The first book I ever wrote was ugly as hell. It was raw, disgusting, weird, and twisted. In fact, when I first started writing it I didn’t even know what it was. I thought maybe it was a memoir, because it was all about a certain period in my life, but I could also see that it was so fragmented and exaggerated in places that thinking of it as an actual linear story was quite a stretch, even for my imagination.
I worked on it every week for two years but I kept it a secret. I hid the pages I wrote in a locked desk drawer and never looked at them. I was too embarrassed, and ashamed. I knew the writing was bad, that was one thing, but I also didn’t want to look at the demons that were showing up. I didn’t want to know what those demons were trying to tell me.
If you’ve been hit by a bad beta reader you’ll know it. Emotionally, at least. You’ll feel panicked, anxious, FULL of self-doubt, and lower than low. However, your rational mind will try to talk you out of it. Writers need to be thick-skinned, it will say. All feedback is valuable in some way, it will add. But your gut will feel otherwise. Deep down, you’ll know that something is off. Something is wrong.
And then, if you don’t find another outside party to confide in who can give you that reinforcement and validation you need to trust your gut, you can quickly spiral out of control and lose all confidence in your book.
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?
If you’re an INFJ or INFP writer and you love writing but you hate marketing, Firefly Magic is the book for you. I’m giving away 100 free Kindle copies, so enter to win between now and October 2 and you just might get the best advice you ever needed on how to promote your work while keeping your INFJ/INFP value system happy and intact.
You can enter the giveaway here. And if you’ve already read Firefly Magic and it had a positive impact on your writing life, I would so appreciate it if you left a review for me on Amazon or Goodreads.
Today’s guest post is from Amanda Linehan, a fiction writer, indie author, and INFP. I absolutely love Amanda’s take on writing without an outline, and I think you will too.
I remember the first time I ditched my outline.
I was working on my third novel, Dragon, and the second one that I would self-publish, and I was about two-thirds of the way through. I had a loose outline that I had prepared prior to starting, of course, and something about it just started to bug me.