12/31/2011

New Year with Resolutions

I have resolutions. Do you?

I have elaborate lists of things I want to achieve in eight areas of my life. These lists show the steps, in order, that it will take to complete the project, or some aspect of a larger project, with reasonable deadlines.

Of course life (God, fate) sometimes has other ideas for us, and our best-laid plans go awry, and we need to try other strategies. But at least by thinking about resolutions, and setting deadlines for achieving them, we will come closer to hitting our mark than if we had not defined any marks at all.

And the secret to accomplishing what we set out to accomplish is simple. We keep it in front of us each and every day. We plan the work, and work the plan. Without deviation. Unless what we're doing isn't working. Then we reformulate.

Here are a few of my resolutions:


  • I plan to be slender again, like I was three years ago. I plan to loose 30 pounds by October 1.
  • Regarding the manuscript I finished in November, I plan to make more revisions based on input from my 12 beta reader/critique partners (that I will get on January 9), and then to write up a strong query, and then to begin querying agents. 
  • Regarding writing a new book: Oh, my. I am on fire! When I finished the "old book," I felt so drained, I wasn't sure I wanted to keep writing. For two weeks, I gave up the idea entirely. I didn't know if I could think up a new idea, or if I could top what I had accomplished in the old book. (The old book demonstrated a significant leap in quality, which I had not achieved in any prior manuscript. It was a great victory for me.) Now, I am happy to say that I can hardly restrain myself from setting out on a new writing path. I am working up an idea, and hope to have a draft written on or before October 1.   
  • Writer's Platform: Here, my goals are less well-defined. I could turn blog writing into a full time job. So could you, right? There's plenty to say, however I cannot allow blogging to overtake my limited time for writing. Maybe I "should" set up a posting schedule. Maybe I "should" begin to write on the 1001 ideas I could be writing about ... But the smarter resolution for me is to restrain myself ... To protect my writing time, and to achieve my writing goals. 
  • That being said, I am considering joining Rach's 4th crusade in February, and the A-Z challenge in April. Those two things may well be my blogging biggies for 2012.
  • Other Creativity, i.e. Scrapbooking: No formal goals here, either. I "should" build time into my schedule for this type of R&R, but I don't want to legislate that I'll do it two hours each week. I'll scrapbook on an "as needed" basis. "As needed" meaning when I seriously need a break from all of my other activities. 
  • Miscellaneous: Hubbie and I are planning a trip to Kauai, Hawaii around the end of January. Two years ago, on the spur of the moment, we took a trip to Maui and Hawaii, our first time ever on the islands. Me being a planner, I freaked out about the spur-of the-moment planning. Our friends were going; they invited us, and we had two weeks to get ready for it. I discovered I really could plan a trip in only two weeks ... even if I was working full time and babysitting two grandchildren while our daughter was in the hospital with a seven-week premature baby. Even if I was a second-round judge for the CYBILS, YA division, and I needed to read books, and the judges needed to make decisions. Even if I was involved in the Kidlitosphere's Comment Challenge, which happens every January. You need plan only two things for a trip to Hawaii: buy airline tickets and make a hotel/condo reservation. Oh, and to make sure you make a reservation to take a one-hour flight around the island in a Waco, open cockpit biplane. (Hubbie's #1 priority.)

Happy New Year to you! What are some of your resolutions?





12/30/2011

2011 in Retrospect


If I were writing a novel about my life in 2011, the following would be a month-by-month timeline of the external plot: i.e. me going after what I wanted, and some of the obstacles I faced in achieving my desires. 

You might ask, what was my ultimate goal? It was to complete my YA manuscript and send it to a few editors. A related goal was to begin to build my writer's platform via blogging. 


Goals for 2012 will build on those, plus some new ones.  

In most cases, for sake of brevity, I have omitted the internal motivation, aka: the story, about the needs that drove me to do the things I did. Rest assured, the story is far more interesting than the plot. 

Throughout the year, I was on a roller coaster of tumultuous emotions. Or maybe it’s just me all the time. I am a highly driven, passionate, intense person. Thus I felt an enormous amount of desire and frustration, anticipation, heartbreak and finally, a victory—a breakthrough—in 2011.

Toward the end of the year, in November and December, I went through a period of dark-night-of the soul-searching, regarding the life I want to create for myself in the next few years, and the direction I want to take with my writing. The plot doesn’t come close to showing everything I did, but the highlights with regard to my external goals. 

January:

Writing: After having spent all of my free time in the fall of 2010 doing a Feng Shui cleaning of my house, I decided to prioritize my (limited) free time on completing my manuscript.

Blogging: I switched my blog from being that of a book review blog to a writer’s blog. I started making contact with the writer’s community, following many new blogs, and getting new followers.

February:

Writing: I was busy writing my manuscript, although hubbie and I did take a trip to Sacramento, where he gave a sermon at a religious conference.

Late in 2010, I had signed up for Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel, a weekly course in revision. Keeping up with the weekly lessons was a huge challenge, but also a fun one. It felt like I had a seasoned author watching over my shoulder with each step. I learned so much from her!

Blogging: Rach had her second Platform Building Crusade while hubbie and I were in Sacramento. I was delighted to be able to visit all of the participants’ blogs via an internet speed that was literally ten times faster than what is available to me at home. 

April

Conference Time! : I was delighted to attend the SCBWI-WWa conference with good friends Laurie and Sharon.

Blogging: I participated in the A-Z blogging challenge. If Rach’s Crusade was a sprint, this was a marathon. I posted every single day (and 2-3 times on several days) during the month of April. I felt I contributed something valuable to the writing community in that I wrote short pieces describing all of the Enneagram types and subtypes.

I also found many new, interesting blogs to read, and increased my own following significantly. I’d started the year with about 75 followers, and by the end of April, the number hovered around 300.

Unfortunately, blogging every day did me in, and so for most of the rest of 2011, I slacked off. Besides that, reaching my writing goals took priority over platform-building goals.  


May

Writing: I completed the course, How to Revise Your Novel, however I still had not actually finished writing the novel. I needed to write a projected 90 pages.

Blogging: I finally finished organizing all of the 730 blogs I had RSS'd or was following in Google Reader into neat categories. A librarian through and through, I just had to make sense of it all.

June: 

Home Improvement: My husband and son-in-law re-roofed hubby’s and my house. I did the cleanup afterwards. What a job. What a mess. 

My Paid Job: I asked the Library Board of Trustees to allow me to reduce my hours from full-time to 32hrs/week. (I would need to wait until the budget hearings in August for their decision.)

