I get emails from INFJ writers and INFP writers all the time asking for recommendations for helpful books, supportive communities, and inspirational sources to help them along on their creative journey. I thought it might be a good idea to put all of my recommendations in one place and in one easy-to-peruse list so all you INF creatives out there can bookmark it and come back to it whenever you need it.
So, without further ado, here is my “best of” list for anyone of the INFJ or INFP personality type who’s looking for healing and/or creative help.
One of the most painful struggles that writers with toxic procrastination and crippling perfectionism describe to me is the overwhelming anxiety they feel every time they sit down to write, or when they even think about writing. Much of the time they also feel severe anxiety when they think about all the time they’re spending NOT writing. This anxiety manifests as a vague nervous dread, but it can also show up as a specific sinking in the stomach or a panicky feeling in the chest and throat, like you might start crying at any moment.
Writers who struggle with these issues feel this way when they’re not writing, but they also feel this way—and sometimes even more so—when they are writing. It feels like an absolute no-win situation, because the thing that you want to do so badly and you feel so passionate about, seems to cause you even more pain whenever you actually try to do it.
Most writers who suffer from toxic procrastination and crippling perfectionism never discover the reason behind all of this. We just assume we’re failed writers and there is no solution. But there is, in fact, a very good reason for why we feel the way we do:
Comparison syndrome is an issue that hits writers harder than most, and it sneaks up on you when you’re least expecting it. It’s that feeling of discovering something about another author that instantly makes you envious, while at the same time sending you into a shame spiral.
Maybe the other author is younger than you, and has had more success. Maybe they just published their fifth book in a series, while you’re still struggling to get even halfway through the first draft of your first novel. It might be as simple as seeing how many followers they have on social media, while you don’t yet have a working website. Whatever kind of success they’re having, you see it, and it makes you feel awful. It makes you feel small, and insignificant, and kind of stupid.
That’s comparison syndrome, and if you are a writer who suffers from toxic procrastination and/or crippling perfectionism, then you most likely feel it on a regular basis.
I frequently hear from writers who are trying out some new system of organization. Sometimes it’s a simple bullet journal or an old-fashioned planner, and sometimes it’s a much more complicated affair, like learning organizational guru David Allen’s system for productivity. Whatever it is, I always cringe when the writer who is struggling tells me this. Because I know they’re not on the path to recovery. In fact, they’ve made the problem even worse.
Don’t get me wrong, planners and systems can work—for people with normal levels of procrastination and perfectionism. But the struggling writers who work with me don’t have normal levels of either. They have toxic procrastination, and crippling perfectionism, and they’ve usually been struggling with both for years.