Ritu Kaushal

Nov 19, 2016

4 min read

4 Mistakes for INFP Writers to Avoid

4 Mistakes for Intuitive INFP and INFJ Writers to Avoid

We know that INFP writers are spontaneous, imaginative, and bursting forth with creative ideas. But as an intuitive type, we have specific challenges when we start writing and try to fit our quirky process in a mold that might be “normal” but that doesn’t quite fit us.

This week, I would like to share some insights that have helped me as an INFP writer. If you are an INFP struggling with your own writing, they might resonate with you as well. Here they are:

We can block ourselves as INFPs writers by not understanding the difference between authenticity and originality.

Not being original is, I think, a quintessential INFP fear. It’s something I come across again and again, this feeling that everything has been done before, the resistance that asks, why do something when it is not really original?

In this piece, I talk about how reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic helped clarify my own fear of lacking originality. This was a big piece for me as an INFP writer, this understanding that when I express myself authentically, I am adding something original to the conversation. If you are struggling with your own process because you fear that you are not original enough, this might help you clarify and get to the root of your fear.

We can make the mistake of watering down our passion because we think it is abnormal to have such feeling for a creative project.

In her book on the writing process, Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg talks about how we can mistake passion for something dangerous. When she first started writing, she went to every reading she could, whether good or bad. This was not a love that was quick to burn and quick to die down. She did this for the next ten years, being in the audience, listening to writers read. She was consumed by writing.

At one point, she discussed this with Geneen Roth, who has written several books on compulsive eating. Natalie mused that maybe, her whole writing life was one of addiction. She had given up homes, lovers and a normal life for her love for writing.

Geneen Roth, this woman who knew so much about obsession and compulsion, heard Natalie speak. At last, she said, “No, Natalie, an addiction diminishes you. You have not been diminished by writing. It is your passion.”

Ah, passion. So that is what had carried her through all those years of struggle, Natalie thought.

Ah, passion. That’s something that we might try to get away from as emotionally intense people, trying to fit ourselves into some imaginary definition of “normal.” What if you let your passion burn you up just like Natalie did? How would that help your writing?

As INFP writers, we can label ourselves and keep ourselves small.

We all label and box ourselves in. Some part of it is a mistaken attempt to define our identity. As INFPs, we might think that we are better at certain genres. We have all heard how INFP writers tend to gravitate towards fiction. But labeling ourselves keeps us from experimenting, an INFP strength.

Also, our inferior function is Extraverted Thinking (Te). In his book, The 16 Personality Types, Dr A.J. Drenth talks about how an INFP writing a nonfiction book is an example of a healthy attempt to integrate our inferior function with our dominant, rich Introverted Feeling (Fi) function.

While imagination and deep feeling are naturally INFP strengths, they don’t mean that we are only limited to doing those few things. We can use them to actually attempt nonfiction and other genres in a creative, feeling way. After all, isn’t that what creative nonfiction is all about?

We can box ourselves as INFP writers by trying to follow a linear process, instead of following our intuitive hunches.

Most of us have have gone through school systems or been raised in cultures where we learned that the way we do things is decidedly not the right way. It is messy, meandering, uncontrolled. It is not safe. But is it really so dangerous to follow our own inclinations? Wouldn’t it be easier to do what comes naturally, follow our hunches and intuitions and feelings as INFP writers?

In this interview I did with Lauren Sapala, writing coach and author of the book The INFJ Writer, Lauren talks about how she recommends a mosaic approach for her INFP clients. She tells them to “ write what they are emotionally drawn to writing that day. “ This means that finding pieces, gathering pieces, and putting them together in the end is how many INFP writers work best. Could this be the missing piece for your own writing challenges?

Did any of these insights resonate with you? What do you think helps you as an INFP writer?

Ritu Kaushal is the author of the memoir The Empath’s Journey. Set during the first few years after she emigrated from India to the United States, it connects personal stories with practical tools to help highly sensitive people channel their gifts.

Ritu is the recipient of the Silver Medal at the prestigious Rex Awards, presented by the International Confederation of NGOs in partnership with the United Nations in India and given to people creating social impact through their work.

Originally published on Ritu’s site: https://www.walkingthroughtransitions.com on November 19, 2016.