One of the most challenging things for a writer to grapple with is structure. I don’t necessarily mean in writing but in life. A writer creates, and the craft dictates fluidity. That is when the magic happens, right? For me, yes. But, when the world of writing collides with the mundane, everyday responsibilities, what then?
Pick up the kids.
Take the dog for a walk.
Clean the dishes.
Go to the day job. (Many authors have one!)
You get the drift. Life happens and requires your attention. So, what to do? Well, to be fair, I’m unique in that I write as a different personality type than I live. If you haven’t heard of the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator test, you should check it out. I don’t want to get caught up in a discussion about labels and such, but the test provides some insight into who you are and how you lead your life. The fourth component of the test revolves around the preference for Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). The J-word sounds awful, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not what you think. Judging means that you prefer a structured, defined lifestyle. Work starts at 8, walk the dog at 10, make plans for the weekend, etc. Perceiving means you’re more flexible and can adapt to situations more easily.
I have a strong preference for judging in life. I like order. I want things to be structured. I have a calendar, and I use it. When plans change, it blows my mind. BUT…when I write, I much prefer perceiving. I have no plan for what happens from point A to point B. I write. I uncover. Plot twists occur. Characters develop on their own and do things I didn’t expect. I’m a pantser. I used to be in denial about that, by the way. I know where I’m starting and, since I write romance and believe in HEAs and HFNs, I know how it will end. The middle part is a clean slate, unknown, curious, seductive even. I can’t wait to explore and see who I’ll meet as the plot unfolds as I type. I can do that because I write as a P.
If you couldn’t tell by now, this makes my life tricky. I have to switch gears from one to the other. Sometimes I have trouble doing so and either the writing suffers or the dishes pile up. It happens. All the other marketing and author platform stuff like writing blog posts, ahem, also cause friction between the two preferences. But, in the end, I play with the hand I’ve been dealt. I can write. I create stories. I always have. I like a schedule. I like to make plans.
I am both.
If you want to see what your Myers Briggs personality type is, take the test! Myers Briggs Test