January 11 2008
photo of author in gun totin chaplain in vietnam
Gun-Totin' Chaplain

The weirdness Of thinking I can be a writer... The fact of the matter is that I can be and all I have to do is write. Now, getting somebody to read it and God forbid thinking that it will get published one of these days is almost beyond the pale. But, I keep trying.

I love magazines like Writer's Digest. They are the epitome of encouragement. For years I have been reading Writers Digest and have always come away with some nugget; but, in a sense, one who reads such magazines or books for that matter on writing have to be realistic and somewhat cynical. Is this new news? Of course not.

We all know the statistics which we assume are true; four out of five books don't earn back their advance. Here's one statistic: Of the 1.2 million books published in 2004, only 25,000 sold more than 5000 copies. Fewer than 500 books sold more than 100,000.

Let's look at one issue of Writer's Digest, to make a point. Throughout the magazine, there's incredible encouragement on getting published and selling your book. It is the purpose of the magazine. There are profiles of authors who have done it. All of them have ideas. Most have been where we are. And, how many of us when reading, literally do say, "Wow, I can do that." And, by in large, we can. Will we? The unknown factor is just that, the Personality Factor which Writer's Digest doesn't take into consideration or should they.

Unfortunately, all of us who aspire to have a career as writers fight who we are continuously. Most of us fret that we cannot do many of the things that the books/ magazines say we should to advance our career.

Let's put aside the other than level playing field. Magazines like Writers Digest profile the daughter of some Hollywood producer who has made it as though that applies to us. Give me a break! The fact is that there is no level playing field. Add to that another pet peeve, celebrity worship, and we are even more in the throws of self pity.

Madonna can write a book on child rearing and it is off the charts. Or, Paris Hilton will go to jail, come out, somebody will ghost a book and she'll make more millions. Is my cynicism showing yet?

Nobody talks about The Personality Factor. Let's jump ahead and we have our book out there at bookstores. For the moment, forget all the angst to get there. If you are an introvert, which by the way is not negative, you are not going to fawn all over the idea of say a book signing as an extrovert would. (I would define these two terms but they are used so much that it is probably not needed).

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator has been my guide for years in life. Before I came across this wonderful instrument, I thought I was a little on the crazy side. I just didn't seem to be like others.I have always been creative, writing with a whole passel of ideas, reading Writers Digest, All I had to do was stay with it. Well, not necessarily so depending upon my personality. Unfortunately, the approach take by magazines like Writers Digest and books on writing, is that we are all the same, shaped by a cookie cutter tool. Not so.

On the Myers Briggs, I measured borderline between extroversion and introversion. I have done book signings where I dreaded it, something akin to meeting a blood sucking Dracula for lunch. However, once I got with it, I loved it. Simply, based on my personality, the thoughts of doing it were 10 times worse than the actual signing. Why? My personality. Will knowing our personality help us as writers? Absolutely. Continued in articles:

A Writer's Personality


Adapted from an article originally written May 17, 2007 by JL

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