What is Your Writer’s Personality?

head-607480_640(1)So I just took an online personality test offered by the The University of Cambridge, and now I’m trying to absorb a few puzzling facts about my personality. Based on the principles of psychometrics, the test measures a person’s personality profile on the classical “big five” personality traits (Extroversion, Emotionality, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness). The test also classifies one’s general personality “type”.

According to my test’s results, my personality is characterized mainly by Openness (52%), Extroversion (58%), and Neuroticism (52%), with Agreeableness lagging behind (34%). Conscientiousness came in a distant fifth (16%).

Wait, Neuroticism? Is that what the University of Cambridge meant by the “Emotionality” personality trait? Wasn’t that a label switch?

Also, according to this test, my MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) personality type is an ISTP, which is a kind of personality that is usually found in engineers. That’s confusing, but I can’t say more about this finding because I lost the page with the results about that part of the test (which is probably a reflection of my low score on the Conscientiousness personality trait).

I don’t know how accurate this psychometrics stuff is, but I don’t think these results are problematic for a career in writing. In fact, I think writing is about the only thing I can do, given my personality. (I’d certainly never get very far as an engineer).

Why don’t you take the personality test, and share your results? They can’t be more embarrassing than mine.


25 thoughts on “What is Your Writer’s Personality?

  1. Hi Kathryn, thank you for sharing this fun test. πŸ™‚
    Here are my results:
    Openness: 44%
    Conscientiousness: 56 %
    Extraversion: 76%
    Agreeableness: 66%
    Neuroticism: 76%
    They concluded me being: Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving

    I especially love this sentence: “ESFPs live in the moment, experiencing life to the fullest.” πŸ™‚ A very pleasant surprise.

    Btw, I am engineer in my background and find the nature and ability of an engineer to find solutions, often unconventional ones, very useful in writing. So, I am not surprise that you as a writer have received such a result. All writers are engineers in a way, because they turn and twist their stories to make out the most exciting result. I think, the more successful the writer, the better engineer she/he could be. πŸ™‚
    Enjoy the engineering of writing. πŸ™‚ Have wonderful Easter holidays!

  2. 69% Extraversion. I work hard, play with zest, and then spend the next day on the couch.

    Neuroticism: The reflective question was: Which situations make you feel under pressure and which situations do not? I would think the standard answer to this, is the situations of which I have no control. Like flying. Doesn’t everybody feel this way?

    Agreeableness: 54%. My husband disagreed. I told him he’d probably score high on disagreeableness.

    Conscientiousness was 52% and openness was 44%.

    Interesting, but I would totally argue (just for fun), about its value.

  3. Hi Kathryn;
    This was a fun way to wake up my brain this morning!
    I scored:
    Openness 44%
    Conscientiousness 56%
    Extraversion 54%
    Agreeableness 54%
    Neuroticism 46%
    Introverted sensing thinking judging – thriving on organization. They bring painstaking attention to detail in their work, ISTJs are faithful, logical, organized, sensible, and earnest traditionalists (although, I’m willing to change in the right circumstances), work steadily toward their goals, enjoy creating order, persons of thoughts and (sometimes)emotions. They prefer dealing with the present and factual, using various options to make decisions.
    I have changed since I last took the Myers-Briggs, but I’m still on the introverted side of the chart. That is probably the most difficult element of one’s personality to change. My very extroverted husband provides balance for me!

    • When I reread the result for the third time, I’m not sure that entirely captures me, it sounds more stiff than I am. I do like to get things done, to the point my husband and says I’m sometimes like a dog with a bone, but on the other hand, I can have long stretches where I let the wind take me where it will. It just goes to show that we are all very complex and ever changing characters that are hard to pin down with complete accuracy.

      • Julie, I was an extreme introvert as an adolescent. I don’t act like an introvert any more on the surface, but emphasis on “act”. Extroversion is an outer layer I’ve learned to wear. Perhaps the test is sensitive enough to gauge some of the feelings behind the masks we wear? Thank you for sharing your results!

  4. Julie, I, too am an “ISTP”. Yes, the engineering bit is bizarre, but the rest seems spot on: “Naturally quiet people…open to new information and approaches. But contrary to their seemingly quiet and detached natures, ISTPs are often capable of humorously insightful observations about the world around them, and can be closet daredevils who live on the edge by gravitating toward fast-moving or risky hobbies. ISTPs tend to save their energy until they see a project worthy of their time, and then they launch themselves at it.”

