What Type of Writer Are You? And How to Make it Work?

Parag Shah
5 min readAug 4, 2020

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Day 4/31: Blog Your Own Book Challenge

This is my fourth post for the Blog Your Own Book Challenge. In the previous post, I wrote about Shaunta Grime’s Writer Archetype Quiz and how it helped me understand myself better (as a writer).

Encouraged by that experience, I thought of taking more quizzes to get a better understanding of my skills and weaknesses.

I searched for a few quizzes and tried them out but most of them did not resonate with me. However, I did find one that did. In this case, the actual process of taking the quiz helped me more than the final answer and verdict because it made me think about various aspects of my writing like preferred process, preferred style, and several others.

What Type of Writer Are You? (And How to Make It Work for Your Content)

The quiz is divided into four sections: Process, Style, Inspiration, and Nuts & Bolts. I’ll go through each section and what I learned about myself.

Process

It was entertaining to know that Jack Kerouac wrote “On the Road” by typing on a 120-foot roll of paper. The reason — Jack’s typing speed was 100 words a minute and having to replace paper ever so often interrupted his flow. It’s an entertaining story but there’s more to the legend — check out this NPR article if you’d like to know more about the 120-foot scroll.

Coming back to what I learned about myself: I learned that my preferred process is to brainstorm an article, create an outline, write, and revise. This has always been my preferred process but I just did it at a subconscious level. This is how I write software code and, maybe out of habit, that’s how I wrote prose as well.

I’m glad I was able to spell it out and bring my process to the conscious level through this quiz.

Style

Style reflects a writer’s personality, voice, and how he perceives his audience.

When I read a book, there are certain styles I enjoy reading, and some, not so much. For example, I usually prefer a direct style sprinkled with humor and just enough exposition. Slapstick humor puts me off as does lengthy expositions. I loved Ayn Rand’s Fountain Head. In fact, I read it back to back three times. But John Galt’s 100-page speech in Atlas Shrugged was a bit too much for me to handle.

I learned, from the quiz, that my own style of writing is a combination of ‘straightforward, clear, minimalist’ and stream of consciousness. I also enjoy adding my opinion and if possible a dash of humor.

The quiz also had a useful piece of advice for people who prefer to minimalist style (or in my case an almost-minimalist style)

If you are a minimalist (A), your prose is probably very easy to understand, but your readers may miss out on details that could have enriched your writing. To achieve power through brevity, apply one of Hemingway’s reporting rules: Use vigorous English. This means using words that do a lot of heavy lifting for you. (Just don’t make up words to sound intelligent.)

I haven’t mastered this style but that’s what I’m aiming for and it’s nice to have it articulated.

Inspiration

William Faulkner once said you should read everything — trash, classics, the good, and the bad — to study what other writers are doing.

I won’t go into the actual quiz in this section because William Faulker’s quote makes a lot of sense to me and that’s what I’m aiming for now.

Nuts & Bolts

This section had two questions. The first about grammar and the second about jokes & swearing.

Once again, without going into my answers, I realized that I am not a stickler for grammar but I like to enough to make my writing easy to read. I do enjoy adding some humor to my writing and swearing is not taboo. I don’t have any qualms in saying that something’s fucking horrible if it really rattles me.

The Verdict

The creators of the quiz have divided writers into four categories based on their answers. These categories are: Model Citizen, Story Teller, Nonconformist, and Entertainer.

I learned that I am a non-confirming model citizen who has an inclination to tell a good story. Go figure :-) But that’s fine. My goal was to learn more about myself and the author’s description of each type helped me unravel my own qualities and shortcomings.

I learned that I am a natural fit for the education, tech, science, and legal industries because I like to write in a clear, well-structured style. I also learned that reading aloud what I’ve written is a nice way to determine if my writing sounds conversational or monotonous.

I learned that Storytellers have a natural ability to relate with their audience on a personal level by sharing their experiences. I honestly don’t know if I’m a good storyteller but it’s a skill I want to develop because I want to relate with my audience at a personal level. According to the article, storytellers may struggle to organize their thoughts to provide specific solutions. I’ll keep this in mind.

The article revealed to me that nonconformists tend to have a rich inner life and they also have an inclination towards humor and sarcasm. This was a bit of a revelation to me because I can be a bit sarcastic at times. There are times, especially when I write about dogma, that I’ve had to reign in my desire to add a few drops of sarcasm to my writing.

Apparently, Tech enthusiasts and Millenials enjoy a dash of sarcasm so I may be able to vent it out when I write for them :-)

It was interesting to note that Jack Kerouac is categorized as a nonconformist.

Entertainers are similar to storytellers with the difference that entertainers use exaggeration to entertain. They often draw from pop-culture and relate well to a variety of audiences. I won’t discuss entertainers in more detail because I don’t find any of those traits in me.

Thanks for reading this article. I hope it made you inquire into various aspects of your own writing.

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