Quiz: Which Writer Archetype Are You?

Hey everyone! I’ve found a quiz today created by “The Write Brain” from Medium.com that tells you which type of writer archetype you are! According to The Write Brain, “Most writers have a top-level archetype and a secondary that informs and refines it.” I’m going to take this quiz and share my results below.

I’ll leave a copy at the end for you to take it, too. I’d love for you to share your results in the comments below! 🙂 So, it’s time to settle in, grab your favourite beverage, and take this quiz with me.

Here I go!

For Whom Do you Write?

A. I’m not sure yet.
B. Whoever pays me.
C. Myself. Check.
D. My readers.
E. My muse.

How Prolific Are You?

A. I write, but no one has ever seen my work. I will share it as soon as I’m ready.
B. Highly. I write as often as my employer requires me to.
C. As prolific as I want to be. I write when I have a story to tell.
D. I tend to write a lot, because I’m excited about my ideas. Check!
E. Not particularly prolific. I often focus on one project for a very long time.

How do your ideas show up?

A. As another thing to learn about.
B. They are assigned to me.
C. My ideas come to me as I move through life, they are closely tied to my actual experiences.
D. In a constant barrage, from all sides. Check!
E. One at a time.

How important is earning a living as a writer to you?

A. It’s important, but the whole concept is overwhelming.
B. Highly important. (Even the most important thing.)
C. Important. If I could earn a living as a storyteller, that would be so amazing. Check!
D. Important. If I could earn a living connecting with my tribe, that would be so amazing.
E. The last thing on my list of what’s important about being a writer.

Why do you write?

A. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I love being immersed in the culture of writers.
B. Because I love creative work.
C. For healing.
D. To teach.
E. For the art of it. Check!

Which book do you wish you’d written?

A. The last book I read is almost always my new favorite. I wish I’d written them all!
B. I’d love to ghostwrite a novel for my favorite celebrity.
C. A memoir.
D. Something that is a universal favorite, like The Chronicles of Narnia or a highly-impacting creative non-fiction book.
E. Any National Book Award winner. Check!

How much detail do you put into your writing?

A. I haven’t written much yet, but I’m drawn to one of the answers below.
B. As much as is expected by my editor.
C. Tons of detail — most of it very personal.
D. Some, but I’m more interested in clearly sharing ideas. Check!
E. All of the detail — this is my happy place.

How much of yourself do you put into your writing?

A. I’m not sure yet. I haven’t started writing.
B. None at all.
C. My writing is almost always about myself. It is possible that people who know me are uncomfortable reading my work.
D. I have to remind myself to put myself in my stories. Sometimes people say my writing is too dry or academic.
E. It depends on the story — sometimes a lot, sometimes none at all — but my writing is always in my voice. People often say they would know my work anywhere. Check!

Which of these is your biggest strength?

A. Research.
B. Switching gears between topics.
C. Storytelling.
D. Sharing ideas.
E. The artistic craft of writing. Check.

Which of these is your biggest weaknesses?

A. Insecurity.
B. My writing is sometimes generic or boring.
C. Audience building. Check!
D. Finishing what I start.
E. Perfectionism.

My favourite part about being a writer is …

A. Being part of a writing community.
B. Earning a living doing something I love.
C. Processing my life via my art.
D. Building a tribe around my niche.
E. Creating something beautiful. Oh, check!

I feel like I’m successful when …

A. I start a project.
B. Someone pays me for my work.
C. People are talking about my story.
D. When someone has learned something from me. Check!
E. My muse and inner editor are both satisfied.

My results:

If your answers are mostly A: You’re probably a Hesitater.

If your answers are mostly B: You’re probably a Skipper.

If your answers are mostly C: You’re probably a Spiller.

If your answers are mostly D: You’re probably a Teacher.

If your answers are mostly E: You’re probably an Artist. I got 5 E’s! (I also got 4 D’s, so my secondary writer function is teaching. Nifty!)

What this says about me:

Artist. Artists are writers who have a top-level goal of creating beautiful work. They tend to have a single idea at a time and work on it with single-mindedness until it’s complete. They tend to be good with having a smaller number of readers, as long as those readers appreciate their art. Artists struggle with writer’s block more often than other writers, but they are dedicated to learning their craft. They write for their muse.