My Paid Job: Summer Reading was in full swing, with me putting on, or overseeing, five programs/week for seven weeks. (Read: It was a crazy busy time for me.) After the first week of signups, 600 children had registered for the reading program. We ended up the program on July 31 with 967 signups, and program attendance hovering around 5000. 

Highlight of my Paid Job: For the first time ever, one of my grandchildren was old enough to be my SR helper. I brought my 9-year old granddaughter, Miya, with me to the library each Thursday. She helped with the morning program, the afternoon teen craft program, and then attended the professional entertainment/evening program in the park with me. All five grandkids and their parents attended the family programs in the park.

July:

Writing: I finished the manuscript to my satisfaction. Then I put it away for a month, and when I read it again, I decided to hone in on changes that would make it more commercial and saleable—which resulted in totally tearing the book apart and putting it back together again. That’s what revision is about. Not changing a sentence here and there, but a re-visioning of the original idea to make it better. (That’s not to say I wasn’t doing it throughout the long process, however, lesson learned: With my next manuscript, I intend to get ALL the way through it before I start playing around with it. )


Immediately after finishing Holly Lisle’s HTRYN, she gave me a free, 4-week course called How to Write a Series, and she offered me a good deal on How to Think Sideways, and so I read all the free material and signed up for the new course, which is about finding good ideas and beginning a new book. It was hopeless for me to try to keep up with that, however I did read each week’s lesson and take notes. Her HTTS course is literally thousands of pages long. (She gives you the manuscripts of several of her books in varying stages to study, which greatly piles on the pages of information.)  I summarized the essence to 70 pages.

August:

Family: My free time for a week in August was spent making a scrapbook. It was the only scrapbooking I’d done in 2011 up to that point. I thought my mother, who’s had Alzheimer’s since 1996, was at death’s door (not for the first time, but the fourth). Now on December 30, 2011, she is still alive. 

Family: Hubbie and I removed the last of our youngest child’s things from the basement. A year prior, they’d been scattered all over the house, and then in September of 2010, I successfully “corralled” them into a single bedroom plus a very large closet. Finally, we wanted our 5th bedroom to be a guestroom, and so off it all went to a mini storage unit.

Paid work: The board approved my request to reduce my hours. A co-worker will increase her hours by five and split the load of putting on about 130 storytimes each September-April.

Personal: I cut my hair for the first time in FOUR years.

September:

Personal: I experienced my first week of having Fridays off, however my daughter from Seattle surprised us with a one-day visit, and instead of me being able to sit in my writing room with my new computer and spend the day writing, she sat at that throne all day instead. She doesn’t come home often, and so I allowed it. (Enormous amount of unwritten backstory, here.)

Writer’s Conferences: Attended SCBWI-eastern Washington conference and met some new people, including some people from the Moscow/Pullman area.

New Critique Group: Within a week, I had emailed each person and was in the process of setting up a new Children’s Writers critique group. We met for the first time with an attendance of 10 people. Two people from my former group decided to drop out. 



October and November: 

Personal: I was beginning to feel a desperate need to slow down. The extent of my R&R for 2011: I spent 15 minutes playing with some acrylic stamps for the first time, which I’d bought two months prior, but had been too busy to use. Though I now had Fridays off, they were being partially swallowed up by unexpected family visits, or a hubbie who decided that since I was at home, I should help him move farm machinery!

But besides that, it was CONFERENCE SEASON. In October, I attended a four-day state library conference in Boise, a one-day Youth Services workshop in Coeur d’Alene, and a three-day RWA conference in Seattle. Since earning free time on Fridays, my hoped for, quiet little Fridays had been mostly obliterated, due to my own decisions.

Additionally, after having attended so many conferences, including the SCBWI-WWa retreat in November of 2010, I had the invitation to send a completed manuscript to FOUR editors, but with a deadline of November 30, 2011.

I wasn’t sure I could finish my revision by then. In fact, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to do it ... But I used my free time to the greatest effect possible for me (and I was already an excellent time manager). I hated to have to do it, but in order to finish on deadline, I made the decision to take off four days of annual leave from work --- Those days are like gold to me. 

But I did it, and was able to finish the revision and send off the manuscripts one week before Thanksgiving.

With my time freed up just before Thanksgiving, I spent eight hours cleaning the main floor of our three-story house, and I felt good. I was experiencing completions, endings.  

It felt like GOD’s GRACE was seriously working in my life. It began a long month of realizations about God’s possible will for my life for the next few years, and how I should create and sculpt my life, and the direction I should take with my writing. For now, the new possibilities feel comfortable to me, like I’m “coming home." I am now happy to follow it where it leads.



How was your 2011? What were the highlights? 






12/12/2011

DH Loved the Book


I said I’d report back when my hubbie finished my manuscript. Boy, that was taking a chance. What if he hated it, and I would need to confess to my handful of faithful readers that the story was a dud? (Or that he thought it was.)

Turns out, he loved it. He said that when he started reading it, he was pretty sure he would never be able to get into it, as he doesn’t read fiction and, to boot, it’s a teen romance. But it very quickly hooked him. Not only that, he laughed and cried in all the right places.

He said he thought it was a great book, and that it would make a great movie. Afterwards, he took me into his arms and teared up all over again as he started talking about specific scenes that made him cry. He added that, for my sake, he sure hoped it will sell.

So there it is. This marks a milestone in our 37-year marriage. I have always read and given him suggestions on sermons he’s written, for when he’s been asked to serve at religious conventions, but until now, he’d never read anything of mine.

As a result, it’s brought us closer together. That he took the time to read it validates me. We spent the weekend on Fidalgo Island in the San Jauns. When we took a walk along Green Beach, he vocalized more nostalgia, and a surprising openness to new possibilities, than I would’ve ever expected from him. In contrast my brain, which is normally troubled with all sorts of stressors, was blissfully empty and calm. 

12/07/2011

Someone's Been Reading My Manuscript ...

                                                                             

My DH is reading my manuscript. You might think, so what's the big deal? Well, the big deal is that while he is an avid reader of nonfiction, especially anything pertaining to aeronotics, geology, weather or the Bible, he has not read a novel in 25 years.

The last novel he read was Moby Dick, and the parts he most loved were the parts that fiction lovers generally hate. You remember them--the scientific descriptions about whales, whaling, harpoons or what-have-you. Frankly, I don't remember them, however he has the type of memory that could probably, quite easily, dredge up some of the facts that Melville wrote about whaling. DH seems to have a photographic memory for facts and dates. He is able to easily retrieve from memory countless facts about about science, presidential politics, history and the Bible. More than anything, he is a Bible scholar.

