For many years I considered myself an utter failure as a writer. I had a creative writing teacher in college who basically told me that I sucked at writing and I should find something else to do with my life. And the worst part was, I really kind of believed her. Because I had done horribly in every creative writing class I ever took. I came up with ideas for stories, but when I tried to write them down I lost all inspiration. I studied writing craft books, but every time I tried to use the tools they talked about, my story completely fizzled.
I was convinced there was something wrong with me.
It seemed like I just wasn’t cut out to be a writer.
Since publishing The INFJ Writer over two years ago I’ve talked to hundreds of INFJ writers and the number one complaint I always hear is that they feel creatively blocked in some way. These INFJs have big goals, and even bigger dreams, but they can’t seem to get started.
INFJs are hit harder by writer’s block, that’s the truth of it. They don’t just feel stifled in their creative efforts, they feel like they’re trapped in despair. They know they have a book inside them waiting to come out—they can usually even see the outline of the story or the main character already—but when they sit down in front of the page nothing happens. Then the voice of the inner critic shows up and starts picking them apart. When it’s all said and done, the INFJ ends up feeling frustrated in the present, and terrified of the future. What if they never write their book and it dies a quiet death inside them?
Usually when we think about “book marketing” we think of glitzy ad campaigns or nuking everyone on social media with relentless messages to “buy my book!” This is a huge turn-off for most writers. We’ve spent months, possibly years, working on a story that is so personally meaningful to us that it’s even hard to describe it succinctly to other people without getting tangled up in words and emotion.
And now we’re supposed to push it onto total strangers using a catchy (or cheesy) hook?
Um, no thanks.
When I first started learning how to market a book I was resistant, to say the least. I have always shied away from marketing and sales, in any form, my whole life. I’m an introvert, and a Highly Sensitive Person. I’m also kind of a hippie, and definitely an INFJ personality type. While most of my friends in college were taking business courses and trying to land juicy internships, I was writing poetry and grappling with existential dread.
I thought that I would never be able to learn how to sell anything.
I have a really weird thing that happens to me whenever I receive a bit of emotionally disturbing news. Whether it’s something small (like someone tells me I said the wrong thing at the dinner table) or something big (like getting hit with rejection or betrayal) my system immediately goes into shut-down mode. I freeze like a panicked animal, my throat, chest and stomach lock up, and the rest of me feels totally numb.
This numb feeling can last a few minutes, or it can last a few days.