Teacher. A Teacher is a writer who, not surprisingly, writes to teach. This writer is inundated by ideas — their own and other people’s. They are outward-facing writers who would most likely not do their work if they didn’t have readers. Teachers are great with starts, but struggle to finish. They write for their readers.

My thoughts: I love the contradictions between these! I think that’s why I scored high in both. I write generally for artistic purposes, but I also hope to teach people something important, either subtly or clearly. I rarely struggle with ideas, so I disagree with that part of the artist description, though I don’t have many readers, so I’m fine to write for a small audience, much like the artist. I’d prefer, of course, for more people to find my books. 🙂

Now it’s your turn to take the quiz! I’ll include everything below, including all the archetype descriptions.

Let’s Figure Out Your Archetype!!

1. For whom do you write?

A. I’m not sure yet.
B. Whoever pays me.
C. Myself.
D. My readers.
E. My muse.

2. How prolific are you?

A. I write, but no one has ever seen my work. I will share it as soon as I’m ready.
B. Highly. I write as often as my employer requires me to.
C. As prolific as I want to be. I write when I have a story to tell.
D. I tend to write a lot, because I’m excited about my ideas.
E. Not particularly prolific. I often focus on one project for a very long time.

3. How do your ideas show up?

A. As another thing to learn about.
B. They are assigned to me.
C. My ideas come to me as I move through life, they are closely tied to my actual experiences.
D. In a constant barrage, from all sides.
E. One at a time.

4. How important is earning a living as a writer to you?

A. It’s important, but the whole concept is overwhelming.
B. Highly important. (Even the most important thing.)
C. Important. If I could earn a living as a storyteller, that would be so amazing.
D. Important. If I could earn a living connecting with my tribe, that would be so amazing.
E. The last thing on my list of what’s important about being a writer.

5. Why do you write?

A. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I love being immersed in the culture of writers.
B. Because I love creative work.
C. For healing.
D. To teach.
E. For the art of it.

6. Which book do you wish you’d written?

A. The last book I read is almost always my new favorite. I wish I’d written them all!
B. I’d love to ghostwrite a novel for my favorite celebrity.
C. A memoir.
D. Something that is a universal favorite, like The Chronicles of Narnia or a highly-impacting creative non-fiction book.
E. Any National Book Award winner.

7. How much detail do you put into your writing?

A. I haven’t written much yet, but I’m drawn to one of the answers below.
B. As much as is expected by my editor.
C. Tons of detail — most of it very personal.
D. Some, but I’m more interested in clearly sharing ideas.
E. All of the detail — this is my happy place.

8. How much of yourself do you put into your writing?

A. I’m not sure yet. I haven’t started writing.
B. None at all.
C. My writing is almost always about myself. It is possible that people who know me are uncomfortable reading my work.
D. I have to remind myself to put myself in my stories. Sometimes people say my writing is too dry or academic.
E. It depends on the story — sometimes a lot, sometimes none at all — but my writing is always in my voice. People often say they would know my work anywhere.

9. Which of these is your biggest strength?

A. Research.
B. Switching gears between topics.
C. Storytelling.
D. Sharing ideas.
E. The artistic craft of writing.

10. Which of these is your biggest weakness?

A. Insecurity.
B. My writing is sometimes generic or boring.
C. Audience building.
D. Finishing what I start.
E. Perfectionism.

11. My favorite thing about being a writer is . . .

A. Being part of a writing community.
B. Earning a living doing something I love.
C. Processing my life via my art.
D. Building a tribe around my niche.
E. Creating something beautiful.

12. I feel like I’m successful when . . .

A. I start a project.
B. Someone pays me for my work.
C. People are talking about my story.
D. When someone has learned something from me.
E. My muse and inner editor are both satisfied.

Results

If your answers are mostly A: You’re probably a Hesitater.

If your answers are mostly B: You’re probably a Skipper.

If your answers are mostly C: You’re probably a Spiller.