Because of his fiction-reading history, or non-reading history as it may be, I don't fault him for not being interested in reading anything I've written over the years. To him, fiction is not the truth. Practical, realistic man that he is, he doesn't have time for such nonsense. A gifted pilot, farmer and mechanic, he self-describes himself as a "gear head."

I am fascinated that his brain is wired for mechanics and engineering, and yet metaphors and wit roll off his tongue with greater facility than they do mine. Me, the writer!

So after a little arm-twisting, and a little guilt-inducement, I finally got him to agree to read my manuscript. He uploaded it to his IPad, and has been reading it for a few minutes each night after watching O'Reilly. He's currently on chapter 7 (of 24) and his verdict ... 

He says it's really grown on him. He feels protective of the heroine. He finds the inappropriate boyfriend not too bad. (I told him the guy's going to get a lot worse, but that he isn't, ultimately, awful). He finds the hero "a fascinating character."

I wonder if he thinks I based the hero and the antagonist on him? Did I? No. My characters are all drawn from abstract concepts whose attitudes and behavior fall within specific enneagram types and subtypes.

I'll let you know DH's final verdict.

What about you? Does your spouse read everything you write?

11/03/2011

Wither by Lauren deStefano: Young Adult Book Review

Wither by Lauren DeStefano


In the first book of DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, sixteen-year-old Rhine lives in a world where it was thought that genetic engineering would abolish death. For the first genetically engineered generation, it was true. But then offspring began to live for shorter and shorter timespans. Now, women are dying when they’re 20 and men, 25. The world has become a barbaric place.

Girls now live in brothels or polygamous marriages for breeding purposes. Kidnapped to be one of wealthy Linden Ashby’s brides, Rhine evades consummation of the marriage throughout the book, although her two sister-wives do not.  

Though she lives in Florida, and surrounded by wealth and comfort, Rhine is essentially enslaved. More, she’s afraid Linden’s father is performing hideous science experiments on young women who have died and, indeed, might be hastening the deaths in order to find a cure for the virus that's killing everyone at such a young age.

All through the book, Rhine wants is to return to her twin brother in Manhattan. When she and servant Gabriel fall in love with each other, they devise a dangerous plan to escape their imprisonment.

This book was so beautifully written that I am in awe of Ms. deStefano's talent. I am also intensely curious as to how she plans to develop books two and three. Book 2, Fever, will be released on February 21, 2012. I cannot wait ...

10/16/2011

My Story can beat up Your Story: Craft of Writing Book Review

This book on the writing craft by Jeffrey Alan Schechter has countless reasons to recommend it. It's written for writers of screenplays, but I believe novelists can get a lot out of it as well. In ten lessons, he tells why screenplays, and I would add, probably novels, often fail to sell.

The book is entirely about structure. His beliefs about structure aren't so different from many of the books I've read on the subject, however his explanations are more succinct and understandable than most.

Take theme, for example. I've been reading about theme for years and have never fully understood it. Now, I think I just might. Here's a paraphrased sample, without his screenplay-specific examples, of what Jeffrey has to say about it:


Heroes ask questions. 
Villains make arguments. 
Ultimately, the hero and audience discover that, as compelling as the villain’s arguments may be, he’s not only wrong, but it’s his wrong thinking that leads to his downfall in act 3.

In Act 1: We see how broken the villain is because of his belief. This section is a full statement of the thematic argument, which is the exact opposite of the hero’s belief about a compelling issue in his life.

Act 2: Part 1: The thematic question in action. The hero will be propelled on a journey by trying to disprove the thematic argument. It’s a testing of the hero’s power of his convictions.

Act 2: Part 2: The thematic question versus thematic argument. The two worldviews to clash like never before. The hero is leading toward certainty about how far he is willing to go in order to gain the story goal. (Not the plot goal, which is the external goal, but the story goal, which is always about relationships.) 

Act 3: The thematic synthesis. It’s the equivalent of asking, “Why can’t we just all get along?” The hero learns we can, but only if he’s willing to synthesize the thematic question with the thematic argument and synthesize a new belief about the significant issue in his life. He’s become a better person because of it.  

In one sentence: A clean question (hero’s) with the counter argument (villain or antagonist’s) results in a synthesis of both, and a new belief about the world.   



Does theme stump you, as it has me, for many years? Or did you finally figure it out? If you did, what most helped you to understand? If you didn't, go buy, order, or download this book. For the value of this lesson and the rest, it's worth its weight in gold. 

10/12/2011

Jumping in With Both Feet


My boss wanted me to send her an evaluation of one of our new employees with regard to how well the employee is taking on the responsibilities of the youth services aspect of her job. It was a pleasure to write; I finished the evaluation by saying I thought the young woman was truly “jumping in with both feet.”

After reading the phrase (granted, a cliché), it struck me that in so many things in life, we are not fully committed. We want a writing career, and yet our doubts cause us to stand with one foot in, one foot out. We straddle the fence.

If fully committed, what latent greatness might bloom in us? What might we accomplish?

Since meeting with the new writing group last Monday evening, there’s been a flurry of emails between old group members and new. One of our long-time members has decided to commit to NaNo.

If you haven’t heard of NaNo, it’s the hugely popular NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month, which runs through the month of November. Hundreds of thousands of people attempt to write a novel in November. The web is full of tips for NaNo.

There are also books on it. Back when it was first gaining traction, around 2004, I read: No Plot? No Problem, by Chris Baty. Baty’s book provides tips for writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. He covers challenges that range from how to find time to write; how to silence the internal editor; how to figure out a plot, and other issues. He even gives tips for writing on the job, however unless you work swing shift, in a cubicle, and alone, I cannot imagine writing a novel at work.

If you are interested, check Amazon for other books on NaNo.  

But my point for this post is to comment on the impact that one of our critique group member’s commitment to NaNo has had on the rest of us. It has resulted in us becoming more excited, and more committed, to our own writing than we were before.

I don’t think people appreciate how powerful they are in influencing others.

Jumping in with both feet … How cool is that?

