Complete the self-diagnostic quiz below in order to find out what sort of creative/thinker you are.
- I get some of my best ideas for writing
a) when I’m ‘in the zone’
b) when I’m socialising or reading
c) when I’m in the shower or about to go to sleep
a) gives me ideas when I’m thinking critically
b) sometimes inspires me
c) is enjoyable, but I prefer to have my own ideas
- Writer’s block
a) can be worked through, to the point I’m not sure it really exists
b) is not the end of the world
c) is a curse, and happens to everyone
a) does not exist
b) is a concern for me
c) is not a problem because I have my own style of prose
- Writing a plan first
a) is usually helpful for me
b) sometimes helps and sometimes doesn’t
c) is a bit of a straight-jacket to my creativity
- When it comes to the act of writing
a) I usually have a clear idea in my head beforehand
b) it’s often two steps forward and one step back
c) I just put pen to paper and see where it goes
- Ideas come to me when
a) I need them
b) every now and then
c) when I’m truly inspired
- To me, creativity
a) is a skill you can work on
b) is neither an art nor a science
c) is something that you either have or do not have
Now add up your answers to see if you have a majority in either a), b) or c). If you have an equally high number of two answers, review the questions again and see if you could change one answer. Now read up on your strengths and weaknesses below.
If you had a majority of a) answers
You are a DELIBERATE thinker. You work hard at your writing, planning, polishing and finessing as necessary. Strengths: you hardly ever struggle for ideas. You do not tend to suffer from writer’s block. You are happy to redraft your work, and nearly always meet your deadlines. You are very self-motivated and have good confidence. Weaknesses: you can be a bit of a perfectionist and are rarely entirely satisfied with your work. You put pressure on yourself and are hard on yourself. You risk taking all the enjoyment out of writing.
If you had a majority of b) answers
You are a TWO-SPEED thinker. You are able to sustain a consistent output, even though you sometimes find it hard work. Strengths: you tend to have a few big ideas that you work on. You might sometimes have writer’s block on a plot detail or two, but nothing too insurmountable. You are receptive to input and feedback, and are prepared to use it to improve your writing. You like to have the support of others. Weaknesses: as much as you enjoy writing, sometimes it is a bit of a chore, particularly when you’re not feeling inspired. You have ups and downs when writing, but usually have the personal wherewithal to see it through. You’re not always confident about the quality of what you have produced.
If you had a majority of c) answers
You are a CREATIVE thinker. Strengths: your writing is very individual and creative. Your mind is more often than not teeming with ideas. When you are inspired, you can produce quite significant output. You particularly enjoy feedback that recognises what you are trying to achieve. Weaknesses: you do experience ‘down’ periods, when you don’t feel very inspired. Your output drops off significantly during these times. Deadlines become a challenge. At other times, you have so many ideas that you find it hard to stick with just one and see it all the way through. Finally, there is the risk of being quite demoralised by feedback that doesn’t understand your work in the same way that you do.
How do you feel about the comments above?
It’s important to appreciate that none of the types of creative or thinker above is better suited to creative writing than another. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses.
At the same time, it’s important for a writer to be aware of their particular strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t know your own strengths, then you won’t be sure that you’re playing to them. And if you don’t know your weaknesses… well! Another advantage of knowing your strengths and weaknesses: if you can find someone who is a different type to you, then they might well be able to help you in particular areas where you struggle.
At the end of the day, it is YOU who has to deliver successful writing. If you’re struggling to write that novel or successfully resolve that piece of writing you’ve been working on, then perhaps, just perhaps, it’s YOU that you need to work on before you can work successfully on the writing.
Find someone who is a different type of thinker to yourself and see what advice they might give on your weakness(es).
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