    Detachment is, for me, a writing tool. It allows for observation of people and scenarios without becoming emotionally involved (biased). Humor is also important to my writing, and without detachment, finding the “funny” in tragedy becomes difficult.

    I ranked 73% on the “neuroticism” scale! I think it’s due to a tendency to over-analyze the motivating factors of others–which is also useful for a writer. WHY do people say and do what they say and do? And how does this relate to their “story”?

    “Open-ness” combined with “Introversion” seems to point to a writer’s naturally rich inner life (life of the mind). Adopting a social mask is necessary, and others find it hard to believe I prefer to be at home in pjs, just thinking, but willingness to allow oneself to be “exposed” to external stimulation/ideas offers a source for new data/input (to use engineering terms?) which lends itself to story-creation.

    And the daredevil bit? Yes, I take risks–both in writing and life. I just don’t put it on Facebook.

    • AJ, the one thing I found reassuring is actually my neuroticism score. I once took the “psychopathy” test, and was told I might be a very clever sociopath. I believe this test officially shows that I’m too neurotic to be a psychopath, lol. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Openness: 76%
    Conscientiousness: 44%
    Extraversion: 50%
    Agreeableness 44%
    Neuroticism: 69%

    Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

    “INTPs are quiet, thoughtful, analytical individuals who don’t mind spending long periods of time on their own, working through problems and forming solutions. INTPs tend to be less at ease in social situations and the ‘caring professions,’ although they enjoy the company of those who share their interests. They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and politics prevalent in many professions, preferring to work informally with others as equals. INTPs’ extraverted intuition often gives them a quick wit, especially with language, and they can defuse the tension in gatherings by comical observations and references. They can be charming, even in their quiet reserve, and are sometimes surprised by the high esteem in which their friends and colleagues hold them.”

    More accurate than I’d like to admit, and not bad for a writer at all.

    • I feel more like an INTP at heart, cat friend. I’m bummed that I got the engineer category. πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for the link to this fun test!
    I got:
    Neuroticism at 88%
    Openness at 52%
    Conscientiousness at 50%
    Extraversion at 34%
    Agreeableness at 34%

    I enjoy creating order, not really a “people” person. That is true!

  7. I got:

    Openness: 66%
    Conscientiousness: 54%
    Extroversion: 69%
    Agreeableness: 73%
    Neuroticism: 66%

    I am an ESFP. This part: “Active types, they find pleasure in new experiences. ESFPs learn more by doing than by studying or reading…” is completely opposite from me. I learn more by studying and reading and taking copious notes. I do like people but shun crowds and public speaking. So, it is partly true and partly not. I am actually much more introverted than I was when I was younger, but nonetheless, it was a fun test and I’ve talked my roommate into taking it. πŸ™‚ Thanks for posting! πŸ™‚

  8. Couldn’t find the test, all I got was a purpley/blue page with pink dots – one of them oscillating πŸ™

    • Aargh, sorry for your problem connecting to the link, Lyn! Try Googling “University of Cambridge Personality Test,” perhaps that will lead you to the right page.

      • Nup, didn’t work. Guess that means I don’t have any personality. Oh well, C’est la vie πŸ˜€

  9. Extroversion: 76%
    Openness: 66%
    Conscientiousness: 66%
    Neuroticism: 62%
    Agreeableness: 11% (Oooh)

    ESTP: extroverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving

  10. Conscientious: 92%
    Agreeable: 76%
    Extravert: 60%
    Neurotic: 48%
    Open: 34%

    These are pretty good results. I am very task oriented so the first is true. I tend to be agreeable and like people. I can be talkative in a crowd but shy when it’s a bunch of strangers. And I’m a worrier. So yes, this works pretty well for me.

  11. Great exercise and link, Kathryn! I must do the test when I’m not going crazy packing to move in 2 weeks! But I’m kind of a social introvert. I like to spend a lot of time alone, but enjoy the company of others, too. But when I get really sociable for longer, like a whole weekend at a writers’ conference, it wipes me out! Then I need to crawl into my cave for a few days.

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