Who are these strange creatures called writers? Is there one type of person that becomes a writer? Perhaps a screening test so we can weed them out early?
Michael J Straczynski in The Complete Book of Scriptwriting said that writers were born not made. I suspect there may be a strong element of truth in this, but having said that, I think that writers are also made. It's the one profession that can not really be taught, but has to be developed over long years in the saddle.
No doubt this is one arena where the 10,000 hour rule definitely applies. That's the old chestnut that says that to get to the top in any field you need to spend at least 10,000 hours at that profession/craft/sport.
Which reminds me of the old joke: A neurosurgeon and a writer meet at a party. On introducing herself as a writer the neurosurgeon is delighted. He takes a sip of his cocktail and says, 'You know I always wanted to take up writing in my retirement.' The writers nods appreciatively then leans closer, 'You know, that's an incredible co-incidence. I though I might take up neurosurgery in my retirement.'
OK. Enough diversions. Having met quite a few writers now, I would have to say that imagination and creative drive are two traits that they have in common, particularly the imagination part for the speculative fiction writers. But really, that's where the similarity seems to end. At the various workshops, conventions and writer's events that I have attended I have met writers from all walks of life, running the full gamut of personalities. There are the more retiring ones, and maybe they dominate - I'm not sure - but you get all types from rough and ready bruisers to cerebral arty types, irrepressible extroverts to incurable mushrooms. Given the fact that no two writers seem to approach their work in the same way, it should probably come as no surprise.
I have no particular views on the Myers Briggs personality test, it was just the first one I thought of. I did a quick Google on Myers Briggs types and careers, and predictably the result was a little inconclusive. Four quite contrasting types were listed - INTP, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP based on a survey of graduates as likely 'writers'. Actually my quick Google only brought up confusing conclusions (Tolkien was supposed to be an INFP).
How about you? Do you think that writers tend to be of a similar personality type? Are the observed differences just window dressing over the same wounded souls, or are we all truly coming from a different place?