9/26/2011

SCBWI-Spokane: Conference

Good friends Kim (L) and Jenn (R) with Holiday House editor Pam Glauber
So I’m coming out of my self-imposed Social Media lockdown to crow about a great conference that deserves to get some press. For the past 10 or so years, there’s been a SCBWI chapter in the Spokane, WA area, which is the nearest SCBWI chapter from where I live, and about 60 miles away.
I think it was Verla Kay who started the ball rolling, all those years ago. She’d just moved into the area, up from California. Each year, SCBWI-Spokane puts on an annual, one-day conference, in addition to a couple of smaller events.  On Saturday, for the first time in ten years, I attended their conference, which definitely turned out to be worth my time.
For one thing, it was small, probably around 60 people, which meant I was able to have conversations with most of the attendees. Most memorable, apart from my conversations with the speakers, were the conversations with the movers and shakers of SCBWI-Spokane. (Most notably: Mary Cronk Farrell, Claire Rudolph Murphy, Rachel Hamby, Kelly Milner Halls, and Debbie Fredericks.) I also met a fellow librarian from Walla Walla (go-librarians!). And, surprise of surprises, I discovered that six of the attendees were from my area, in addition to my close friend Laurie Schneider, who’d signed up but was unable to attend.
That makes a total of 11 people who I now know in my immediate area, that are interested in writing for children. It’s possible that our local critique group just might be getting bigger!
New friend Betsy (L) with agent Kerry Sparks of Levine-Greenberg
Friday evening, conference helpers were invited to attend an appetizer/desert event at Claire Rudolph Murphy’s house. That loosely-structured event was where I was met a good number of people.
Lovely Margy Swensen, who I’d never met before, has several spare bedrooms in her house, which she offered to conference-helpers who didn’t want to have to shell out $ for a motel room. I’d been in contact with hospitality chairperson, Rachel Hamby, and mentioned that I was planning to pass on the dinner reception because I didn’t want to get home from Spokane at 10:00 pm on Friday night, and have to turn around and get up again at 5:30 am on Saturday, to be at the convention by 7:30 am. So … we all from my area now know of Margy and her gracious offer, come convention time next year.  
The conference itself began at 8:00 am on Saturday morning and ran until around 4:30 pm. Presenters included one agent, one published author, and one editor.
The agent was Kerry Sparks from Levine Greenburg. She is young and energetic, upbeat—delightful. She was on my list of agents to query even before I met her. Since meeting her, she’s risen significantly on the list.
The editor was Pam Glauber of Holiday House, which is a small house and one of the few that still accepts unsolicited submissions. She is also young and energetic, upbeat and delightful. I’ve always liked the selection of books Holiday House puts out, and so I was thrilled to meet her.
The author was YA author Marsha Qualey, from Wisconsin. For some reason, I’d always thought she was from Canada, but no. She, along with Claire Rudolph Murphy, are both instructors for the low residency MFA in Children’s Writing program affiliated with Hamline University.  
All talks were excellent, but it doesn’t stop there! In November, SCBWI-Spokane will be hosting Greg Pincus, Social Media guru, who will fly up from his home in Beverly Hills to talk to us about all things Social Media. I’ve met him before, and he’s very approachable.  
Then next spring, SCBWI-Spokane will be hosting an all-day workshop with Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein.
Fun events to look forward to! Many thanks to SCBWI-Spokane for their dedication to children's literature, and to providing local events.

7/08/2011

The Long and Winding Road

This was taken at our River Ranch. The dirt road winds around about 750 acres, up hill and down. In most places, there's an awesome view of Steptoe Butte, approximately 20 miles away. In other areas, there's a breathtaking view of the Palouse River canyon.

It's a timeless place.

From November to March, the road is closed. Even when open, the county does not maintain it. Sometimes, the ruts are big enough to swallow a car. (That's an exaggeration, but they do get huge.)

Once when I was helping the crew to move machinery, I came across a deep, water-filled rut. I thought I'd need a boat to cross it. The ground all around it was soft as well. If you think you'll get through a rut by driving a little to either side of it, you are sadly mistaken. You will get sucked into the mud, and you'll need to be hauled out by a pick-up. Sometimes, a tractor.

Sure that I would get stuck that day, I didn't want to drive through the rut. My husband instructed me to go right through the center of it. When you do that, the tires cross the hardpan dirt at the bottom, and the truth is, you won't get stuck. You'll sail through to the other side, where you want to go.

But, metaphorically speaking, sometimes the other side is not where you want to go. You want new vistas. To do that, it means finding a new way to get there. You need to take risks. Somewhere along the way you will, inevitably, get stuck. Probably, you'll get stuck over and over again.

I finished the line edits on my manuscript this morning.

It's a contemporary young adult novel, only 225 pages, and whether or not it ever gets published, I am in awe my accomplishment. It's not my first completed manuscript, or even my fifth. But it is the first one that I grappled with at a level that was completely unknown to me before. I had in mind what I wanted to accomplish, and I stuck with it. There were times where I was sure I could never make it work, and I might as well just stop writing. Hang it up. Go do some scrapbooking instead. Or take up jogging in a big way again. Run a marathon. Running a marathon would've been easier. But I stayed with it, and I am now, in terms of my writing skills, at a completely new vista for me. It's worthy of a moment's reflection. It's worthy of a few pats on my own back.         

6/29/2011

Alternative to Morning Pages: Voice Recordings

In her wonderful book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests that writers write three pages every morning. Just write. Don’t think about grammar or complete thoughts. Write whatever comes into your mind. I found this to be a good “loosening” tool for writing, back when I had time to do it.


Now, I struggle—fight, scheme—to make time in my schedule for my real writing, i.e. my Work in Progress. Morning pages would take time away from the limited amount I have for my story world, where I struggle with my characters’ issues, and my own.

My own issues include grappling with the tools of the writer’s craft which, adequately done, will enable me to render the story I’m trying to tell. Expertly done, they will enable me to create a saleable work of art.

That said, I do understand the need for morning pages. Depending on what gets poured out, they can, potentially, lead to greater self-awareness. Gaining clear self-awareness, and an understanding of our destiny, is the great purpose of our lives.

Let me never be so busy that I neglect to reflect! Because if I do not reflect, I do not grow as a human being. My gifts as a writer are diminished as well. There is less of me to give.

So instead of writing morning pages, I carry a pocket voice recorder with me on my jogs. When I’m not jogging (which is most of the time), it’s in my purse. On my commute, I will often take out the recorder and pour out my thoughts.

I always begin with the date, and then launch in. It’s instructive to listen to the recordings over time to see what issues I was struggling with, and how I resolved them, and how quickly. Speed is important to me. I do not want to be "broken down" for long.

There are always issues. My life is a never-ending rollercoaster of struggles. I expect the same to be true of anyone attempting to accomplish something outside the ordinary routines of daily life.

Often, I am on a long, slow, upward climb toward some end. Then, once I’ve achieved the goal, I enjoy an exhilarating, if brief, ride back down. I take very few moments to rest, and then I start the inevitable climb again toward the next big (for me) achievement.

How do you deal with your issues? Do you find morning pages useful? Do you use a voice recorder? Other ideas?