If your answers are mostly D: You’re probably a Teacher.

If your answers are mostly E: You’re probably an Artist.

Pay attention to your second most popular answers — or if there was a second answer you were drawn to on several questions. That is most likely your secondary archetype.

If you don’t have a clear secondary, particularly if most of your answers were A, consider taking the test again, choosing your second-best answer.

Here are the archetypes:

Hesitater. Let’s start here. A hesitater is someone who has one foot on the gas and the other on the break. They are learners. They are perfectionists. They want to get everything just right, and that keeps them from getting started. They struggle to get started with a new project, but are excellent students and are open to new ideas. No one is just a Hesitater. When they take their foot off the break, they slip into one of the other archetypes, even though they will always be a Hesitater, too.

Skipper. A Skipper is a writer whose happy place is having an assignment. Skippers often are journalists or work for publications. They can struggle with coming up with ideas for what to write, when they don’t have an assignment and they are usually very good with discipline and finishing what they start. Like Hesitaters, they are never just Skippers. Skippers will always have a strong suit in one of the following three archetypes. They write for the paycheck.

Spiller. A Spiller is a confessional writer. These inward-facing writers excel at storytelling. Their writing often is very cathartic and healing — for the writer and the reader. They tend to niche easily, writing deeply on the same handful of topics. Spillers sometimes struggle with remembering to invite their readers into their story. They are exceptionally good at being authentic and vulnerable. They write for themselves.

Teacher. A Teacher is a writer who, not surprisingly, writes to teach. This writer is inundated by ideas — their own and other people’s. They are outward-facing writers who would most likely not do their work if they didn’t have readers. Teachers are great with starts, but struggle to finish. They write for their readers.

Artist. Artists are writers who have a top-level goal of creating beautiful work. They tend to have a single idea at a time and work on it with single-mindedness until it’s complete. They tend to be good with having a smaller number of readers, as long as those readers appreciate their art. Artists struggle with writer’s block more often than other writers, but they are dedicated to learning their craft. They write for their muse.

Most writers have a top-level archetype and a secondary that informs and refines it.

Now What?

Lean into your archetype. It will help you both be a happier writer and overcome the things that you struggle with. Once you know what kind of writer you are, you can build systems to support you.

If you’re a Hesitater, know that you’re always going to have to combat your natural tendency to find reasons not to write. Your perfectionism will get in the way. You need a system to help you get over the hump between not-writing and writing. Tiny goals and a writing accountability partner — another writer who will hold you to your goals — are a good start.

If you’re a Skipper, then you can stop feeling guilty for not wanting to do work that you’re not paid for. Lean into your business skills and build a writing career that pays the bills. You need a system to help you find those jobs and treat your work like the business that it is. Self-imposed deadlines will help.

If you’re a Spiller, then you can stop trying to write listicles and how-to posts. They aren’t your thing. Your authenticity is your shining light. You need a system for remembering to invite your reader into your work. Start by creating an avatar for your ideal reader — an invented reader that you’re writing for.

If you’re a Teacher, then you can stop trying to write highly personal essays that don’t feel natural to you. That’s not your strong suit. You are an idea person and sharing those ideas is where you blossom as a writer. You need a system for capturing those ideas and sticking with one long enough to finish it. Try keeping an idea notebook and rewarding yourself for finishing one project by allowing yourself to explore another.

If you’re an Artist, then you can stop feeling like you have to be anything else. You have goals that go beyond how many copies you sell or readers you have. You are really good at sticking with an interesting idea until it’s finished, with such single-mindedness that it can seem like you’ll never have another one again. You need a system for combating writer’s block. Start with a teeny, tiny goal. Write for ten minutes a day, even when your muse isn’t cooperating.

3 comments

  1. I’ m a strange artist and writer. I don’t like writing. It’s all pain that I take off from me and it’s not a relaxing thing for me 😔

      • Therapeutic. Not for me. Nothing has changed. I’ m still blocked there, at that scenes of abuses. I have done Psychotherapy but I cannot be hypnotized because it is too risky and my psychologist preferred not to do it to avoid my possible inner collapse. 😟

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