Have you ever wondered about your writer personality type and how to work best with your DiSC profile as you write your book?
Recently, I was talking with a new friend, Myhriah Young, who is a DiSC profile expert. One of the things that came up during our call was writer personality type and how knowing your DiSC profile could help you write your book. We both got so excited about it, and after our long conversation (We both have DiSC type i in our profiles), I had to come here and write you a blog post.
I’m not sure why the i is lowercased in the acronym associated with the official assessment, but it is. In the paragraphs describing the types below, I’m going to capitalize it.
The DiSC types summarized
First, let me explain that each DiSC type has a motto or a slogan:
A high D person is known for saying, “Do it now!”
A high I would say, “Let’s do it together!”
A high S would say, “Can’t we all just get along?”
A high C would say, “It must be done right.”
What is the DiSC profile?
It’s important to note that rather than a true personality test, the DiSC is a situational-based profile. How you function in one workplace could result in one profile, but another workplace or situation can result in a different set of letters for you. Usually, though, there is some overlap.
For example, when I was working in schools, learning centers, and a children’s home, my profile was always SIC.
The ability to provide steadiness and support (the S) was a huge requirement for those environments. So was the drive to inspire and influence and the need to interact (the I). And because we had many regulations to follow or risk firing, loss of licensure, or even jail time, anyone who didn’t have a C somewhere in their profile would not last long.
At the children’s home, almost everyone had the SIC profile, and even those who did not work with the children had S and C.
In my own business, I have staff who provide the S factors of support and steadiness, and I’m able to provide more vision and leadership. So my profile in the context of running my own business is a little different.
I’m an IDC, so my profile slogan would be “Let’s do it together, now, and with excellence.”
My friend Myhriah loved it and wrote all of that down to use with her clients. That made my day. (There’s my high I of inspiring and influencing!) Let’s take a look at the different writer personality types based on the DiSC profile.
Disclaimer: This is all from what I have seen in my decades of working with authors and other writers. It doesn’t mean that it fits all people with a certain DiSC profile. Also, I work with nonfiction far more often than fiction, so fiction isn’t represented here in all of the types.
Writer personality types based on DiSC
High D type: “Do it now.”
People with the High D writer personality type don’t care as much as other types do about following the rules or about how something is done or with whom, only that it is done. And quickly. Yesterday, even. Taking a decade to write a book (or have it written for them) would be a nightmare for a high D person. These are the people who crank out a book in a week and expect their editors to be done just as quickly. At least until they have some experience and now how it actually works.
High D people don’t often have a problem deciding to write a book or with actually writing it. They might struggle with the question of “What should I write a book about?” I’ve seen a few do that, but soon after I started asking questions to help them figure it out, or the moment I started making suggestions, they knew what they were going to write about, and they were off to the races.
The High D writer personality type people are the ones who often rush to publication without proper editing or layout. They also tend to write business books, how-to, and other instructional “do it” types of books. If they own a business or are a speaker or other leader, they might want to write a book to grow their business.
Most of my clients have D in their profile somewhere. I’ve often said that to be an author, a person almost has to have some ego. The trick is overcoming impostor syndrome and having enough of an ego or confidence to put something out there, but not so much that you’re a jerk. There are already too many raging narcissists in this world.
High I type: “Let’s do it together.”
The High I people are the social butterflies. They are often called extroverts even if they’re not. Whether someone is an extrovert or introvert is determined by how they recharge, not by whether or not they like interacting with other people. High I types like to inspire and interact and influence others. Being alone in a cabin for a year to write a book, where they wouldn’t be able to interact with others, or influence people, or inspire people for many months would be a nightmare for most high I people.
Unfortunately, the “alone in a cabin” thing is a common stereotype and false belief many people have about what it takes to be an author. You don’t have to do that, I promise. Many of us write books in the middle of our houses, surrounded by kids and pets.
This is the writer personality type that could prefer to work in a coffee shop or coworking space, since it’s more business focused than home might be. Regardless of where they like to work, they might talk with others rather than write. It’s common to see them on social media when they are supposed to be writing. I host writing sprints for this type and others, to help people focus and move forward (S and C types, I’m talking to you, too!). This writer personality type tends to write books that are designed to connect with others, such as helpful nonfiction, memoirs, and romance novels.
High S type: “Can’t we all just get along?”
Those with a High S writer personality type can do just fine writing a book, but they might find that their manuscript gets pushed to the back burner often. This is because so many people need them and they give in to those requests. Women are far worse at this than men are, which is due to our societal demands on women to be the caretakers of the household and even people and organizations outside of it.