4/30/2011

Zealot

Zealot

Corresponds to Enneagram Style 1, Intimate Subtype

Ten Things about You

1. You are preoccupied with your romantic partner or a select group of others, who you spend your life trying to fix or perfect, and who you might drive away with your endless criticism

2. You come by it naturally. As a child, you often heard from your parents, “If I didn't love you, I wouldn't correct you. I tell you what is wrong because I love you." For you, criticism is an act of love.

3. You feel that no one should violate your right to pleasure, because you’ve earned it.

4. At your worst, you get totally possessive and intolerant, flaming up in righteous rage

5. But most of the time you keep your highly emotionally charged self under strict self-control, with clear rules and standards for correct behavior

6. Jealousy toward your partner is common, but may also be shown toward others who seem to be able to express themselves more freely

7. You have a habit of looking at reality in the light of something better and then railing against how reality doesn’t measure up

8. You criticize yourself first, and then your partner.

9. You do not want to be loved for your charm or beauty, but rather for the good works you do, and your moral fiber. Love is not to be given for charm without effort.

10. You are polarized against your own passion and sensuality, because these things can easily lead to sin, which threatens the moral order.

4/29/2011

Yes Man or Woman

"Yes" Man or Woman

Corresponds to Enneagram Style 3,
Self-Preservation Subtype

Ten Things about You:

1. You have enormous drive and energy and can accomplish your goals of financial security and “making it” by your society’s standards

2. Your ability to work hard, perform well, and maintain the right image assures your material success, generally far beyond what you really need

3. You feel reassured when moving up, “making it”

4. Others can be obstacles to this, causing you to feel impatient and angry

5. In early childhood, you were very impoverished, and so now you can never be wealthy enough or famous enough. But even though you look successful on the outside, you will forever be starving to death on the inside

6. To you, money serves as the proof of your lovability, but on the other hand, you fear that people love you only for the money, status and possessions you can give them, and not for who you are deep inside

7. The biggest danger is that you over-identify with your work role. Without your job and your possessions, without all the trappings of success, who are you? Deep inside, who are you, really?

8. At worst, you work yourself to death acquiring possessions and completing the things that you believe will bring security.

9. Like all Enneagram style 3s, you want to be rich and famous, but you don’t want others to know how important that is to you, and so you don’t brag as much as the others about your accomplishments

10. Unlike other Enneagram style 3s, who want to look like the perfect role model for whatever role you play, you don’t just “look good” at it, you actually are good at it

4/27/2011

Warrior

Warrior, aka Strength or Beauty

Corresponds to Enneagram Style 6, Intimate Subtype

Seven Things about You

1. As a fear type, knowing you can influence your partner counteracts your fear. But instead of using raw power moves, which could create adversarial reactions, you use the appealing qualities of strength or beauty.

2. Aesthetic qualities such as creating beauty in your self and in your environment commands allegiance, as does intellectual strength, including fiercely held ideological positions, physical fitness and courage

3. You overcome or avoid fear through discipline in acquiring physical strength (martial arts, body building) or through the strength of your intellect and ideological positions

4. But because fear resides in the mind, and strength is physical, you are more apt to develop your physical strength than fiercely held ideological positions

5. You might actively seek physical challenges in order to conquer your fears about possible dangers in your environment, although your motive is not aggression or competition, but self-defense

6. If you are a woman, you assert control in your life by putting your idealism and perceptiveness into creating beauty in yourself and your environment. Beauty is extremely valuable in gaining protection from powerful men

7. If not beautiful, you know that artistic endeavor is another route to overcoming fear, and a non-verbal way of reaching beyond what you’re able to think and figure out. Your mind spins compulsively, and while engrossed in artistic endeavors, this is a way to defeat your anxiety for long periods

4/26/2011

Vivant, Bon

Vivant, Bon
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 7, Self-Preservation Subtype

Ten Things about You

1. You love an abundant life with your family and close friends

2. Your life emphasis is on planning positive social experiences so that you don’t miss out on anything

3. You emphasize sharing ideas and conversation, planning fun projects and food, thus you’re prone to over-talking, over-stimulation and over-eating.

4. Identifying with likeminded people who share your ideals and dreams helps you feel secure.

5. You see these people as friends who protect you from being trapped or limited in a boring or painful life

6. You reframe any negative issues in your life into something lighter and brighter; the lemonade you make is always much sweeter than anyone else’s

7. You’re spontaneous and a risk-taker, but you’re not a fool about it

8. You love gluttonous pleasures, but you also know there is a price to be paid for excess, which acts as the necessary brakes in your life

9. With a stingy streak to your personality, you prefer good times that don’t cost much, which you reframe as an appreciation for nature or anything that is free

10. Unlike other Enneagram Style 7s, who are highly idealistic, you are more pragmatic and materialistic

4/25/2011

Utopian Visionary

Utopian Visionary
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 7, Social Subtype

Seven Things about You

1. You need your friends and your groups to express your social idealism and love of life, and yet, ironically, harnessing yourself to the greater good always involves an individual sacrifice of possibilities

2. For the sake of group ideals or worthy endeavors, and through promoting a better society, you postpone your need for gratification and accept life’s limitations

3. The hardest part of buying into the requirements of the group is dealing with authority; you don’t like being told what to do or to have any limitations put on you

4. You don’t like wasting time in routine tasks. When that’s necessary, you begin to feel like a martyr.

5. At your worst, you overbook with too many social interests and activities, making it difficult to commit to any of them

6. Your desire to achieve a rank in a community—job, family, club or team—provides discipline for you and helps you to be willing to do difficult or unpleasant things you wouldn’t normally do

7. In the business world, you are an entrepreneur with creative vision, but your efforts often fail because you cannot establish or maintain the discipline to make the company stable over time

4/23/2011

Takes Charge

Takes Charge (like a Dictator)
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 8, Intimate Subtype

A Dozen Things about You

1. Of all Enneagram style 8s, you are the most anti-social, rebellious and emotional with big energy that takes over the whole situation

2. You feel like nobody’s going to watch out for you, and so you’d better watch out for yourself; you battle anyone who gets in your way

3. Your passionate energy wants to possess and control and protect your partner and significant others

4. You are highly physical and controlling, although you don’t see it as domination—you’re just taking charge and caring for the special others who depend on you.

