Tag Archives: Writing

Struggling With Type A

Why aren’t there more hours to a day? Could we please extend the week to nine days? Just think of what we could accomplish. It would be so much easier to get the household chores done, grocery shop, take care of the kids, finish the laundry, work our day jobs, work out, have hobbies, blog endlessly, stay active on social networks and, oh yeah, finish that novel (or novels).  If we had that kind of time we would be so much more effective and we’d be able to set even more goals. Does this sound like you?

You might be struggling with Type A.  First, I must state that I am not a psychologist, nor am I an expert in psychological behavior or theory.  The words you are about to read are in no way based in science, psychology or fact.  Just a little research on the internet.

Since originally published in the 1950’s, The Type A and Type B personality theory, although controversial in the medical and science communities since its publication, still persists as a way of describing personality types.

The general characteristics for Type A include: impatience, taking on numerous tasks, obsessive with time management, competitiveness, intolerance for tardiness, wordiness or anything  they feel is wasting their time, irritability, and a tendency to be a “workaholic.” They are also proactive, ambitious, caring, truthful, and always try to take care of others.

Type B characteristics include: apathy, lacking organization, poor time management and procrastination.  On the positive side they are patient, relaxed, easy going, have little or no stress in their lives and reap the benefits of better health.

The Type A has a constant sense of time urgency.  There is never enough time to complete the monumental task they’ve created for themselves, because there is another waiting to be conquered just around the corner.  When a challenge has been met or perhaps even an award given, the Type A will revel in the moment, celebrate, and then move on to the next big achievement, because perhaps it can top the last.

And speaking of challenges – everything is a challenge.  Conquering challenges and achieving goals helps relieve the insecurities that drive Type A to be the way they are.

The Type A personality is known to successfully handle many tasks at once.  They are usually involved in several unrelated activities while performing all of them well.  After all, failing is not an option.  Restlessness is a common anxiety suffered by the Type A.  If they aren’t doing something, they might feel guilty or become depressed. Life is out there to be lived and Type A has to do it all.

Competitive by nature, Type A personalities often engage in highly competitive sports and/or activities.  While competing against others for that prize or accolade, their fiercest opponent is themselves.  There is always the challenge to be better.  This may be treading into the waters of perfectionism, but I’m proposing that the Type A and the Perfectionist are kissing cousins.

Having said all this, I have to confess – I struggle with Type A. Sometimes I fantasize about sitting on a beach with a cocktail and letting the day lazily slip by, but when I am at the beach, I’m good for about two hours.  Enough relaxation already.  Let’s get something done.

While sitting at the stop light, which seems interminable, my mind is racing with all I have to do for  the next few hours and that usually works its way into the next day. And, damn it, the light has been green for at least ten seconds. Why hasn’t that bozo moved forward yet?

And then there’s the schedule.  Certain things have to be done early in the day and certain things done in the afternoon.  After those are accomplished, there’s the shopping, laundry, and general upkeep of the house.  Oh, and lunch with friends, and then there’s that tennis match, and is it Sunday night? Mad Men is on, but maybe I should TiVo it because chapters seven and eight really need those revisions.  Darn, I did commit to critiquing two chapters for my critique buddy, and I scheduled myself for that weekly blog.

Does this sound familiar?  What’s a Type A to do?  Sometimes we just need to STOP.  After that tennis match, maybe hang around and have lunch with the girls.  What about going to a movie in the middle of the day?  What if we decided to revise chapters seven and eight tomorrow?  Promise to NOT log onto the computer for the entire afternoon.  What about reading one book in its entirety instead of three at a time?   After all, it gets hard to keep the stories straight. Spend time with family just talking. Sometimes after a hard morning of working horses, I just sit and watch them eat grass.  Play with the dogs. Veg.

We need to be kind to ourselves and stop putting endless amounts of pressure on ourselves to constantly achieve.  We need to embrace the Type B lurking somewhere in our psyche.  For me, it’s a daily struggle, but I only have one mind, one body and one life and I want to enjoy it. So, I think I’ll go have that glass of wine and watch the sunset.

But, there’s that next book I wanted to research . . .

Writer’s Weekend in the Woods

 Last weekend I participated in a four day Master Immersion class in Deep Editing with Margie Lawson in Golden, Colorado.  Four of us converged on Margie’s home for four days of Deep Edits, Manuscript Analysis, Dramatic scene editing and empowered conversation about writing.

Day One started at 4:30 pm when we all met at our log cabin hotel, the Eldora Lodge , conveniently located next door to Margie’s home. After we freshened up, we reconvened at Margie’s to get busy with work – and to have a scrumptious dinner prepared by Carole, one of our fellow Immersioners.

First on the agenda was a Cognitive Style Quiz.  What we learned from this test was which side of our brains was more dominant.  It also allowed Margie to see how we learn and the best way to utilize our talents.  Then we took a Style Survey, which again, zeroed in on our personalities and how we interact with the world around us.  The survey depicted our personality “colors.”  Red: competitive, directing, self-certain and adventurous.  Green: emotional, impulsive, optimistic and enthusiastic.  Blue: accommodating, stabilizing, deliberate and patient.  And last but not least, Yellow:  Precise, perfectionist, analytical and logical.  All of us had predominately GREEN styles – including Margie.  We named ourselves the Blonde Enthusiasts. As you can see from the photo, we are all blonde.  But that wasn’t the end of our commonalities.  There are too many to mention.  I am just dumb-founded about how four people from all over the US can come together and be so much alike.  It was one of those serendipitous events!

The next three days were long but productive ones!  From 8 am to 9:30 pm or later we learned about the Deep Edits System, created by Margie, to analyze your manuscript in terms of dialogue, setting, visceral response, internalization and tension.  Rhetorical devices for Fiction Writers to really add punch to our stories.  Writing Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist – dialogue cues share subtext.  They inform the reader of non-verbal communication.  We also learned how to Power Up Emotion: The four levels for Writing Success: Basic, Complex, Empowered and Super Empowered. And Writing Body Language Like a Psychologist.  93% of communication is non-verbal.  Learning how to use body language in your novels is a valuable tool to build your characters.  It’s also not easy to do!

When I signed up for the class I was concerned about a number of things.  Would I be able to keep up?  Would I be able to work all day and still have some brain power by 5 pm?  Would I be able to be around people for 13 hours every day?  Would we take breaks? To my surprise and relief, I was able to deal with all of the aforementioned.  We ate well, slept well and all got along famously!  We took hiking breaks in the beautiful Colorado mountains (the weather was perfect!) and we even got to go into Boulder for shopping and a terrific dinner at the Russian Tea room.  It was a tremendous experience.

If you ever have the opportunity to be “Immersed” in learning what you love, I highly recommend it!