As a writing coach who has worked with hundreds of writers over the past decade, I’ve found that most of the writers who come to me have the same types of problems, and one of the biggest struggles they deal with is finishing anything.
This type of writer always tells me the same thing:
“I get really excited in the beginning of the project, and then the excitement dies.”
“I was off to a strong start and wrote a lot, but now I have no idea where the story is going and it feels like a chore to figure it out.”
I feel a deep sense of shame about the fact that I haven’t finished anything. This must mean I’m not a real writer, or not a very good writer.”
This type of writer also tends to feel isolated and alone in their struggle. They constantly compare themselves to other writers who seem to be thriving, creating, and most importantly, producing.
I love it when I get a new client like this, because I immediately know where to start. And once I reveal what’s really going on, the writer experiences this immense feeling of relief. They finally understand that they are NOT wrong as a writer. They are just using the wrong type of writing method for them.
It all comes down to what type of writer you are. If you are an intuitive person, then you are also an intuitive writer. And intuitive writers don’t do well with mainstream writing methods. So, if this is you, then you’ll want to know about these 3 surprising reasons that you’ve been abandoning your writing projects (and let the record show that none of them mean that you are not a good writer!):
Reason #1: You Are Trying to Plan and Control Way Too Much
Although we can also be intellectual, intuitive writers are primarily emotionally-centered people. What that means is that we don’t actually think our way out of problems, we use our intuition and emotions to feel our way into future possibilities and then we choose the best one based on what feels right.
Our problems with finishing projects start to happen when we don’t have enough confidence to trust our intuition and emotion to lead us forward into the story, and instead we try to use our thinking skills to plot the next steps or “figure out” what should happen with the characters. When we move out of intuition and emotion and over into thinking, all the creative juice in the project fizzles and it becomes an uphill battle.
Reason #2: We Are Trying to Force the Project Along Way Too Fast
This is something I see ALL THE TIME from writers and I fully blame it on our crazy culture that worships speed and productivity above all other things. Most blocked writers have very definite ideas of how long it should take them to write a novel or get a blog up and running or complete a short story. And they all underestimate that time by a long shot.
Coupled with this, is the fact that intuitive writers tend to write more slowly than others. Our writing process necessitates us going inward to the very depths of our core, and when we’re ready to emerge back out into the world with the thing we need to express, it can be like traveling up to the surface from the ocean floor. This process takes time, and lots of it. When writers try to hurry themselves along it’s almost guaranteed that the writing is going to grind to a halt.
Reason #3: Being THIS Vulnerable Sends Us into Self-Sabotage
Writing is an act of bravery. No matter what kind of writer you are, you can recognize the truth in that statement. But it’s not easy to be brave. If we’re writing memoir, it can be terrifying to share the truth of our lived experience with the world. If we’re writing fiction, our characters almost always hit a little too close to home and make us feel highly uncomfortable. Even short poems give readers a glimpse of the writer behind the lyrical lines—and that writer is usually an intuitive, Highly Sensitive introvert. Sharing any part of ourselves with the world is not easy.
Soooo…when we enter any kind of territory where we might actually finish something and we might actually put it out there for other people to read, that’s when we suddenly, oh-so-coincidentally start feeling a lack of interest in the project, or like it’s a big waste of time and we would be better off not pursuing it anymore. Of course, this also oh-so-coincidentally means that we get to remain safe and the threat of vulnerability is removed.
If you are a writer who has always blamed yourself for not being able to finish anything, or if any of these reasons hit home for you in an uncomfortable way, then the chances are very high that you are an intuitive writer, and YOU have never been the problem. Instead, the problem is that your intuitive writing self comes with a unique bundle of traits that need to be worked with in an intuitive way.
Once you understand how you work as a writer, it changes everything. And writers who have never finished anything transform into writers who not only finally finish something, but learn how to love their writing process again along the way.
Lauren Sapala is the author of The INFJ Writer and The INFJ Revolution. She is also currently offering a free copy of her book on creative marketing for INFJ and INFP writers to anyone who signs up for her newsletter. SIGN UP HERE to get your free copy of Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers.