The ESFP Writing Personality: Spontaneous Joy

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky,  from the earth,
from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.—
Pablo Picasso

Can knowing your personality type help you become a better writer?

ESFP writers are positive and enthusiastic. They use humor and a sense of fun to foster harmonious interactions between people. They’re intensely aware of their physical surrounding and have an exuberant desire to experience life. They enjoy catchy phrases and are adept at using language to capture the essence of a moment.

The ESFP 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 ESFP stand for the following:

E: Extraversion preferred to introversion
ESFPs 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.

S: Sensation preferred to intuition
ESFPs are concrete thinkers, placing more trust in past experience than in flashes of insight. They’re more interested in sensory data than in the patterns perceived by the unconscious mind. ESFPs tend to be intellectually content—they want to enjoy the world.

F: Feeling preferred to thinking
ESFPs 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
ESFPs like to keep their options open. They enjoy beginning new projects and exploring opportunities as they arise. ESFPs think in terms of possibilities rather than likelihoods.

Are you an ESFP 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 ESFP

ESFPs may approach a writing project in the following ways:

  • Tend to have a talent for language, especially spoken language. They enjoy relating anecdotes that convey an emotional or sensory experience. Their personal voice resonates in their writing.
  • Gather a lot of material about a subject, particularly if it’s unfamiliar. When composing a first draft, they work best by brainstorming about whatever comes to mind. If they analyze as they go, it breaks their flow of ideas, and they can get stuck.
  • Develop their ideas by talking to others. To capture the conversation, use a voice recorder or ask the other person to take notes. Otherwise, you may not recognize a good idea in the moment, or you may forget about it before you get a chance to write it down.
  • Build their topic around concrete elements like quotations. This may be a good approach to help organize a first draft. During the revision process, add your own unique perspective to avoid relying too much on other people’s ideas.

Potential Blind Spots of the ESFP

ESFPs may experience the following pitfalls:

  • Have difficulty starting a project if they don’t have a clear sense of direction. Identify the goals of the piece and develop an organizing framework. This will help you generate ideas and avoid tangents. Focus on how the topic affects people and on the immediate actions they can take in response.
  • May procrastinate because writing is essentially an introverted activity. Be sure to schedule ample time for revision. The first drafts of ESFPs tend to be unfocused—full of ideas but without a unifying theme. Through subsequent drafts, you can isolate your best ideas and weave them together coherently.
  • Like to visually capture the emotion of an experience by using italics, capitalization, and exclamation points. This can be effective in humor but is rarely appropriate in other forms of writing. Rely instead on your distinctive voice and flair for language.
  • May take too lighthearted an approach to a serious subject, or may fail to consider both sides of an argument. Ask a writer friend to review the piece. Request that the feedback be very specific.

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 ESFP 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
Writing and Personality by John K. DiTiberio and George H. Jensen
What Type Am I? by Renee Baron
Your Personality Type and Writing: ESFP
from the Villanova University website
Pablo Picasso Quotes at



4 thoughts on “The ESFP Writing Personality: Spontaneous Joy

  1. As an ESFP, I definitely agree with the part about “overexcited first drafts.” I’ve only recently learned how useful setting aside revision time can be. And it’s even better to do it over multiple days. Enjoyed the post!

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