The ISTP Writing Personality: Extreme Knowledge

If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign
you’re not doing anything very innovative
. —Woody Allen

Can knowing about personality type make you a more effective writer?

ISTP writers are keen observers with a vast store of knowledge on subjects that interest them. They enjoy learning about gadgets, about how they work and what problems they were invented to solve. Independent thinkers, ISTPs  tend to be unswayed by other people’s expectations. ISTPs research a topic thoroughly before writing about it and base their conclusions on comprehensive, proven data.

The ISTP 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 ISTP stand for the following:

I: Introversion preferred to extraversion
ISTPs get their energy from the internal world of thoughts and ideas. They enjoy interacting with small groups of people but find large groups draining. They generally reflect before acting.

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

T: Thinking preferred to feeling
ISTPs prefer to use their thinking function when making decisions. They place more emphasis on the rule of logic than on the effect that actions have on people. They tend to be skeptical in evaluating ideas, whether their own or someone else’s.

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

Are you an ISTP 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 ISTP

ISTPs may approach a writing project in the following ways:

  • Want their writing to serve a practical purpose, such as explaining how to solve a problem. ISTPs tend to be good troubleshooters with broad, specific knowledge that they can apply in high-pressure situations. Choose topics that allow you to draw on this ability. Then, jot down your ideas while conducting your research, rather than writing in your head. This will help you focus your ideas early so you don’t waste time gathering extraneous information.
  • Work independently and prefer a quiet environment. If you must write collaboratively, seek out tasks that will allow you to work alone or with someone whose expertise you value. Unlike most sensing types, ISTPs don’t want detailed instructions or specific feedback. They want general guidelines that allow them flexibility. They aren’t likely to follow rules they regard as useless.
  • Bring a high level of mental energy to their projects. They enjoy taking risks and may need the pressure of a deadline to complete their tasks. They don’t want to write according to someone else’s schedule.
  • Focus on known facts rather than original ideas. ISTPs aren’t interested in theory except as a way of exploring what’s tangible and demonstrable. They seek mastery rather than discovery, although this may mean applying a new technique to an old problem. ISTPs don’t want to be the first—they want to be the best.

Potential Blind Spots of the ISTP

ISTPs may experience the following pitfalls:

  • Focus on the concrete and avoid abstract concepts. As a result, their writing may lack a unifying theme that communicates the author’s purpose. Be sure to incorporate an organizing principle, such as problem–solution, to serve as a roadmap for the reader.
  • Write to develop their ideas rather than to please an audience. If your goal is to communicate your ideas to others, be sure to organize your work so that the subject unfolds logically. This will likely come easily to you if you invest the time. Also, engage the reader by relating the subject to personal experience. If you don’t feel comfortable writing about your own experience, write about something you’ve observed.
  • May inject their satirical sense of humor even into a serious subject. This can be engaging if done well. But if you aren’t careful to consider audience reaction, you risk offending the reader. Seek feedback from someone whose judgment you respect. Ask the person to identify any problems but not to offer solutions. ISTPs like to come up with their own solutions and feel constrained by other people’s ideas.

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 ISTP 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: ISTP
from the Villanova University website
Woody Allen Quotes at



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