Are You an Auditory, Visual or Kinesthetic Writer?

 August 9, 2017

Back when I was teaching College Success Strategies at Baker College, I taught students about the three different learning styles:  auditory (those who learn best through hearing words spoken), visual (those who learn best by seeing) and kinesthetic (those who learn by doing). This is a tool that helps not just in studies, but also in life.

Before this I had never thought about what my own learning style was. I just knew I loved learning and had always been a good student. Taking this inventory showed me that I was a visual kinesthetic learner. That explained a number of things, like why I was never bent out of shape if someone got my name wrong the way some people are and why I was lackadaisical about using the correct term, much to others dismay.

This has caused problems for me at times. In ministry in the Catholic Church, I never felt it was that important to know all of the terms for liturgical items:  alb, chasuble, thurifer, thurible, paten, ciborium. Whereas, if I got a term wrong, it drove my ex-husband, an auditory learner, crazy.

“Use the right term,” he would say. “If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, you have to speak the language.” It’s like being in an exclusive club with a secret language.

And so I struggled to pay attention to the right word. You would think that as a writer I would be fussier about word choice. I am and I’m not.

My preferred way of learning has always been reading. Let me see the words written on a page rather than make me listen to a lecture. Ask me to listen to a podcast? No way. There at least has to be some pictures for me to look at or I won’t follow along.

When traveling, I like to look at a map ahead of time so I can visualize where I am going. If you tell me how to get someplace, I forget it the minute it’s out of the speaker’s mouth. But let me look at it and I’ll get there. I also have found that as I’ve gotten older, I have become more kinesthetic – hands on – in my learning. Let me read instructions and actually do something, then I learn.

I’ve realized recently that, just as I’m a visual, kinesthetic learner, I’m a visual, kinesthetic writer. When writing a novel, I see the characters and actions. The pictures or movie in my mind comes first, then the words. I see what I want to write then struggle to come up with the right words.

Also, since I’m someone who doesn’t notice clothes, appearance or other such details (this comes from me being an INFP Meyers-Briggs – something for another post) I find that even though I visualize the scene, I rarely notice what my characters are wearing or what they look like. I do see what they are doing and feeling.

The suggestion to record my books then have them transcribed may work for the auditory writer, but not for me. And sometimes, I just have to get up and walk around, go for a bike ride or walk my dog to help me when writing – a kinesthetic part of my writing.

So what about you? How does your learning style affect your writing style? How do other aspects of your personality effect how you write? Do you visualize your characters or think in words? I would love to hear from you.

 

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