The ENFJ Writing Personality: Expressive Harmony

I think education is power. I think that being able to communicate
with people is power. One of my main goals on this planet is to
encourage people to empower themselves.
—Oprah Winfrey

Do you believe personality affects your writing style?

ENFJs are natural communicators, both in writing and in speech. They write to express their values and to forge human connections. ENFJ writers enjoy projects that allow them to indulge their creativity and to establish their own goals. They are organized but sometimes impatient, which can lead them to skimp on facts that support their conclusions. If you’re an ENFJ, you may find it helpful to slow down and explore the landscape rather than racing toward the finish line.

The ENFJ personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ENFJ stand for the following:

E: Extraversion preferred to introversion
ENFJs 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
ENFJs 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. ENFJs tend to be intellectually restless—they want to change the world.

F: Feeling preferred to thinking
ENFJs 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 rule of logic. They tend to give other people the benefit of the doubt.

J: Judgment preferred to perception
ENFJs are drawn to closure. They feel satisfied after finishing a project or reaching a decision. They think in terms of likelihoods rather than possibilities.

Are you an ENFJ 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 ENFJ

ENFJs may approach a writing project in the following ways:

  • Tend to estimate accurately how long a writing project will take. They generally dive into the first draft and develop a framework. You may find it helpful to  start with the closing paragraph to give yourself an end point to strive for. Don’t let this limit you, though: be prepared to rearrange the structure and change your conclusions as you explore the subject in more depth.
  • Draw their inspiration from people. They tend to read extensively and to collect words they consider particularly apt. If their writing project involves others, ENFJs often take a leadership role. As an ENFJ, you thrive in a harmonious atmosphere where everyone’s opinions are respected. Having a strong need to feel in control of your projects, you want to work in a cooperative environment conducive to driving a project to completion.
  • Focus their writing on their values and ideals. They use language to persuade. They want to influence people’s lives for the betterment of the individual and society. If you’re an ENFJ technical writer, focus on your talent for expressing a complex idea clearly. Recognize that this gift benefits your readers by helping them perform their tasks more effectively.
  • Naturally adopt a conversational tone in their writing. Yet they often use imaginative and hyperbolic language to illustrate a point. They have a talent for seizing on subtleties and choosing the exact word to convey an idea. They consider how their writing affects their audience.

Potential Blind Spots of the ENFJ

ENFJs may experience the following pitfalls:

  • Tend to choose broad topics with wide-ranging effects on people. Be careful to limit the subject to what you can realistically explore in sufficient depth within the scope of the project. At the same time, don’t rush through the brainstorming process at the beginning. Tap into your creativity, letting one thought suggest another. Reflect on what aspects of the topic interest you most.
  • May have little interest in subjects that don’t engage their sensibilities, because their writing is personal to them. Seek input from other people if you feel stuck. Consider how your audience feels about the subject. Find something to believe in, and advocate your position. Use anecdote and humor to connect to your readers.
  • Are motivated by their desire for completion and can become impatient if they feel a project is progressing too slowly. Don’t waste time in the beginning trying to craft a graceful expression; let your ideas flow, then polish during revision. Accept that writing is a process, so you may not get immediate results. Don’t rush through the final stages; include facts that support personal stories or observations.
  • May find it difficult to create the emotional distance needed to be objective. Don’t let a hasty conclusion skew your research. Be sure to include alternate points of view. Also, be careful to avoid a cursory treatment of the subject. Ask a friend or colleague to review the work, making sure you’ve provided sufficient detail.

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

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

Sources:
Write from the Start
by Ann B. Loomis
What Type Am I? by Renee Baron
Your Personality Type and Writing: ENFJ
from the Villanova University website
Oprah Winfrey Quotes at About.com

ENFJENFPENTJENTPESFJESFPESTJESTP
INFJINFPINTJINTPISFJISFPISTJISTP

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11 thoughts on “The ENFJ Writing Personality: Expressive Harmony

  1. Oh what a wonderful post! I knew I was an ENFJ but having an understanding of how that fits in to a writing style was so helpful. I am going to pass this on to my editor and other “team” members!
    Also, love your source. I graduated from Villanova!
    Stephanie

  2. Thanks, Stephanie. Although I live in North Carolina now, I’m originally from the Philadelphia area, so I’m a bit partial to Villanova myself. 🙂

  3. Brilliant information, thanks for sharing. This blog looks full of great articles! I’m a writer and a lover of personality psychology, so this suits perfectly 🙂

    ~ JLT

  4. This is so helpful. As a total ENFJ I am having hard with the “slowing down and sitting still” part of writing and it is encouraging to find sources that explain that as just a tool I can use to better communicate what I care about…. instead of trying to force myself to be different.

    • Glad you found the article helpful. Extraverts in general may find it easier to work in an active environment, such as a coffee shop, during the early stages of writing. When working on the first draft, write at the pace that feels right for you. You can always go back later and add the things you missed.

  5. Pingback: [ENFJ] Writing and the Givers

  6. Pingback: The Myers-Briggs Types of 101 Famous Authors

  7. Pingback: WT&TT: Personality Affecting Writing Process? (reblogged) | myzania

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