4s don’t have a lock on creativity, but it’s pretty widely accepted that they do at least have an edge on it. There are several reasons why that’s so, one of them being that 4s tend to hang around on the outskirts of things, which gives them a—yes—unique perspective. Another is that they are more immersed in the search for meaning than many of the rest of us are.
But here’s another explanation for it, from the pages of The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass:
The world of a story is a hyperreality. In a passionately told tale, characters are larger than life, what’s happening matters profoundly, the outcome is important in the extreme, and even the words on the page have a DayGlo fluorescence.
Sound like the world of anyone you know? According to Don Riso and Russ Hudson’s profile of Type 4 in Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self Discovery, 4s “heighten reality through fantasy, passionate feelings, and the imagination.”
The world of story is tailor-made for 4s. While the rest of us who strive—or whose compulsion it is—to be balanced or reserved have to make an effort to ramp up the emotional content of our stories and exaggerate the plights of our characters, 4s are already living hyperreal lives. It’s what comes naturally. We may brush off their extremes of angst and ecstasy, but if we want to express our own creative impulses in a way that moves other people, we might want to be less dismissive.
Maass’s advice for people who find themselves cruising along, “no particular worries, everything going pretty well” is to:
[S]top working on your manuscript immediately. You could be in terrible danger. Why? You may be seeing the world and its woes in a way that is calm and rational. Nothing could be worse, at least for your fiction.
Go for It!
There’s something really wonderful each type has to offer that the other types are missing. We can take a lesson from 4s in how to get inside a story and wring out every last drop of passion from it. Mundane and workaday don’t cut it. Fiction has to be larger than life in order to seem true to life. The same applies to other forms of creative expression. It might help to be able to step into a 4‘s shoes and walk a few miles. Or tread. Or stride. Or saunter. Maybe meander. Or possibly promenade.