5. In business, you are commanding, relentlessly competitive and powerful

6. You test your intimates’ commitment, and when they prove worthy, you surrender control, without fear of being betrayed

7. You want utter reliability, stability, loyalty in a partnership, and if the partner passes the tests, your allegiance is total

8. At your worst, your energy and intensity can lead to a “my way or the highway” approach, although you hate this approach

9. You don’t take care of yourself or nurture the soft side of your self, but project your own nurture needs onto another, and take care of them, thus not realizing that you have unmet nurture needs yourself

10. Your lust for life and drive for power show up in a desire for sexual intensity

11. You pick a fight to ratchet up emotional temperature and lose interest in a dull relationship

12. You pick a fight in order to get at your honest feelings, your values—to discover what you will and will not stand up for

4/22/2011

Salesman

Salesman

Corresponds to Enneagram Style 7, Intimate Subtype

Ten Things about You

1. In the sexual arena, you connect with a partner who fascinates you and sparks your energy; you idealize them while they bask in your charm, your ideas, your plans and possibilities

2. You love possibilities and beginnings and are lured by dreams without seeing the inevitable problems. It means that you wear rose-colored glasses and you also expect your partner to wear them

3. Any new, unusual, exotic, intense experience will energize you, and you expect your partner to be just as energized by it

4. But you’re often put off by having to go along with your partner’s idea of excitement. If they criticize you for this double standard, you drop your charm and flash your anger, if only briefly.

5. You idealize your partner by reframing, which allows the idealization to live longer than might be expected, and can lead you to stay in negative relationships longer than most people would expect of you, the escape artist

6. But when you can no longer reframe or idealize your partner, and they no longer fascinate you, you can rationalize your way out of a seemingly committed relationship

7. You focus on the future. You believe that’s where lose ends will come together and you’ll be happy.

8. Because fantasy is more powerful than fact, you can talk your partner into living a future dream while not facing wretched current conditions

9. Without depth life is boring; it’s like living the reader’s digest version of life

10. You are adept at using personal charm to lead people into a new purchase or a new relationship. You could be (or are) the quintessential BS'er, the quintessential Snake Oil Salesman

Survivalist

Survivalist

Corresponds to Enneagram 8,
Self-Preservation Subtype

A Dozen Things about You

1. You are aggressive by nature, which you channel into physical survival and material security.

2. Seeing the world as hostile, and you will “win or go down fighting”

3. You are generous and fiercely protective of friends and family, and you can establish more territory and stockpile more supplies than anyone.

4. You have a tendency toward excess, and it shows up everywhere. You don’t necessarily hoard things, but you want to make sure that what you need is available to you, so you will never be deprived or dependent.

5. You take charge of your creature comforts, which gives you the illusion that you are in control

6. You tend to be profane and vulgar; it’s your vocabulary of rage, and you often feel enraged

7. You use anger to defend yourself against an unacknowledged inner softness.

8. Unable to admit your own inner softness, you project it out onto the small and helpless among us, taking care of their vulnerabilities instead of your own

9. You test people to see if they are for you or against you. If they stand up to you, you know they are strong and can be trusted

10. You prefer confrontation to diplomacy; it’s quicker

11. You see things in black and white, simplifying the world and its issues

12. You are loyal and protective to your friends and will work endlessly to promote justice wherever there is injustice

4/21/2011

Responsibility

Responsibility, or Family Loyalist:

Corresponds to Enneagram 6, Self-Preservation Subtype

Seven Things about You

1. You worry a lot, but you overcome your fears by connecting with people through your considerable personal warmth

2. You disarm others by acting kind and with thoughtfulness and deference, so that people won’t be angry with you or harm you

3. You get people to like you by pleasing, supporting, and aligning with them, and by creating a safety zone that is populated by allies

4. Experiencing a lack of warmth from others is perceived as a threat to you, which can make you risk-averse and determined to stay within well-known boundaries

5. At worst, you give away your power, paradoxically making you vulnerable to the very things you fear

6. You are modest, and if working for a boss, you’ll work hard to make sure the boss knows that you don’t want their job

7. Your home is a sanctuary to which you flee

4/20/2011

Queen of Seduction

Queen of Seduction, or Seductress:

Corresponds to Enneagram Style 2, Intimate Subtype

A Dozen Things about You

1. You love being needed, attuned to others and empathetic

2. You feel you can meet the needs of a special other better than anyone else, thus gaining their approval

3. You seduce by matching to the feeling tones in others and altering to your desired other’s emotional state

4. You seek attention and affection by giving what’s needed and being flattering to the other, thus putting yourself in a place of prominence in their eyes

5. You capture the other by taking on their interests, and making them feel good, to win them

6. At your worst, you paradoxically become possessive and demanding by complaining about your unfulfilled needs

7. You have unconscious hostility toward the person you’re trying to attract, because you’re not clear about the distinction between being sexually desirable and being loved

8. To get the love you need, you will invite more intimacy than is appropriate, and actually encourage men to take advantage of you sexually and even financially.

9. This behavior is rooted in fatherlessness, whether actual or perceived, resulting in you working hard to please men with sex. But sex isn’t necessarily love, and when you give sex to get love, but receive only sex and then abandonment, you get angry

10. And when you’re angry, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

4/19/2011

Politician

Politician

Corresponds to Enneagram Style 3, Social Subtype

A Dozen Things about You

1. You are driven to win social approval, to know the right people and to achieve power in social institutions, whether government, community or business.

2. Your leadership motives can be genuine, or simply a means of self-aggrandizement

3. In the need for recognition—you must receive public honors, titles, influential connections and appreciation for your achievements—you are highly energetic and fiercely competitive

4. Unless you are somebody in others’ eyes, you are nobody in your own

5. You know how to look good, to take on the correct thoughts and feelings for the group—whether or not you happen to believe what you’re thinking, saying and doing

6. In order to feel loved, you look to others to know how to behave and then become the person you feel they expect you to be

7. You have a hard time believing this, but the best way to gain love is to be yourself

8. You identify totally with your role; you become what you do, not who you are on the inside

9. You find your value by being valued in the eyes of others for what you own, what you do and the amount of power and prestige you have over others

10. You find social equality repugnant; you need to have status, and are totally conscious of where you are on the social ladder

11. Your role, your image, substitutes for self-knowledge
12. To gain love and approval, you were a model child

4/18/2011

Observer (aka Critical Commentator)

Observer, aka Critical Commentator:

Corresponds to Enneagram Style 4, Social Subtype

A Dozen Things about You

 
1. Social situations can provoke feelings of deficiency in you, which makes you feel envious of others’ status or membership

2. You seek to establish an acceptable social role, possibly as the emotional truth-teller of the group

3. You were or are the black sheep of your family

4. You feel shame for being a “misfit”

5. But your shame also helps you to feel a connection to others, in that they will notice your defectiveness, and because of that, you will be special in their eyes

6. Your shame also motivates you to create an elegant image, or a unique and special look, and to develop a sense of honor for what you add to the group

7. Everyone has an idealized self-image, but yours is assessed negatively. You know what you should be like, but instead of trying to live up to it, you know you’ll never be able to, and so you don’t even try.

