Monday, 10 October 2011

Personality types

I have been working on my self-analysis recently, never a comfortable activity.  Somebody told me that I was a ‘completer finisher’, which I thought sounded pretty good until I looked it up, at which point it became obvious that of all the team roles, the completer finisher’s is the least glamorous.  Yes, completer finishers get the job done, but apparently we are also obsessive, nit-picky, and professional worry warts, while our obsession with detail is an expression of our deep-seated anxiety. On the plus side, CFs like me meet our deadlines, which I suppose is a good thing when you’re a writer. 

Much as I would like to say that this isn’t me at all, I have to admit that I recognise more than a few aspects of my personality here. I’m a nit-picking queen, that’s for sure: I’m the one who flinches at a misused apostrophe and spots every typo on a menu. For years I thought of myself as a relaxed, living-in-the-moment type, but now I can see this is absolute  rubbish. What was I thinking? I spend my life fretting about the next deadline, and although I do love it when I get away, the moment I sit down at my computer again, my shoulders hunch up round my ears and my back turns into a board.  But if I don’t have a deadline, I don’t  get anything done, so it looks as if I’m stuck as the neurotic, twitching in the corner at parties. 

Which may be just as well as my deadline is 31st October.  I’m revising and rewriting – great chunks in the present are having to be completely re-thought (sigh) – but I’ve been working steadily through my timetable for 20 chapters, and now I’ve got just six to go.  Yep, spot the completer finisher.

I’m not sure if pigeon-holing writers into the various personality types is really helpful for writers anyway.  In theory we should all be reclusive introverts, surely, but clearly we’re not all the same.  Are there any other completer-finishers out there, or are you all exciting ideas people or warm, fuzzy team members?  But hey, how good are you at meeting your deadlines?


  1. Well done on working your way through your chapters - I can't wait to read this one, it sounds really interesting. I would love to be warm and fuzzy but sadly not at all. I am a complete worrier who needs a deadline to stop procrastinating! Timetabling sounds ideal but I am far more likely to stress rather than do - then panic madly and finish at the very last minute. Not a comfortable way to be. I am going to try out a timetable and see how that works!

  2. Stress and panic are the staples of a completer finisher - sounds like you are one of us, Rose Red! I find a timetable helpful, and always give myself a psychological boost by either giving myself more time than I need or starting the timetable a day or two after I've begun writing so I'm already ahead of myself before I start. Works for me, anyway. And don't forget to reward yourself at regular intervals, even if it's just checking your email when you get to the end of a chapter, like I've just done. Another one down - hooray!

  3. I'd never heard of this term which gave me a great excuse to run off and investigate (= procrastinate). Not sure what I am. All I know is I veer wildly from having my desk all set up, a plan made, word counts carefully recorded, to late, messy and out of control. It must be innate - my linen cupboard is the same. It either looks like Martha Stewart has just dropped by or everything falls out when you open the door.

  4. I think I'm leaning towards being a CF too. Maybe there's a pill we can take? lol :-)

  5. I do a lot of veering too, Louise - I like the structure of a plan and a timetable, but my desk is a tip. I hate it, but somehow I can't do anything about it until the current project is finished, by which time there's not much point in clearing the decks. I leave my airing cupboard firmly alone.

    Lacey, stay away from the pills. You can join our support group instead. Nit pickers only may apply.

  6. Self-analysis! Never ever go there!