Many of the people who have told me their manuscript has been sitting unfinished in a drawer for a decade are High S types, and every one of them has had a list of things they “just had to” do that were “more important” or “more urgent” than writing their book is.
While I do understand and sympathize with that whole awful situation, I say, “Hogwash. Say no.” It’s time that women stood up and expected men to pull their share of the load when it comes to house and kids. And, barring that, it’s time that women at least put their writing first.
Let others handle things. I promise you that your church will not die if you don’t man the book table at the annual rummage sale this year. The food bank will not die if you don’t spend every Saturday this year there. (I ran one, sometimes alone; it doesn’t take that many people, and someone else can step up for a change. You, my High S friend, have done enough). Years of volunteering and running nonprofits taught me that I didn’t need to do it all, that someone would always show up when I released a task. Organizations find a way to keep running without you. So let them.
You are important. You are not what you do for others. And your readers need you just as much as the people close to you do—and there are far more of them! Coaches and other leaders find that their audience members listen to them more than their family members do. I’m not saying that you should stop helping your family members or IRL friends, but isn’t it smarter to help people who actually want your help?
If and when a High S type does write a book, it’s most likely going to be one that is helpful and supportive (helpful books are so important).
High C type: “It has to be done right.”
High C types are the ones who are excellent regarding accuracy. They do their research. Citing their sources is something I rarely have to instruct high C types to do.
People with this writer personality type are the ones who overthink everything and let their perfectionism prevent them from writing. “Procrastination is the bane of our existence,” one of my mastermind members who is a high C type told me. Once they do write their manuscript, they allow their perfectionism to keep them from publishing. They spend forever tweaking and adjusting.
They can also give their readers information overload. They want to cram everything they know into one book, and that’s not wise. Write more than one book if you need to, and keep each one focused rather than rambling. Overuse of images, charts, graphs, or tables is sometimes an issue with this writer personality type as well.
High C writer personality type people are the ones I most often need to tell that what they want can’t be done (those and high D types). For example, some authors want fold-out maps, spiral binding, or pouches for pens to be affixed to their books, but they want to have Amazon print and fulfill their books.
Amazon does not offer any of those options (yet). That may change at some point in the future, just as it did with hard covers. Amazon used to not offer hardback covers, and they do now.
The authors could have their books printed elsewhere and shipped in to Amazon, and then have Amazon fulfill their book orders, but they don’t want that. When that’s the situation, I have to tell them what they want can’t be done yet.
These authors tend to write process books, how-to books, and history books. It might take them a long time to write their book, but they get it right.
Using DiSC to write a book
How can you use this information on writer personality types to write your book? First, know your profile. Second, look at the strengths and weaknesses of each letter in your profile as it relates to writing a book. Then set up a situation that allows for the advantages and mitigates the weaknesses.
High D writer personality types might want to allow more time for themselves and each member of their book team (editors, designers, etc.) to do the work needed. Listening to the members of that team is important, too. You hired them because of their expertise, so let them use it, and listen to them.
Most High D people have little need for accountability groups (they usually lead them). They could benefit from taking a moment to celebrate their accomplishments, though, so the sprints membership can be good for them. They also need a recipe to follow, so my book that shows you exactly how to write a nonfiction book would benefit them.
High I writers could benefit from a social but structured situation, such as writing sprints (which have social time and accountability) paired with a schedule for their writing production so they can stay on track. The manual for Your Book Bakery group-coaching program is a free download that walks you through a 12-week schedule for writing your first draft. You can find it on the book goodies page. The sprints membership lets you have some company and accountability at the same time. A measly $9/mo that will help you get your work done? What a steal!
High S writer personality types need help saying no and making time for their own writing. They’re another group of people who benefit greatly from the writing/work sprints we host and a schedule like that in the manual mentioned above. Having someone else expecting you to show up and do the work really helps S types. In my experience, it’s the only way they’ll ever get their book written. Committing to writing their book in two-minute bursts is helpful, too.
High C personalities can benefit from the sprint community because we don’t let them get bogged down. We say progress over perfection, and the writing phase is time for writing. Editing and making it look pretty all come later. Deciding to turn off their inner editor for a short time (I recommend two minutes at a time), and then writing as fast as they can during that time helps High C writer personality types to get over their perfectionism and procrastination and make progress.
Every writer personality type can benefit from resources.
Click the image (Amazon link) to order the book.
Go to the book goodies page.
Find out more about the work/writing sprints membership.