Do You Have to Be Traditionally Published to “Make It” as a Writer?

In 2015, I was still an unpublished writer. I had been querying for years with no success. I had sent out queries on three different novels and had queried so many agents I lost count of them all. I had rewritten my first chapters, my opening scenes, my first sentences, over and over and over again. Nothing worked and I was getting nowhere.

By that point I had been querying for years, six years to be exact, and so I had created a system to give myself emotional down time and also keep from losing my damn mind. I sent out a batch of queries every six to eight weeks, received back the rejections (or gave up hope of any answer), and then gave myself “recovery time,” while I recuperated from feeling depressed, discouraged, and despairing.

I went through many cycles on the emotional rollercoaster that we call the querying process. There was the stage where I was sure that if I could just learn more about “my craft” I would get a bite. I also went through the stage where I was convinced I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Then there was the stage where I tried to shove my novels into a genre—any genre—that looked like it might hold some promise. Finally, there was my least-favorite stage—the stage where I couldn’t help but feel I just sucked, and so did my writing. Continue Reading

Why INFP Writers Struggle with So Much Shame Around Creativity

If you know anything about the INFP personality type, you know that INFPs are one of the most creative types out there. I have many INFP clients and, in my experience, they really are super creative. INFPs have these magical brains that come up with all sorts of cool stuff. As creative writers, they tend to pair striking imagery and poetic phrasing with deeply perceptive insights about human nature.

However, even though the INFP personality type has this incredible talent for creativity, they are also one of the types that suffer the most from self-doubt, and who also struggle the most with shame around the creative process itself. Almost every INFP I’ve ever worked with has expressed to me, at one time or another, that they believe they’re “doing it wrong.” They almost always feel like they’re not organized enough, they jump around too much, or they can’t stick with one thing all the way through. And almost every INFP feels that all of these things are flaws they need to work on so that they can become better writers. Continue Reading

Why INFJ Writers Are So Deeply Triggered by Criticism

A few years ago, I gave one of the first drafts of one of my novels to a friend who said she was interested in reading it and giving me feedback. I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about getting her feedback, but I figured this was something I had to do if I wanted to grow that “thick skin” that I’d heard every writer had to have. So, against my better judgment, I gave it to her.

“I didn’t like the ending,” she said when I met with her the next time. “It felt like the main character was too dependent on the people outside of her. She should have been more independent, more feisty. I like strong female characters.”

Well, I was immediately crushed. And then instantly spiraled out. This didn’t just feel like feedback to me, it felt like stinging, crushing, excruciating criticism. The ending of my story was all wrong. The main character was all wrong. She wasn’t strong enough, she wasn’t independent enough. She just wasn’t…enough. And neither was I. Continue Reading

Afraid to Start Writing Your Memoir? Here’s How to Push Past the Fear.

Even if you’ve been dreaming of writing your memoir for years, it’s very common to sit down to actually start doing it and feel immediately paralyzed and not able to move forward. This is a very specific, very strong form of writer’s block that often hits writers right when they’ve decided to finally take the plunge and begin writing their memoir. It also tends to happen to writers who have already started their memoir, and then they get into the middle of the first draft and don’t know how to keep going.

Symptoms of this kind of resistance show up as feeling paralyzed or frozen. It also shows up as feeling completely confused about how you’re ever going to pull all the pieces together, finish the book, or make it into anything worthwhile.

When this feeling of paralysis comes over you, it’s a sure sign that your system is overwhelmed. And when we go into overwhelm, we shut down and our creative energy goes into hiding. Continue Reading

5 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore That Are Telling You to Write Your Memoir

It’s very common for writers to begin writing their memoir and then tell me, “Oh wow, I wish I’d started this years ago. I can’t believe I put off writing my book for this long.” This is because, once the writer starts actually writing, they realize that they’ve been getting clear signs all along that writing their memoir was an important life task they are supposed to complete.

So, why do we ignore clear signs and still keep procrastinating on writing our memoir? Well, it’s pretty simple really. It’s fear. Every writer who has ever considered writing a memoir has felt this fear—and it’s no easy thing to conquer.

However, there are handful of BIG signs (5 in particular) that only happen when it’s truly time for a person to get serious about writing their memoir.

I outline these 5 signs in the video below:

I’m teaching a new class this June called Memoir Writing for Everyone and we’re going to be diving deep into the memoir writing process. We’ll be learning:

How to start your first draft
How to edit and structure your memoir
How to deal with fear of judgment

And more.

The class will also include Directed Writing Sessions, in which I’ll be giving memoir-specific prompts to get you going on writing some of the actual pieces of your memoir, so you’ll have something substantial to work with once the class ends.

To get all the updates on the class as I announce them, be sure to sign up for my newsletter HERE, and if you have any questions about the class, you can them to me here.

I’ll be releasing the third and final video in this series in just a couple of days. See you then!

Lauren Sapala is the author of The INFJ WriterThe INFJ Revolution, and the creator of Intuitive Writing, an online video course for INFJ and INFP writers who struggle with traditional writing methods. She also recently released Loving Meditations for Writers, a bundle of 10 meditations for only $20 that you can use for your regular writing practice. You can get a free copy of her book on creative marketing for writers by signing up for her newsletter HERE.