts (I), depending, very roughly, on whether they draw energy from other people (E) or from within themselves (I).
This week, as you plan each piece of writing, ask yourself “Am I an E or an I?” and “Is my reader an E or an I?” Then consider:
If you’re an extrovert, you may need to get all your thoughts on paper (or screen) very early; you may in fact “think by writing.” When you write to introverts, be sure to build community; don’t overwhelm them with your position.
If you’re an introvert, you may have trouble getting started; you might try drafting without editing as you go. When you write to extroverts, try to overcome your natural reticence and project self-assurance.
Nobody is entirely extroverted or introverted. But by paying attention to these tendencies in yourself and your reader, you’ll be able to get more things done with your writing.”
Write to type-2
“… think about the second variable of the MBTI: sensing (S) and intuition (N) (the letter I has already been taken). This variable measures whether you draw information primarily from your senses (S) or from your intuition (N). Roughly speaking, an S tends gather specific information, then process it (I saw this and this and this happen, therefore that must have happened). An N tends to grasp a situation intuitively, without being aware of the specifics (That seems to have happened, although I’m not sure why).
This week, as you plan each piece of writing, ask yourself “Am I an S or an N?” and “Is my reader an S or an N?” Then consider:
If you’re a sensor, be sure to move beyond the specific details in your writing and include generalizations or conclusions. When you write to intuitives, focus on your main point or points, not on details. (And be careful about trying to apply writing “rules” too rigidly; realize that you need to adapt to your specific writing situation. Make sure that you postpone your concern with spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics until the end of your revision process, where it belongs.)
If you’re an intuitive, make sure, as you plan a piece of writing, to gather a thorough list of facts and specific details. When writing to sensors, make sure to include enough details to support your main point or points.
As I said last week about the E-I dimension, nobody is entirely an S or an I. But by paying attention to these tendencies in yourself and your reader, you’ll be able to get more things done with your writing.”
Write to type-3
“… think about the third variable of the MBTI: thinking (T) and feeling (F). This variable measures roughly whether you make decisions primarily based on logic (T) or on emotions (F).
This week, as you plan each piece of writing, ask yourself “Am I a T or an F?” and “Is my reader a T or an F?” Then consider:
If you’re a thinker, be sure to pay attention to your reader’s possible feelings about your message. When writing to feelers, show empathy.
If you’re a feeler, you may need to be more structured and less sentimental. Pay special attention to organization. When writing to thinkers, make your message clear and logical.
Yes, I know this is getting to sound like a newspaper horoscope. But it’s based in hard reality. By paying attention to these tendencies in yourself and your reader, you’ll be able to get more done with your writing.”
Write to type-4
“… think about the last variable of the MBTI: judgment (J) or perception (P). This variable measures roughly whether you set priorities rationally (J) or spontaneously (P).
This week, as you plan each piece of writing, ask yourself “Am I a J or an P?” and “Is my reader a J or an P?” Then consider:
If you’re a judger, you may be sticking too rigidly to formulas that have worked for you in the past. When writing to perceivers, be sure to be flexible.
If you’re a perceiver, you may need to focus on your purpose and be concise. When writing to judgers, don’t be afraid to come to a conclusion and express it forcefully.
Of course you won’t know everything about your reader’s personality. And you may be writing to multiple readers. But in this case, questions are more important than answers. By taking a few moments to think about your personality, and that of your reader, you’ll do a better job.”