5 Mistakes for INFJ and INFP Writers To Avoid


Expecting Perfection
INFJs and INFPs are idealists, dreamers, and visionaries. This is really cool when it comes to seeing the potential in a person or project, but it can become a huge obstacle when we refuse to settle for anything less than perfect in our finished manuscript.

Solution
After a reasonable number of revisions, accept your writing for what it is. Good enough and yours.

Keeping It Secret
INFJs and INFPs are introverts, which means we don’t usually enjoy showing off a work in progress. But we’re also highly secretive, and that can translate into never showing anyone any of our writing, ever. And if the world never gets the chance to even see what you’re doing, it becomes impossible to share your artistic gifts.

Solution
Choose one or two trusted confidantes and let them in on the secret. Show your writing to someone who you can count on to be supportive.

Guilt-Tripping
As idealists and catalysts, we deeply care about making the world a better place. But sometimes INFJs and INFPs take this concern for others to an unhealthy place. We might view the time we need to write, or any monetary success that could come with it, as things we don’t deserve or time that is taken away from the other people in our lives.

Solution
Move out of the scarcity mindset and into creative abundance. The world can afford to give you the time you need to write, and any payment that may result from it. Really.

Relying on Our Intuition to Solve Everything
As an INFJ, I’m definitely guilty of this one. I can predict how things will turn out so much of the time that it’s hard for me to admit when I’ve lost all perspective while working on the fourth revision of a manuscript. But every writer gets muddled at some point in our story, and that’s when we most need an outside opinion.

Solution
In addition to those one or two trusted confidantes who will always give you the support you need, every writer also needs one or two straight-shooter writer friends who know when to cut through the bullshit. Someone who will say, “No, obviously it’s not the worst thing ever written, but it could be improved here…and here… and here…”

Going Turtle
My close friends know that when I say “I’m in turtle mode this weekend” what it really means is that I need to withdraw from the world and process. Withdrawing suddenly and severely is a hallmark of INFJs and INFPs. It’s how we handle a wide range of events, from our whole life falling apart to fielding a slightly unpleasant phone call. So when we receive criticism or feedback on our writing that we don’t like, it’s normal for us to withdraw for a little while. But it can get problematic when we never come back out.

Solution
Give yourself a reasonable time limit on how long you stay in the shell. Every writer receives criticism on their work at one time or another that hurts. Do your best to take what’s valuable from the feedback, learn, and move on.

If you found this article helpful, you might also be interested in:

Why INFJs and INFPs Have Such a Hard Time with Criticism
Why INFJs Have Trouble Writing
Understanding the Introverted Writer
Introverts, Empathy, and the Art of Creating Character
Know Your Type and Then Sit Down to Write

And if you’re interested in learning more about INFJ and INFP writers and how we work check out my book:

The INFJ Writer

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8 Comments

  • Reply Gina 5 December, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Thank you for this piece. It is just what I need to hear as I embark on some revisions.

  • Reply Phillip McCollum 5 December, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Good advice, as usual, Lauren. I’m an INTJ, but my mistakes map to these pretty well!

    • Reply Lauren Sapala 5 December, 2013 at 9:38 am

      That’s so cool! I kind of worship the INTJ. My husband is an INTJ and one of my very best friends is an INTJ. I’ve found that it’s one of the most compatible pairings for me. I’m just so fascinated by the precise, brilliant way the INTJ sees the world.

      • Reply Marie Ann Bailey 6 December, 2013 at 4:53 am

        I agree with you, Lauren. My husband is an INTJ as well 🙂

  • Reply Catherine North 6 December, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Great post Lauren – I do all five of these things, but thanks to your encouragement I’m starting to see that sharing your work doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds if you find the right people.

    (One of my best friends is also INTJ and I suspect my husband may be too tho I’ll never persuade him to do the test 😉

  • Reply Marie Ann Bailey 6 December, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Love this post! All of these mistakes apply to me. It’s almost funny that when I do have the opportunity to talk about my writing, like when friends encourage me to talk about it, I just clam up. On the one hand, I really do want to talk about it. But on the other, I’m afraid to share, that the minute I start talking about my novel or story, my friends will get that glazed look in their eyes. I’d rather not talk about it at all than risk boring people. Story of my life 😉

  • Reply Chris Creed 6 December, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    “good enough and yours.” I love that. Great post!

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