SPS 156: Enneagram For Authors: Using Your Enneagram Type To Write & Publish A Better Book with Ian Morgan Cron

Posted on May 11, 2022


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Ian Morgan Cron is the author of The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, a book that helps access Enneagram wisdom practically and comprehensively. This book turned out to be a runaway hit and helped cement Ian’s position in the Enneagram world. His new book, The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self, continues with Ian’s Enneagram knowledge and helps us understand the stories we are telling ourselves and how to rewrite the parts that aren’t serving us. 

He shares why he decided to write an Enneagram book and what worked for his first launch. Ian shares how he wasn’t expecting this book to be as successful as it turned out to be. He also breaks down the nine Enneagram personality types and some of the traits that each type has, including the positive and the negative. Then we unpack how using your type can help you write better and help you understand characters better. Ian says that understanding your style can help with self-awareness, a key predictor of success. 

Ian is the host of the Typology podcast. He’s also a master speaker and a pioneer in the contemporary Enneagram movement. He’s a teacher who offers courses on Enneagram. You can also find the highly comprehensive iEQ9 Enneagram test on Ian’s website. He is also an Episcopal priest and a trained psychotherapist. This episode is a beautiful introduction to anyone curious about the Enneagram or wants to learn more about it, especially how it applies to writers. 

Show Highlights

  • [01:34] Ian decided to write The Road Back to You after writing a novel and a memoir. He was trying to find a new topic to write about and heard someone bring up The Enneagram at a party, and a lightbulb went off.
  • [03:10] His agent advised against it, but he had a hunch that it would do really well. The book turned out to be a unicorn and did really really well.
  • [04:48] On his first launch, he went to influencers. He also got on a big podcast that really helped. He also met a guy who ran a book subscription service, and he got his book put in the box. 
  • [06:52] Sometimes you hit a gold mine with something that you never expected to work.
  • [07:14] The Enneagram is an uncannily accurate personality typing system. It teaches that there are nine basic personality styles in the world. One of which, we adopt and gravitate towards in childhood just to feel safe, cope, and protect ourselves. 
  • [07:43] Each type has an unconscious motivation that powerfully influences how that type predictably and habitually acts, thinks, and feels from moment to moment on a daily basis.
  • [08:08] It’s actionable, accessible, and fast to get.
  • [08:56] The Enneagram doesn’t just tell you what you do, it also tells you why you do it. It tells you what your unconscious unseen motivation is that drives you.
  • [09:27] Some of the other personality type tests are traits given, but they don’t tell you why you have those traits. 
  • [10:02] It’s about understanding the why behind the why and learning how to change and adapt. It also tells you what you are like when you are under stress and what you are like when you are doing well.
  • [13:04] Ian is a four, the individualist. He wants to be special and unique. Some issues these artistic types have is execution.
  • [14:34] Write something that matters, not what you think people want to hear.
  • [15:14] Knowing your type can help you be self-aware and have the knowledge to work on yourself. 
  • [18:28] Ian has a test on his website where people can find out their types. 
  • [19:58] People can share characteristic traits. It’s really our unconscious motivations that determine our type. It’s important to know all of the types, not just your own.
  • [21:04] The nine personality types accurately reflect the population. Being armed with this information is especially useful for writers. It’s incredibly helpful for character development. You can draw information. Some directors even use the Enneagram on set.
  • [22:08] There are nine different personality types on the Parks and Recreation show. It’s a great tool for understanding type and character.
  • [23:32] Type 1 the perfectionist. They get things done but have a negative inner critic. 
  • [25:44] Type 2 the helpers. Their unconscious motivation is the need to be liked. They will use giving and serving as a calculated strategy to win your approval.
  • [28:19] Type 3 the performer. Their unconscious motivation is a need to succeed and appear successful.
  • [31:27] Type 4 is the individualist. Creatives and authors.
  • [31:31] Type 5 is the investigator. They have a powerful need to collect knowledge and information to fend off ineptitude. They don’t like self-promotion and hate small talk.
  • [34:10] Type 6 the loyalist. Sharp wit. The unconscious motivation is the need to feel certain, secure, and safe. They self-doubt and self question constantly.
  • [36:31] Type 7 the enthusiasts. Joy bombs or adventure seekers. These are people who are constantly living in the future and thinking about unlimited options. Their fears are too much pain or being trapped with distressing feelings. They are notoriously distractible.
  • [38:33] Type 8 the challenger. These people can be notoriously blunt and the most assertive on the Enneagram. Their unconscious motivation is a need to assert power and control over others and the environment to mask weakness.
  • [40:16] One of the most powerful tools we have is authentic vulnerability, because vulnerability creates connection with the reader.
  • [43:03] Type 9 the peacemaker. The sweethearts who want to maintain connection with people. They’ll sometimes merge with the program or agenda of others, and they hate conflict. They have the ability to see through the eyes of all nine types.
  • [46:02] Wings are one or two numbers adjacent to your own. They season you with some of the traits and characteristics of your number.
  • [48:50] A key predictor in life is self-awareness. Know yourself and keep learning what you don’t know. Don’t presume that you already know everything. 

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