The ENFP Writing Personality: Imaginative Voice

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
—Charles Dickens

Are you curious about how your personality might affect your writing style?

ENFP writers are creative souls with an ear for language. They find abundant inspiration in the world around them. But they can lose steam quickly if the topic is dull, which can lead to procrastination and missed deadlines. If you’re an ENFP, you’ll likely find that talking about the topic with others can help you maintain your interest and discover new approaches. Too much isolation can make writing a chore.

The ENFP personality type is one of 16 identified by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs. Myers and Briggs are the original authors of what is now known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ENFP stand for the following:

E: Extraversion preferred to introversion
ENFPs get their energy from people and activity in their external world. Spending time alone can leave them listless and bored. They enjoy interacting with a large group of friends and acquaintances. They generally act before reflecting.

N: iNtuition preferred to sensation
ENFPs are abstract thinkers, placing more trust in flashes of insight than in experience. They’re less interested in sensory data than in the patterns perceived by the unconscious mind. ENFPs tend to be intellectually restless—they want to change the world.

F: Feeling preferred to thinking
ENFPs prefer to use their rational feeling function when making decisions. They place more emphasis on the effect that actions have on people than they do on adhering to the impersonal rule of logic. They tend to give other people the benefit of the doubt.

P: Perception preferred to judgment
ENFPs like to keep their options open. They enjoy beginning new projects and exploring opportunities as they arise. ENFPs think in terms of possibilities rather than likelihoods.

Are you an ENFP writer? If so, the following information may give you some insight into how temperament influences your writing style. Use these insights to help you play to your strengths and compensate for your natural blind spots.

Writing Process of the ENFP

ENFPs prefer to brainstorm before they start writing. They tend to see connections between unrelated things, so one idea will quickly generate another. Allow yourself plenty of time for this activity, but be sure to set an end date to keep your project on track. After the brainstorming phase, discard tangential ideas. Focus on the strongest ones so you don’t get overwhelmed when it comes time to flesh out the details.

ENFPs work best when they have the freedom to follow their own process and timeline. Estimate how long you’ll need to complete each task, then add 50% as a cushion. Set milestones along the way. Incorporate time for breaks. If your energy wanes, meet with a writer friend for coffee or other libation, and discuss your ideas. If the project permits, consider collaborating with a co-writer.

ENFPs do their best writing when they feel personally invested in the topic. They use their strong sense of empathy to immerse themselves in the subject, much as actors immerse themselves in a character. To stay inspired, look for ways to connect the writing to your ideals.  If you’re an ENFP technical writer, create a mental picture of your audience and use your writer’s voice to “speak” to them.

ENFPs have a natural sense of the harmony of language and ideas. They hear in their mind how combinations of words sound together. They’re attuned to tone and implications. Use these qualities to incorporate your unique voice and perspective into your writing. Ultimately, that’s what readers respond to.

Potential Blind Spots of the ENFP

ENFPs have the most energy at the beginning of a project, when inspiration first hits. Take advantage of this initial burst, but don’t get so engrossed in the project that you ignore basic needs like eating and sleeping. Remember to replenish your physical energy. You’ll get more done in the long run.

ENFPs may postpone starting a project if the topic doesn’t grab them. Instead, use your prolific imagination to find an angle that interests you. Free-write or cluster to generate ideas. Look to newspapers, magazines, or the internet for inspiration. Write a strong opening paragraph to get your creativity flowing.

ENFPs may burn bright during the early stages of a project but fade before they reach the end. To avoid this pattern, take periodic breaks. Spend time with friends. Let the subject percolate in your unconscious mind. You’ll come back to the project with new inspiration for that final push toward completion.

ENFPs have no great love for facts and details. Leave enough time at the end to check that you’ve included sufficient objective data. Strive for balance and fairness. Avoid over-reliance on personal insight. Ask a trusted friend to review your writing with a critical eye. Your work will be stronger for it.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong approach to writing. Each person is unique, so don’t let generalities limit you. Do what works best for you.

Do you have any tips for ENFP writers? Leave a comment and share your experience.
Also, for more information on this subject, check out the sources below.


Write from the Start by Ann B. Loomis
What Type Am I? by Renee Baron
Your Personality Type and Writing: ENFP
from the Villanova University website
Quotations by Author: Charles Dickens at



16 thoughts on “The ENFP Writing Personality: Imaginative Voice

  1. I’m an ENFP and I’ll just say from experience, that, yes, it can be creatively stimulating to discuss your creative ideas with others, but be careful. That is a really easy way to lose interest very quickly. I have so many projects left unfinished because when I initiated them I openly shared my ideas with everyone and soon got bored because I felt that I had already successfully communicated with an audience in some way. Take my advice, have one good friend who you can discuss with, but mostly keep your projects under wraps. As an ENFP, having those little ideas burning inside you just itching to get out is great fuel for productivity and just being able to finish what you start.

  2. Cole, that’s an excellent point. Dorthea Brande wrote about this phenomenon in her classic book, “Becoming a Writer.” It’s especially true for ENFPs. The mind’s creative impulse doesn’t care whether we express our ideas verbally or in writing. I recommend that when writers brainstorm with others, they seek feedback on things that are troubling them, and do more listening than talking. Wait until you’re alone to synthesize the new ideas, rather than discussing them out loud.

  3. Reblogged this on Sharon Morse and commented:
    I’m a Myers-Briggs junkie, and an ENFP to the core. There are tons of NF writers out there, the idealists. I meet them all the time. It’s a personality that lends itself well to story-telling. With a strong sense of empathy, jumping into someone else’s shoes–and head–to tell a story comes comes naturally to idealists. But so many of these idealist writers I meet are introverts. Sometimes it can feel like I’m the lone extrovert.
    I love to talk out my material with other writers. When I’m stuck, it’s the only thing that helps. Which can be tough in a community full of so many introverts, but we’re out there…taking over the conversation at your cocktail parties, friending you on facebook hours after we meet (I’m not a stalker, I swear! I’m just friendly!), and calling you up to meet for drinks or coffee or lunch or anything just please come hang out with meeeee!
    Knowing how my personality plays into my writing process has been a great help. I know sometimes I have to reign in my enthusiasm so I won’t get burnt out, and sometimes I have to kick myself in the butt so I won’t lose steam. It’s a tricky balance.

    1. Sharon, thanks for reblogging! Introverted writers might be unsure how to respond when extraverts talk to them about projects. If you say, “Can I use you as a sounding board for some ideas I have?”, chances are, they’ll be happy to do it. Without understanding the context, they might look at you warily and struggle for a response. It might never occur to an introvert to bounce their ideas off someone else (especially a judging type), so they need to know WHY you’re asking in order to know HOW to respond. Also, they’ll need a few moments of silence to collect their thoughts. Don’t assume that if they’re not saying anything, that they didn’t understand. They might just be waiting for a gap in the conversation before speaking up. 🙂

      1. Sharon and Andrea, I can relate to your comments and suggestions very much. When I was researching and writing my book — a 17 year process, it turned out — I took over many conversations, talking about my work.

    2. I related with your comment so much Sharon! It’s good to know I’m not alone in this world. I too feel like I am seeing more introverted people in society than extroverted and I feel weird that I am always the one to initiate the conversation or get the follow of communication going amongst a group.

  4. The thing that keeps coming back to me is the perhaps we are most ideally suited to the kind of writing it’s done in a team… Like screen ready for TV and film, like writing for the stage, like some types of marketing presentations. Or maybe, ENFP people are just naturally better suited to something like YouTubing where we can just get it out.

Leave a Reply to Nikki N. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.