Thirty-six, if you believe the results of a recent survey, is the age you give up on your career. You spend your 20s trying to vaguely sort your shit out enough to get a job, and before you know it you’re in your 30s and it’s too late to even think about whether it’s what you wanted to do. Life’s pendulum swings on.
From: “We Asked People in Their 30s If They Hate Their Jobs” on Vice.com
Over a year ago I wrote an article called, “Introverted and Intuitive? Why the Writing Rules Probably Don’t Work for You.” And I got an overwhelming response from readers. In fact, I’m still getting emails about it. Apparently, there are hundreds of writers out there who run into difficulties when they try to outline their novel, plot the plot, or follow any sort of predetermined method of creation for their characters.
What’s really interesting is that the majority of writers who have reached out to me to say this article struck a deep chord in them have been INFPs.
A few years ago I found out about synesthesia and yet another piece of the strange way I viewed the world started to make sense. The short explanation is that it’s a neurological phenomenon that causes the senses to get mixed up in some way. So, someone who has it might smell lemons when they hear a particular piece of music. Or see numbers or letters as each having their own color. For me personally, I had always felt like each letter of the alphabet (and numbers too) had a specific gender. I knew that it wasn’t something I had invented with my imagination. It was just the way things were for me.
For a long time in my life I did not admit I was a writer. It was something I was privately proud of, but I also felt it was unsafe to tell this to other people. Probably because I knew that immediate questions would follow. Oh really? What have you written? Can I read it?
It wasn’t that I was ashamed of what I had written, or that I was suffering from self-doubt (although there was some of that, too). It was that I knew it was common procedure for a writer to give her work to others and get their “valuable feedback” on it. It was widely understood that I should be seeking this valuable feedback wherever I could and using it to improve my writing. It had been drilled into me that I should read and listen to the most fierce criticism without flinching. That this would make me stronger. That all “real” writers did this and were better for it.
And that was how I knew something must be wrong with me.
It started off innocently enough. I met him in a bookstore. He was the clerk, and I was buying the books. I talked with him for five minutes about Moby Dick and Melville’s poetry. There was something about him…he reminded me of a philosopher from ancient Greece. And yes, he said, he was interested in philosophy. He’d studied it for many years. Would I care to continue this conversation over coffee?
I wrote down his number and left the store. And everything still seemed to be innocent enough.