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Hello. My name is Kaye. I am an ISTJ.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Sounds a little on the concerning side, doesn’t it—like it’s a condition I need to learn to live with.

In a way, it is. You see, that’s my personality type based on the Jung/Myers-Briggs way of looking at personalities. (Find out your own here.)

I am an Introvert-Sensing-Thinking-Judging person:

Introvert: I have to get away from people to recharge. Being constantly around people drains my energy. And I have a hard time putting myself forward to meet new people.

Sensing: People who have a preference for sensing are immersed in the ongoing richness of sensory experience and thus seem more grounded in everyday physical reality. They tend to be concerned with what is actual, present, current, and real. As they exercise their preference for sensing, they approach situations with an eye to the facts. Thus, they often develop a good memory for detail, become accurate in working with data, and remember facts or aspects of events that did not even seem relevant at the time they occurred. Sensing types are often good at seeing the practical applications of ideas and things, and may learn best when they can first see the pragmatic side of what is being taught. For sensing types, experience speaks louder than words or theory.

Thinking: Thinking types seek to act based on the truth in a situation, a truth or principle that is independent of what they or others might want to believe or wish was true. The thinking function is concerned with logical consistency and analysis of cause and effect. As they use and develop their thinking function, thinking types often come to appear analytical, cool, and tough-minded.

Judging: They prefer a planned or orderly way of life, like to have things settled and organized, feel more comfortable when decisions are made, and like to bring life under control to the degree that it is possible. This only describes how their outer life looks. Inside they may feel flexible and open to new information (which they are).

I’m going to focus on this last one tonight.

Because of my personality type, when my free time is not structured, I tend to founder. Because of my natural tendency toward depression, this isn’t a good thing. Many people wonder how I was able to go to school part time (9 hours per semester) while not only working full time, but holding positions as either a volunteer or an elected officer with ACFW for five years—and writing four novels during that time. The truth of the matter is I thrived on having so much to do. I live alone, I don’t have much of a social life (most of my best friends live out of town or are married and have children who take up most of their time). So having more than enough to fill my time made me happy and productive. Even though I’m not a thrill seeker, that constant panic of having a looming deadline—a test, a paper due, a meeting by which something had to be accomplished—filled me with adrenaline and kept me going. Sure, I needed a break every now and again, but who doesn’t?

Since finishing my Master’s degree last June, I’ve had WAY too much time on my hands. I would at times find myself wandering around my house wishing for something to do—something other than coming into the office, sitting down at the computer, and writing. So I wasn’t getting much writing accomplished. I would set writing goals for myself, but it was so easy to blow it off and just sit in front of the TV all evening. After all, my job as a copy editor is so draining and I have to concentrate so hard all day at work. But, then after sitting in front of the TV until 10:30 or 11:00 at night, I would come in and sit down at the computer and feel guilty for not having accomplished anything, so I would end up staying up until 1:00 a.m. or later writing or reading.

When I finally forced myself to start writing every day so that I could finish Ransome’s Honor after a year and a half of working on it, I realized that it really is less draining to come home and immerse myself in the world of my story in the evening than it is to sit in front of the idiot box for those three or four hours.

Since I am much happier with structure, I’ve put myself on a schedule. I laid it out in an Excel spreadsheet in 15 minute increments throughout the day (from 7:00 a.m. to midnight . . . yes, this is the left-brain kicking in). At the beginning of the week, I look at what I know I must get accomplished outside of writing (critiques for others, meetings at church, movies or dinner with friends, etc.). I also think about what leisure activities (TV shows and reading) I want to do. And I came up with something like this, my schedule for tonight:

5:15—arrive home. Pick up and sort mail, change clothes.

5:30 – 5:45 p.m. – Walking (up and down the alley that runs behind my house).

5:45 – 6:15 p.m. – Checking e-mail; write and post blog entry (oops, I’m a little behind).

6:15 – 7:00 p.m. – typing in handwritten pages of A Major Event Inc. that I wrote at lunch (won’t take 45 minutes, so I can actually continue writing).

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Dinner. Can watch an hour-long TV show (usually something either recorded another night or On Demand through digital cable) or something on DVD. I have an alarm clock in my office set to go off at 8:00, at which time I turn off whatever I’m watching, even if it is in the middle of the most climactic scene.

8:00 – 10:00 p.m. – Critiquing. When I don’t have chapters to critique, this is time set aside for writing.

10:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Writing.

11:00 – 11:15 p.m. – Setting up coffee pot for in the morning and getting ready for bed.

11:15 p.m. – Lights out!

By following this schedule for the last couple of weeks, I have managed to average writing 1,000 words per day. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but when I can say that in fifteen days, I’ve written four chapters or 15,000 words on A Major Event Inc., it really adds up.

How would your writing be impacted if you put it on a schedule? Do you have a schedule you live by? Or are you a list maker and you just follow your list until everything is accomplished? Or do you wish you could set a schedule? Have you ever tried?

5 Comments
  1. Erica Vetsch permalink
    Monday, March 5, 2007 9:56 pm

    I’ve taken the Meyers-Briggs before. I’m an INTJ.

    I’ve worked from a word count per day goal, as well as a calendar goal, and I must say, I get much more done when I have set goals. I have a list of year-long goals, broken down into manageable bites, that seems to work best for me. If I don’t have goals, I flounder.

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  2. Georgiana D permalink
    Monday, March 5, 2007 10:58 pm

    LOL, Kaye–are we long lost twins? I haven’t taken this test, but I have a feeling I’m the same as you. (Will find out shortly.)

    I, too, like schedules. Mine are a bit–ok, a lot–more flexible than 15 min. increments. I’m more into 1-2 hour blocks of time. You see, I’m all or nothing so if I do the 15 min. blocks then I’ll kill myself sticking to them. But I should schedule quiet writing time where I’m not changing a train-wreck of a diaper or doing laundry or blah blah. Good idea!

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  3. Candice Speare permalink
    Tuesday, March 6, 2007 8:36 pm

    I function best with goals, too. Great article, Kaye!

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  4. Wednesday, March 7, 2007 7:40 am

    Hehe. I’m an ISTJ also. Good to know there’s another writer who is–I thought I was the only one!
    Karri

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