The Psychology Behind Writing: Tap into Your Natural Personality to Assist Your Academic Writing Process (Part 1)

Hello fellow TAA members, lovely to meet you and thank you for reading this inaugural post of “The Psychology Behind Writing.” Over the next 12 monthly offerings, we’ll get into some of the psychological processes that support our academic writing as well as the ones that derail our writing. And, we will definitely explore strategies for amplifying the positive and mitigating the negative. 

Active Writers vs. Reflective Writers

Let’s start this series by looking at our natural personality preferences and how these influence writing processes as well as the preferred approach of our chosen discipline. We’ll use the tried-and-true Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as our personality framework and starting point.

Command Your Pet Words

Pets can be wonderful—I loved my orange and white cat. But when I received an editorial critique before publication of my short story “Casey,” I was horrified to learn it sheltered a whole menagerie of unwanted editorial pets —words, phrases, and grammatical constructions.

“Casey” is a story about a middle-school boy who feels like an outcast and later discovers he has healing powers. When I received the acceptance email, I was elated. Then the editor emailed me again: “Every author has pet words and phrases. Part of my job is to point them out so you can get rid of them.” She attached the manuscript and highlighted a herd of my pet words and phrases, in oxblood.

Do Proliferating Ideas Threaten to Overtake You?

Do ideas flood your brain like a herd gone wild? Are you flailing around, physically and metaphorically, trying to corral them and drive them into the barn? Going mad trying to figure out how to use them all?

I am almost constantly barraged by ideas for essays, stories, poems, novel slivers, quirky descriptions, and metaphoric pearls. Ideas surface everywhere: as I work on the current creative piece, edit clients’ manuscripts, wash dishes, huff through workouts, wait on line, watch people, meditate, fall asleep, and even at business dinners.

Are You Using Writing Models? If Not, You Should Be. Here is How and Why.

First, you may be asking, “What is a writing model?” A writing model is an example of writing like the one you need to produce.

Allow me to illustrate. Very early in my graduate program, I had never read a dissertation. But I knew I needed to write one. The best advice I received was to familiarize myself with the structure of a finished dissertation. I found dissertations that students in my own program had successfully written and defended under the guidance of my advisor.

Chat GPT: Forget about it…

Unless you were on that island with Tom Hanks in Cast Away, you have likely heard a lot about ChatGPT, Bard, and other artificial intelligence chatbots in the last two months. I mean a lot. Like too much.

You have likely heard about the revolutionary changes coming to the web, the world, education, and more. I am here to tell you as authors, take a breath. Don’t give up the ship. It will all be okay.