Explaining myself and my many hats

I was recently asked to write a blog post for Collaboration, the blog of the Book Industry Collaborative Council (BICC), explaining what I do and how I came to be involved in so many different facets of the book industry. It took me a while, as it felt strange to ‘explain myself’! If you are curious about how I got to be an all-rounder, though, in terms of books and writing, you may like to have a read.

10 thoughts on “Explaining myself and my many hats

  1. Hello Angela, I found this fascinating, because yes, I have always wondered how writers juggle different aspects of the book industry. I suspect that there’s a certain personality type that goes with this kind of portfolio, involving risk-taking, a willingness to experiment and a flexibility about doing not-quite-what-you-want-to-do while paving the way for what you do want to do. If I had to take a Myers-Briggs guess, I’d put you down as an INFP!

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for the comment! I’d agree that personality has a lot to do with it. I’m very driven, but often have to step back and reassess which direction all the work is taking me in (and whether it’s what I truly want to be doing). As you mentioned, there’s some risk-taking and experimenting involved. I’d say you’re pretty close with INFP! I did the M-B online once and I was whatever Barack Obama is, an ENFP I think. I’d say I’m somewhere between the two. How about you?

      • I’m an INTP, ‘The Architect’ a rather rare species LOL, especially in teaching, where people tend to be feet-on-the-ground SJs.
        I did a different personality-test-for-fun the other day, the one that analyses your Likes on Facebook, and that was hilarious, it said I was shy AND competitive (neither of which is true) … Maybe it was based on my Like for Beethoven?
        Somewhere on my bookshelves I have a book called The Writers Guide to Character Traits, (written by a psychologist, not an author, except of that book) – do you use theories of personality at all when you’re writing your novel?

      • Ah, ‘The Architect’! I don’t use theories of personality when writing, but perhaps it’d be a fun exercise to try for something short and then see how it goes. I can imagine it could be both liberating and limiting. I know an author who makes detailed horoscopes for her characters (you’d never know). These things can help to round out a character, especially if you’re struggling with how they might react, or act, in a given situation.

  2. Afternoon all,

    I’m an INFP. I did the test for work because my boss’s father is an organisational psychologist. I’ve gently suggested to him a few times that the Myers-Briggs is a diagnostic tool, as opposed to the key to understanding every facet of every human being in minute detail. He doesn’t seem to believe me, so I’ve given up. I thought I would be uncomfortable with whatever categorisation the test threw up for me, but now that I’ve done it I don’t mind the result at all.

    Interesting point about the character traits book, Lisa. I’m generally pretty cautious about consulting such things, because I have a morbid fear of Having Everything Explained To Me, and Finding Out That Everything I Thought I Knew Is Wrong. It’s the same as those books that tell you that every story you read can be boiled down to one of seven (?) basic plots – I will NEVER touch one of those guides as long as I live! I think my Myers-Briggs suspiciousness comes from the same nervousness. However, I have recenly realised that I could actually benefit from a little reading into certain psychological motivations, and how they may shift between ages and genders. But I will continue to tread very carefully!

    • Hi Glen, I suspect that most authors write from the heart and their own experience of life which would generally make books like that redundant. But having said that, success with that approach depends on meeting a wide variety of people, I guess. I think Xavier Herbert used to just go and sit in pubs and listen – which (since women weren’t allowed in bars in his day) is why his males are really great characters and his females are generally not.

      • When I was a teenager I was more obsessed with explaining and categorising, but I used to read the DSM as opposed to doing personality tests! Now that I think of it, reading the DSM and being aware of the way it has changed over the years, has had a HUGE impact on my writing…

  3. “…reading the DSM and being aware of the way it has changed over the years, has had a HUGE impact on my writing…”
    Would you care to elaborate on that, Angela? Does it tie in with your speculations about the future directions society may take, and the relationship between technology and self?

  4. I really enjoyed your piece for Collaboration, Angela. It is interesting to hear how you juggle your various writing roles. I hope it is not too long before the thing you most want to do (writing and publishing your own work) is able to come to the top of the list somehow.

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