Kathleen’s Personality Flaws. That’s One Way to Look at It.

This week’s topic is how our personalities impact our writing. I wrote quite a lot about my personality when we discussed balance, or in my case, lack thereof. 

It’s funny, though. I’m feeling a little different than I did five months ago when I confessed my unrelenting anxiety and quest for perfection. There’s no doubt I’m still myself–driven and compulsive–but to be honest, I feel a little less aggressively so. It could be that I’m just temporarily different as I’m finishing out pub month. Launching MINOR DRAMAS and then heading out on tour were such new and novel (ha!) experiences that I couldn’t attack them with my usual fervor. I had to just take one step at a time. 

(Of course, I did set a New Year’s Resolution to be less consumed with fervor, so maybe I’m just achieving my goals and checking boxes as usual? 

Hmmm.

Let’s just not think too hard about that, ok?) 

Anyway, here’s an example of something different I’ve tried in the past month: I’ve got a great big-sister-type friend who urged me to spend “at least one hour horizontal” during this crazy pub month. I could nap or read or watch tv. At first, I discarded this advice. It’s not like me to lie down in the middle of the day. But, Laura was right. I desperately needed the rest, and by the end of the month, I drool-slept for most of that horizontal hour. Everything I was doing was brand new. I just had to go for it, and also go easy on myself.

“Going easy on myself” is not my typical personality. I’m more into endless striving. My characters are, too. In MINOR DRAMAS, both of my leads have to learn balance. In my second book (no title yet, but soooon), Alice faces numerous failures, each one a teacher for her, a reminder that she’s enough exactly as she is.

I guess my personality impacts my writing pretty exactly, now that I think about it. My type-A tendencies help me get the words on the page. My capacity for reform helps me imagine new lives for my characters and a more sustainable pace for myself as a full-time writer.

How ‘bout that?

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Kathleen West

Kathleen West is the author of the forthcoming novel, Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, out 2/4/20 from Berkley. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

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