Imposter Syndrome, Perfectionism, and INFJ/INFP Writers

It’s shocking how many INFJ and INFP writers report the exact same problems with writing. Every time I take on a new client, I can predict with almost 100% accuracy what they’re going to tell me they’re struggling with, and how much pain they’re going through because of it. These are the top 3 statements I hear from INFJ and INFP writers:

I’m terrified to start writing.

I’m overwhelmed with ideas and unfinished projects.

I feel like an imposter, and like my writing will never be good enough.

The writers who make these statements are intelligent, self-aware people, and they know what the problem is: procrastination and perfectionism. They know that they have a habit of putting off starting the book they’ve been dreaming about for so long. They are fully aware that they have something of value to offer to the world. But this knowledge and awareness doesn’t get them anywhere. They still feel like an imposter, like they couldn’t possibly be a “real writer.” The fear keeps them frozen and undermines any forward momentum.

At this point, most INFJ and INFP writers usually turn to the internet for help. They search for articles on overcoming procrastination and perfectionism, and they usually find a lot of different “tips and tricks” on time management, strengthening your willpower, thinking positive, and setting goals. But none of this works either. In fact, after the initial hope that things might finally change wears off, the writer tends to feel worse about everything. Because now they feel like they’re not only a failure as a writer, but they apparently suck at all these other things too. The inner critic kicks in even harder, yelling at them that they’re lazy, weak, foolish, and a fraud. The inner critic smugly assures them that they will NEVER be a writer.

What the INFJ or INFP writer doesn’t know though, is that their problem has nothing to do with time management or lack of willpower. It’s not about coming up with a logical strategy or a rewards system or implementing greater discipline. The reason procrastination and perfectionism are so paralyzing and, at times, all-consuming for the INFJ or INFP writer is because they are deeply-rooted emotional issues embedded in the psyche. They are inextricably tied in with the ongoing experience of the INFJ or INFP person who feels alone, misunderstood, isolated, ignored, and forgotten.

Because the procrastination/perfectionism issue is so deeply embedded, the cause of it is an emotional blind spot. We cannot see it within ourselves, or by ourselves, until someone else points it out. This is why it’s essential for INFJ and INFP writers to get outside help to deal with procrastination and perfectionism. The support of a teacher, therapist, and/or community is absolutely invaluable.

I’m teaching a 4-week live class this August called YOU Are a Writer: Getting Past the Fear and Finally Moving Forward, and we’re going to be going deep into these specific issues for INFJ and INFP writers. I’ve created a 3-part video series to show a little bit of what I’ll be teaching in the class. The first video is called, “Imposter Syndrome, Perfectionism, and INFJ/INFP Writers,” and you can find it here:

I’ll be releasing the second video in the series, all about how the inner critic controls and sabotages the creative process of the INFJ and INFP writer, in just a couple of days. If this speaks to you, I recommend you sign up for my newsletter HERE to ensure you get the next video in the series and updates on the class. And if you have any questions about the class itself, please feel free to contact me HERE.

I’m really excited to teach this class. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, and we’re going to actually begin the process of healing for so many people. If this is resonating with you, I do hope you join us!

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.

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