8. Therefore you turn to your inner, imaginative life for comfort. You might fantasize how you will become a celebrity and then scorn everyone who looked down on you.

9. Fearing that people will reject you, you perform a pre-emptive strike and reject them first

10. Because you see yourself as defective, you are extremely sensitive to criticism. Low self-image is your defining quality, and so criticism merely confirms what you’ve felt all along.

11. You may resort to charm to cover your inner suffering, or you might be antisocial and depressed

12. The group rejection that you feel and resent isn’t based on any skill you feel you should cultivate. You might be enormously skillful in your chosen field. You just know that you were made wrong at the factory, and you expect people to reject you for it

4/16/2011

Nurturer

Nurturer
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 2, Self-Preservation Subtype

Nine Things about You


1. You excel in creating warm relationships.

2. You love to be recognized for your warmth, personal charm and social astuteness

3. At the bottom of it all, you believe there isn’t enough love (as defined by food, money, etc) to go around, and since you’ve done so much for others, you deserve to be first, and have the best. Others will understand. After all, they all owe you.

4. In most cases, you will be rewarded for your efforts. But if or when that doesn’t happen, “Hell hath no fury.”

5. Your theme is, “After all I’ve done for you.” (Do you hear the distinct hint of parental manipulation?)

6. You specialize in the currency of guilt. When love is viewed as an investment, and you’re not getting the return you expect, you will make sure that others feel guilty.

7. You need to remember that real love is free and unconditional. Love is not a form of social currency.

8. If you mental health leans toward neurosis, you have perfect recall of who owes you what in the social realm.

9. Of Enneagram Style 2s, you are the more childlike, fearful and ambivalent

4/15/2011

Movie Star

Movie StarCorresponds to Enneagram Style 3, Intimate Subtype

A Dozen Things about You

1. You automatically adopt the masculine or feminine image of “star” appeal in your society and era in order to look good and be charismatic

2. Your life depends on winning admiration in business or love relationships, as measured by the amount of attention you get for your efforts

3. You spend a great deal of time, effort and money to fit the cultural norms of sexual attractiveness, rather than your own definition of it

4. If you happen not to look much like some of the norms—say your society looks up to tall people, and you’re short—then you’re in big trouble

5. You gain status by adopting a role with the characteristics that your partner finds appealing, which may result in their uncertainty about your genuine feelings and sexuality, but rather than be real, i.e. rather than risking true intimacy, you keep playing the role … because you’re probably as clueless about your true feelings as your partner is

6. Instead of worrying about your inability to be truly intimate, you worry about your sexual performance

7. If not in a committed relationship, you are frequently promiscuous

8. Eventually, you will be confronted with the fact that it’s all a sham. True intimacy isn’t about performance, but about surrender, and forgetting the self because you are preoccupied with the other—it’s about selflessness

9. But when sexual attractiveness is a means of establishing self-worth, your sexual expression is more a form of self-aggrandizement

10. You see intimacy as a means of engendering envy—your date is more attractive, richer, more important—than someone else’s

11. Preoccupation with looking like the perfect male or female stems from a deep confusion about the masculine and feminine in you. As a woman, you might act ultra-feminine when you’re actually as competitive as any man could ever be. Or you might be a man who’s ashamed of tender feelings. The real self can’t be expressed, because it is thought to be unacceptable, and so the culturally correct model is adopted instead

12. The split between what you’re truly feeling and the role you’re playing causes you to look phony, and indeed to be a phony.



4/14/2011

Lecturer

Lecturer, aka Professor
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 5, Social Subtype

A Dozen things about You

1. You don’t care what people in general think about you, but you are intensely concerned about your position in the elite group with which you are affiliated

2. You can work within an organization, but you need a lot of autonomy, and though moderately social, you value research more than teaching

3. Your social needs are met by exchanging information in the form of teaching, sharing research, or publishing

4. Your group affiliation isn’t to provide support or pleasant companionship, but to establish identity. You want to know if your work and intelligence are respected more than whether people like you. To you, respect is at least as important as love

5. Others find you distant but not hostile, and if they engage you in your interests, rather than small talk, you will have much to share

6. You are hungry for knowledge and mastery of the sacred symbols and language of the group or society (totems).

7. At the same time, an over-emphasis on analysis can get in the way of participation and trap you in the role of observer or learned teacher.

8. Greedy for knowledge, time, energy, you cleave to the representation of things that a group shares, but are one step removed from ordinary involvement.

9. Your knowledge-based role buffers you from direct access, but you are attracted to groups that share special knowledge, such as a field of study or systems, or a shared intellectual pursuit.

10. You are greedy for and affiliate with people or groups who influence culture, events, and seek greater knowledge through the power of one’s mind

11. You align in the mental domain with leaders, movements and systems where knowledge is valued and shared, such as in a university

12. At your worst, you use your knowledge as a substitute for heartfelt human contact, which isolates you from others

4/13/2011

King

King in his Realm
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 8, Social Subtype

Twelve Things about You

1. You overcome powerless and injustice by being part of a group, usually its leader

2. You are angry and aggressive, but those feelings are tempered by the group’s needs and your alignment to a common agenda; loyalty to friends who share your values and sense of justice takes precedence over personal feelings and needs

3. You test others to see if they can match your energy and be counted on for honest feedback, and if they can, you know you can trust them and they become your friends

4. You are true to the group and influence it according to your own sense of justice, giving your energy unhesitatingly

5. Your affiliations help you to overcome your loner tendency

6. You tend to see life in terms of black and white, and when mentally unhealthy, you see people in the simplest of terms: as friend or foe, good or bad

7. You tend to see life as a battle ground

8. You’re at home in any athletic contest, as you love being with your friends, and against your enemies

9. You think you are taking care of the underdog, but you are also projecting your own softness on others and taking care of that in them

10. You might’ve been the playground bully

11. When you’re healthy, you can admit when you’ve been wrong—which is the same thing as allowing ambiguity, nuance, complexity into your world.

12. When you get in touch with your softer side, you learn to identify with others

4/12/2011

Joins (Seeks to Merge)

Joins, aka "Seeks to Merge"
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 9,
Intimate Subtype


A Dozen Things about You

1. You are tender and sweet, kind, gentle and unassertive

2. Because you cannot find a “you” within yourself, you seek comfort through a special other; you want to merge so completely with the other that you become the other. Of all enneagram types and subtypes, you are most seeking of a soulmate

3. You forget your own agenda by absorbing your special other into yourself—(his or) her point of view,  agenda, feelings.

