The ENFJ Writer
Just What Kind Of Writer Is The ENFJ?
I decided to use MBTI as a system of trying to help new writers find their voice and style. If you don’t know what the MBTI is or you need a quick overview click for my intro article here.
I think that personality has a big influence on writing, understanding your personality will be key to understanding how to come across to others. There are many writers who have become popular based on the personality of their writing style, this is often referred to as voice. A writer’s voice can be incredibly magnetic and engaging.
Think about it like this, if you were stuck on a long bus ride with someone you’d rather them be interesting enough to listen to or boring enough to lull you to sleep. You never want to be in the middle. Writers will die by being lost in the pack. How should you stand out? By understanding what makes you unique, what is your flavor or style. Understanding this as a new writer will help you understand what kind of audience to attract, and what kind of things to write.
I am absolutely not saying that you should base your entire writing career in a multiple choice personality test. In fact there could be incredible value in doing exactly the opposite of what you’re comfortable with. For new writers, however, it’s best to learn to walk before you run.
Please use this as a guide to suggest a direction and don’t take this as gospel.
Note: For the MBTI experts.
I am not breaking type down by cognitive functions, or even the letters. I think these things are nuts and bolts details that are for those interested, not everyone. Type descriptions should be fluid and comprehensive to better understand the whole archetype of character.
The ENFJ and the INFJ have a lot in common and I suggest that if you aren’t sure if you are an INFJ or an ENFJ you read both profiles I’ve written (INFJ can be found here).
The ENFJ is going to be most oriented to directing the emotional energy of the group. A lot of descriptions will concentrate on the fact that ENFJs tend to brighten a room whenever they walk into it, but it’s actually not that simple. ENFJs are highly emotional people and since they are so keen on directing emotional energy, the emotions of the group tend to reflect the ENFJ themself.
If the ENFJ is in a bad mood, people tend to smile less and joke less often.
ENFJs are good at close interpersonal conversations (i.e. one-on-one conversations) and tend to do well in career fields that require this sort of work (like therapy), however the ENFJ does not typically seek these things out.
One characteristic you can almost always find in ENFJs is that they crave an audience, and tend to have one. ENFJs are types to love the idea of having ‘fans’.
Like the INFJ the ENFJ will concentrate on collective meanings. They will likely be interested in spirituality and religions. Tarot, astrology, and wicca, also seem to be things I see ENFJs dabble in.
The ENFJ will be highly driven and wish they could constantly push themselves harder and harder to succeed. This can lead them to make plans that are doomed to fail, or lead their health to fail them. This failure will usually be seen as merely a sign that the ENFJ should push themselves harder. Don’t get in their way though, these types normally don’t like to relax, and forcing them to do so can do more harm than good.
Not to say that all ENFJs are workaholics, their work output can vary. But when it comes to things that are linked to their passion, these are the things that an ENFJ will literally die for.
The ENFJs overly emotional nature can benefit from someone to break problems down for them in a brutally concise way. Otherwise they can become overwhelmed with passion and start making decisions with their heart without consulting their head.
Examples of famous celebrities:
Cher, Oscar Wilde, Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, TD Jakes, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Jennifer Lawrence, David Bowie.
What kind of writer are they?
ENFJ are not just extraverted INFJs, but it is a little difficult to express extraversion in an isolated activity like writing, however there are subtle ways to tell the difference between the two.
When it comes to messaging the ENFJ will care more about passion the words evoke, while the INFJ will care about the timeless resonance of the words.
For example Dante Allegeri (INFJ) created a very carefully constructed view of Hell for his protagonist to enter that reflected the sins and follies of human beings. Dante’s vision of Hell is made up of 7 circles that represent the sins that we are all in danger of committing. The poem can be read today and its message wouldn’t be affected very much.
William Shakespere (ENFJ) in comparison does indeed have stories that seem to be timeless, but the story is centered around the follies and passions of the characters themselves. In his plays it is usually the character’s passions that end up being the driving element of the plot.
While Romeo and Juliet are the stars of Shakespere’s play, Hell steals the show in Dante’s epic poem.
Advice to the writer:
The ENFJ can be engaging and passionate but they may also have a hard time being concise and clear in what they are trying to say. They can benefit from meeting or befriending a person who can help them learn to structure their thoughts in a systematic manner so that their writing will have structure as well as passion.
Practicing good word economy is recommended. I would suggest these writers to learn from:
Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway, O. Henry, Elmore Leonard, Gillian Flynn.
The ENFJ is an emotional person who can have a hard time figuring out what exactly it is that they want to say. They can be quite adept at navigating the emotional atmosphere of a room and can even be seen commanding a massive audience. They can sacrifice a lot for their passions, but they can have a harder time figuring out what exactly they should commit themselves to do.