Energy to Write: Judgment vs. Perception

black and whiteAs with all creative exercises, a writing project requires sustained mental energy to take it to conclusion. Different personality types derive their energy in different ways. The Judging/Perceiving dimension of personality measures whether a person prefers closure or open-endedness. This affects how we approach a project at all stages, and what factors drive us toward completion.

Judging types like to begin a new project right away. This helps them develop a feel for the scope of the project and how long it’s going to take. Judging types don’t like surprises, and they want to be sure they have enough time to finish a project before the deadline. They determine what resources are needed and what steps are involved. They develop a primary plan and a contingency plan. They pad the schedule to prepare for the unexpected. They set milestones—and completing each of those intermediate tasks gives them energy that propels them forward. As the deadline approaches, though, their enthusiasm for the project may wane. All of that preparation and scheduling is draining, and they just want the thing over with. So with focused determination, they tie up the loose ends, send the project off, and forget about it.

Perceiving types may wait to start a new project, focusing instead on more urgent work already in progress. They like to spend time mulling over the project before they begin, and they generally devise a schedule by working backward from the deadline. Since they enjoy improvising and tend to be good at it, they often don’t create backup plans. They trust that everything will work itself out. Energized by new ideas, they enjoy research and may delay writing until they feel they’ve thoroughly explored the possibilities. Once they’ve gathered enough information, they begin to see the pieces fall into place. The deadline gives them energy to push toward the finish line. Without a deadline, they may lack motivation to complete a project. Conversely, some may continue tinkering with a project even after they’ve turned it in.

Image courtesy of sue_r_b.


The Art of Dialogue by Carolyn Zeisset
Writing and Personality by John K. DiTiberio and George H. Jensen

Related posts:

Energy to Write: Extraversion vs. Introversion 
Energy to Write: Thinking vs. Feeling
Energy to Write: Sensing vs. Intuition


2 thoughts on “Energy to Write: Judgment vs. Perception

  1. As a pretty strong J, I have to resist the temptation to start writing before I’ve completed the planning, design, and research. The best way to beat this temptation is to do just what you said: create a plan with milestones. If I have milestones like “design the information” and “do the research” then I’m less likely to jump in and start writing.

    Thanks for the insights.

    1. That’s a good addition, Larry. Judging types generally have a certain set of assumptions in mind from the outset. Those assumptions can serve as a framework; but if you don’t test them before you start writing, you can waste a lot of time.

      Perceiving types can have the opposite problem. They can waste time writing if they don’t first develop a hypothesis to serve as a framework. They write about all the possibilities, taking time to perfect their prose, then end up deleting it because it doesn’t serve their purpose. This is especially problematic for beginning creative writers (particularly INFPs). In creative writing, it isn’t necessary to have an outline, but it is necessary to have a plan.

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