4. Your union with your partner (or with nature or the divine), makes you feel safe and whole.

5. You feel that you gain belonging, importance and love through merging with a partner, nature or the divine

6. At your worst, if you have lost “you” in the other, you can become quite passive-aggressive, resulting in both not merging and not being present to self.

7. You have trouble with personal boundaries, with where you end and the other begins.

8. You “live through” your partner, friend, child, which presents a real danger that you will never know who you are, and what you want, because you "go along to get along."

9. When not in a relationship, your energy is devoted to finding one. Lacking inner direction, and the hidden belief that you don’t count, you idealize your partner

10. Having thoroughly identified yourself with your partner, you are jealous of any other relationships that he or she might have.

11. Because you allow your partner to make and enforce the unspoken rules of the relationship, you might stay too long in an unhealthy relationship.

12. Then, instead of insisting on what you need from your partner, you simply drift into another person’s life, hoping they will bring you to life instead.

4/11/2011

Individualist

Individualist, Creative
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 4, Self-Preservation Subtype

A Dozen Things about You

1. You love taking reckless risks, which make you feel fully alive, authentic and extraordinary

2. To be ordinary feels like death to you. You must be “somebody” by finding meaning in what you do, and everything you do is an attempt to be anything but dull.

3. With your big feelings, your need for drama, you spin ordinary events into something astonishing—you want your life to look like the evening news

4. You believe, at the heart of it all, that you were born defective

5. You can be extremely aggressive in proving to the world that your “defectiveness” entitles you to getting what you deserve—which is an exceptional life

6. You are drawn to the bizarre, even death

7. You tend to be depressed, and you use your depression is a way of anticipating death. You feel that if you rehearse death through feeling dead, you’ll be able to handle it when it actually happens

8. If you’re “stuck” in a small town, a boring job or relationship, you feel you might as well be dead

9. On the high side, because you are totally comfortable with emotional intensity, when a crisis does hit, you’re able to respond in a way that someone with a different personality might not be able to—In a crisis, you have the wherewithal to be a true hero

10. Of all personality types, you feel the widest and deepest range of emotions. That means, when the situation calls for it, you can access depth that nobody dreamed was in you

11. If you are an artist, you can live with the barest survival necessities while you devote yourself to your art, and the harder you struggle, the greater your art

12. People of all personality types are creative in their own way, but yours is the classic artistic temperament, the starving artist who is locked in a life-and-death battle that is being fought mostly in your imagination.

4/09/2011

Home or Castle Defender

Home or Castle Defender
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 5, Self-Preservation Subtype

Twelve Things about You

1. You retreat from the world and feel safest at home, but if you cannot be at home, you also use your own mind as a sanctuary to keep others out, or guard their access


2. You need strong boundaries, and to have control over the boundaries.

3. You love privacy and hoard space and time more than money

4. You assure your survival by preserving your time and energy and needing little, but also by hoarding a storehouse of subsistence items, including knowledge and books

5. Intensely sensitive, you sense what others want from you and feel obligated to respond, thus your energy gets drained by other people’s expectations of you

6. You isolate yourself and are stingy with your time and energy because you are afraid of being overwhelmed by your emotions.

7. When you have control of your emotions, you feel secure, superior and safe.

8. You have strong feelings, but you never show them in public. Instead, you isolate yourself in order to let them emerge into awareness in private

9. It’s only when you’re alone, you believe, that you can trust your feelings not to get you into trouble

10. Of the three Enneagram Style 5 subtypes, you are the least expressive, and particularly when it comes to expressing anger

11. With your thin body, love of solitude and emotional distance, you can have a ghost-like quality, and you prefer to stay at home and haunt your own castle

12. At your worst, you are so withdrawn that you are a lonely hermit

4/07/2011

Guardian

Guardian, Social:
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 6, Social Subtype

Twelve Things about You

1. A fearful type, you are hyper-vigilant to know the rules of your groups. Your overriding concern is to be clear about your role in the group

2. You fear being rejected, and so you believe that if you know the rules, and do your duty, that will bond you to a group of people who share a common cause

3. You align with people you trust thru mutual obligations and sacrifice: United we stand, divided we fall.

4. Because you have a skeptical bent, you find underdog causes appealing. You align with the needy, oppressed, persecuted, and the call to duty to this cause mobilizes you.

5. At your worst, you give away your own authority and power.

6. Your group may be family, church, school or tradition, and you want to make sure you’re getting the authentic tradition, before breaking a rule. You might do it, but you make sure you know the rules before doing so.

7. You might work for the same firm for your entire career, and you might not even like your job, but you’ll stay rather than leave because it’s not right to leave and it’s not safe

8. You over-identify with the group and shun or persecute others who don’t share your group’s ideals; this personality style is highly attracted to religious fundamentalism

9. Because you feel all attention is bad, and you don’t want to be a target for criticism, you prefer not to be a leader

10. If you believe in your cause, a cause that hooks your idealism, you can work tirelessly, selflessly, and forever on it

11. You are simultaneously idealistic and skeptical

12. You have an attention style that looks for danger, conspiracy, inconsistency. If those in authority are doing anything wrong on any level, you will catch them at it

Forges New Trails

Forges New Trails, aka Trailblazers:
Corresponds to Enneagram Style 1, Self-Preservation Subtype

(This is my enneagram type and subtype, warts and all.)

Nine Things about You

1. You are concerned about survival and security, which you channel into material success as a way to be a good person and do the right thing

2. You are the true perfectionist, of all enneagram styles and subtypes

3. You are also the most anxious and worried. As a child, you were put in the position of taking on too much responsibility for the family at an early age

4. You’re sure there is only “one right way” and since that is the case, one wrong decision can seem to threaten your entire survival

5. You worry about marrying the right person, finding the right job, acquiring enough money and provisions, living in the right neighborhood, finding the one true faith, and so on.

6. Once you finally decide you’ve made the right choice, it’s difficult for you to change your mind; you feel morally justified for your (idealized) beliefs and values, and for finding the “one right way.”

7. Because you believe your life depends on getting everything right, you do the things you think you “should” do, rather what you "want" to do (assuming you have enough self-awareness to know what you want)

8. You are anxious on the inside, but on the outside, you are self-controlled and self-confident

9. If you begin to sacrifice your true self too much, you will also begin to resent everything and everyone. When that happens--when you've been working too hard, for too long, and have lost your sense of humor--a warning bell should go off in your head. You are in trouble. For your own good, you need to scale back for a while.