The Enneagram and Blogging: Type Three
What I'm Into (February 2014 Edition)

The Enneagram and Blogging: Type Four

The Enneagram and Blogging via Leigh KramerTo learn more about this series, as well as how the survey was conducted, please read this post.

 

Type Four

Commonly known as The Individualist, The Romantic, The Artist

The Need to Be Special

Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance

Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)

Key Motivations: Want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw to protect their self-image, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else, to attract a "rescuer."

Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They feel All The Feels and generally want to do so, as this fuels their creativity and ability to understand others. They strive to be understood and to be authentic.  While Fours are highly creative, not all Fours are artists. They are emotionally honest but can also be moody and self-conscious. They may withdraw from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective. They can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. Fours want to avoid being ordinary. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.

At their best: warm, compassionate, introspective, expressive, creative, intuitive, supportive, refined

At their worst: depressed, self-conscious, guilt-ridden, moralistic, withdrawn, stubborn, moody, self-absorbed

 

Read this profile for a complete description of Type Four

 

Type Four Bloggers*^

Micha Boyett, Ben Howard, This Gal's Journey, Elora Nicole, Apple Pie, Anyone?, Jacqueline Gardner, Anna Wastell, Caris Adel, Keep the Muse, Fried Okra, Arianne Segerman, Bethany Suckrow, Christina Moss

Anecdotally, it appears Type Four is the most likely to blog. But it's also possible I have a stronger reach with Fours, being this type myself.

*these are bloggers who identify as type four; it does not indicate they have participated in the Enneagram and Blogging survey

^Full disclosure: I'm a Four.

 

Typical Topics:

  • Relationships (parenting, marriage, dating, friendship, etc.)
  • Art and creative endeavors
  • Faith
  • Doubt
  • Hope and grace
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Grief and loss
  • Pop culture
  • Introspective pieces on identity, including internal motivations, beliefs, and actions
  • Farming or gardening
  • Healing
  • Travel
  • Fashion and beauty
  • General life
  • Inclusion and loving others, including those who are marginalized
  • Poetry

 

Why did you start blogging?

While reasons for starting a blog ranged from building a platform to sharing stories with family, many Type Fours reported starting their blog because they:

  • wanted a creative outlet
  • wanted to grow as writers
  • wanted to connect with others
  • were writing a book and wanted to work through their ideas
  • wanted to encourage others

While you can be creative and not be a type Four, this type's creativity plays a large role in their identity. It makes sense they would be likely to blog.

 

Do you have any goals related to blogging?

Besides building a platform or working toward publication, Fours want to share their craft. They are most concerned with the quality of their writing and storytelling. They are passionate about sharing their stories. For some Fours, this translates to working toward blogging full-time or looking for opportunities to guest post or write for larger publications. They may write e-books to offer their readers, in addition to blogging. For others, they simply focus on becoming ever better writers.

Fours also want to let others know they're not alone. They're right in the trenches with us. They want to encourage, challenge, and offer solidarity. They want to build and connect with a supportive community.

 

What do you like about blogging?

  • Community/friendships that have emerged
  • Sharing their writing
  • The experience of having readers (writing within the context of community)
  • Hearing their words have helped others, potential to positively influence others
  • Receiving positive affirmation from readers
  • Creative outlet
  • Freedom and space to explore new ideas, play with words, grow as a writer
  • Immediacy
  • Develops confidence as a writer
  • Opportunity to write without being barred or rejected by the Publishing Gatekeepers
  • Helps then to process life and find moments of beauty
  • On their own terms, own schedule, own editing

 

What do you not like about blogging?

Fours don't like the perceived pressure of cranking out posts, the never-ending demands that accompany blogging. Most Fours expressed feeling like they needed to be doing more: posting more often, building a bigger social media presence, addressing hot topics. They worry if they don't post consistently, their readers will leave. Fours are the captains of their creative ships and this pressure is antithetical to their usual process. They may need time to ponder before ever writing a word. They would rather write their own stories, instead of jumping on to the latest controversy. This frustrates them because they feel their type of writing- though strong- is less likely to go viral, which means their platform is less likely to gain traction. They want to create what they want to create and they want to be recognized for it.

Fours feel the very nature of blogging can be repetitive. They want to view themselves as original and anything but ordinary. Do they always have something original to say? Yes and no. When they write from a place of health and abundance, their words will resonate with readers. When they're caught up in the blogging mill, they're stifled. They don't like how noisy the Internet can become and don't want to add to it. Fours rightly recognize not everyone needs to share their opinion on every topic but they wrestle with the abundance of reactions to today's hot topic. They want their ideas to be fresh but they may feel limited in what they can accomplish or decide not to write anything at all. They may not be as insightful as they want to be, especially if they rush their process. They're torn on whether to enter the fray and thus potentially gain new followers or to keep doing what they're doing with a smaller following.

At the heart of much of this is the Four's battle with comparison and envy. They compare their writing, pageviews, how many followers they have on social media, and so on. Fours want to be special and this can result in feeling inferior or superior depending on how they rank themselves. Are they being included by the Cool Kids? Why did that post get more attention when it's clearly not written as well as theirs? Fours fear they have no identity or significance so they look to these external markers for affirmation. But blog-related accolades will never be able to fill the void. It may be best for a Four to back away from the statistics and focus on what they have to say.

 

What are your strengths as a blogger?

Fours own their skills as writers. They mentioned focusing on quality over quantity. They love the written word. They paint pictures with words and connect the intangible with the tangible.

Fours are insightful and transparent. They help us see things in a new light or from another angle. They are able to deconstruct and help people understand the motivations behind a belief or action. Fours may sit on an idea for quite some time before writing about it and the end result is more honest, vulnerable, and relatable. They can tap in to the deep emotions others run from and help us engage more fully with the darker aspects of life.

As serious and introspective as Fours can be, they often have a lighter side. Several Fours noted their sense of humor as a strength. Healthy Fours know how to have fun.

 

What are your greatest struggles/temptations as a blogger?

Fours constantly fight the temptation to compare themselves to other bloggers. This can lead to feeling insecure about themselves and their writing. They want to be seen and heard, a driving force. They also battle their desire for recognition or fame, feeling this will give them the significance they seek. One respondent said, "There are days that I wish I had more of a following, but in some ways, it's probably healthier for me to not...I want to feel special, to be noticed, for my life to be extraordinary.  The habit of of blogging and writing for a relatively small audience reminds me how simply ordinary my life really is, which is a healthy thing."

They are tempted to chase pageviews so they will gain an ever larger audience. They want a post to go viral. But this may come at the expense of their craft and fill the blogosphere with more noise instead of original content. Because Fours want to be authentic, they may choose to write on a more controversial topic but only if it is a matter close to their heart. They have particular convictions about what to write about. But when they start comparing themselves or thinking about their goals, it can be hard to believe their hard work and dedication will pay off some day.

When they write a post, they soar high on the accompanying praise. It makes them feel their efforts were worthwhile or rather, they're worthwhile. The flipside being they feel deflated if the comments or social media shares don't follow. They then begin to feel their efforts don't matter or they're wasting their time.

 

Resources: The Enneagram Institute, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (Rohr), Enneagram Made Easy (Baron and Wagele), The Wisdom of the Enneagram (Riso and Hudson)

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