Today’s Guest Post is from Michaela Chung of Introvert Spring. Thanks so much for contributing Michaela!
As the rarest personality type in the world, INFJs often seem strange to those around them. Rather than fight the stereotype, I thought I’d work with it by sharing some unusual writing advice that only the most gloriously peculiar personalities will appreciate.
Not only are these writing rituals odd, they are also surprisingly effective. Designed with the idiosyncrasies of the INFJ in mind, each tip works with INFJ quirks instead of against them. Read on to discover 4 strange rituals to bust through writer’s block as an INFJ.
Deepen your intuition with dreams
Many INFJs have vivid, intense dreams. Because of this, they are fascinated with the dreamworld. They become experts in lucid dreaming, and dream interpretation. It turns out that the INFJ’s innate enchantment with dreams can help them overcome writer’s block. Allow me to explain.
Dreams help us to work through problems. As we sleep, our unconscious mind goes to work, finding exactly the right string to pull to unravel the complex mess we created during the day. Sometimes, we barely remember our dreams. Or we do, but they make absolutely no sense to us.
Thankfully, there is a shortcut to tapping into the power of dreams: keeping a dream journal. It doesn’t matter if our dreams are fragmented, or seemingly meaningless. Somehow, writing them down reconnects us to our deeper knowing. It awakens the part of us that can find the perfect metaphor to explain the inexplicable. Or the sentence that is so strong it stands on its own.
Here are some quick tips to help you start a dream journalling practice:
Always write in the present tense. This will help you relive the dream in more vivid detail.
Ask yourself what each object and person in the dream might represent.
Note what emotions you felt during different parts of the dream.
Even if you only remember fragments, write what you can. You might be surprised how much comes back to you the moment you start writing.
Boost brain power through sensory deprivation
INFJs, like all other introverts, constantly struggle with overwhelm. An INFJ’s tendency toward overstimulation leads to creative blocks. It’s hard to come up with genius ideas when you’re mentally exhausted. Luckily there is a simple solution to this creative block – remove the stimuli for a while. Not too long (lest you go insane). Just long enough to relax your whole body and quiet your mind.
A few upscale health and wellness spas have been putting this theory into practice by creating sensory deprivation tanks to bring their clients to a whole new level of relaxation. These pod-like tanks are filled with body temperature water and Epsom salt. They are pitch-black and silent. Clients report having magically restful sleep and increased mental clarity for several days after the experience. The spa tanks are pricey, but you can create your own DIY sensory deprivation tank in your bathtub.
DIY Sensory Deprivation Tank
1. Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water and Epsom salt (the magnesium from the salt has relaxation properties).
2. Block out sound and light with earplugs and an eye mask. I suggest that you turn off the lights and just use a candle or nightlight so you don’t slip and fall when you get out.
3. Lie in your DIY sensory deprivation tank for up to one hour.
Open creative channels with meditation
Meditation is the go-to prescription nowadays for everything from hypertension to depression. There is another little known benefit of silently sitting in lotus position. Meditating opens our creative channels. So, if you’re feeling blocked, as little as five minutes of daily meditation might be the answer.
One of the reasons that meditation is so effective at clearing writer’s block is because it helps us to approach our fears in a more rational way. It’s as if we step back and look at our thoughts from a clearer perspective. Since fear is the main obstacle to creativity, gaining some distance from our dread instantly opens our creative channels.
I recommend starting with just a few minutes a day of meditation. Even two minutes will make a difference. It’s best to choose a meditation space that is quiet and free of distractions.
Bypass INFJ perfectionism
Another sneaky way that INFJs block their own creativity is by being perfectionists. They set the bar impossibly high for themselves, then wonder why they feel stuck at the start line. It’s hard to begin when you know you’ll never be satisfied with the end result.
Luckily, there is an easy way to bypass INFJ perfectionism and get your writing projects done. This solution might seem counterintuitive at first, but hear me out.
If you’re having trouble making headway on a particular writing project, try adding some diversity to your writing regimen. Resolve to express yourself with at least three different types of writing outlets. This strategy has saved me from complete creative standstill countless times.
Most of us resort to distraction when we can’t write. We eat, sleep, pace, call our grandma – whatever it takes to procrastinate the pain of putting words to paper. The beauty of having multiple writing outlets is that we can distract ourselves with writing.
For example, when I’m feeling stuck on a particular chapter of the book I’m writing on introverted charisma, I work on my online writing instead. I write a blog post, or a newsletter. Sometimes I’ll journal, though I do recommend that at least one of your writing outlets allows you to share your work with others. Writing for yourself and writing when you know someone will actually be reading it is very different.
The most important thing is to never stop writing. Give yourself permission to write what Anne Lamott refers to as the “shitty first draft”. If you’re still feeling stuck, write a shitty first draft of something else – an article, a short story, a tweet – anything that keeps you putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.
So, there you have it. My four tried-and-true rituals for busting through writer’s block as an INFJ. If you’d like to read more about all things INFJ, hop on over to Introvert Spring and join my free private forum for INFJs. You’ll also gain instant access to original INFJ blog posts, infographics and cartoons.
Michaela Chung is an expert on introversion with a rich background in communication and human performance techniques and strategies. She has been prolific in sharing her expertise and personal insights on the topic of introversion. She is best known for her popular website,Introvert Spring, which offers hundreds of articles and resources to help introverts embrace and optimize their introversion. She is currently writing her first book on introverted charisma, due out in 2016.