Perfectionism and procrastination are two of the most common blocks I see in intuitive writers, and of course this isn’t surprising as they’re really two sides of the same coin. The basic difference is that perfectionism happens during the creative project, while procrastination happens before the creative project. No matter when they happen in the process though, they are equally damaging and can set a writer back years, even decades, in their creative development.
There’s a ton of information out there on dealing with both perfectionism and procrastination, ranging from loving self-affirmations to bootcamp instructions to just do it already. But I’ve never seen anything that addresses why this is such a problem for intuitive people, and intuitive writers, specifically. Everything I’ve read on the topic talks about how both perfectionism and procrastination stem from a fear of failure, or a fear of success. And while I do agree with this in general, I think the issue runs much deeper for intuitive people.
Almost every INFJ or INFP writer I’ve ever worked with gets stuck at some point. Their story isn’t flowing the way they think it should, or, their story has “gone dark” and they can’t see the next piece so they have no idea what happens next. This is almost always when the INFJ or INFP writer in question freaks out and tries to push harder on the story—meaning, they try to think their way out of the problem. They try to figure it out mentally. But this never works, and it only makes things worse in the long run.
I actually did a coaching session with a client just this past week who is an INFP writer. When I mentioned that he’d been writing a lot lately and his output seemed to be strong and steady, it made him nervous. He almost didn’t even want to talk about it for fear of “jinxing” it, he said. He’d had periods like this before, and then his inspiration had ebbed and he’d panicked, thinking that his connection with the story was lost forever and he would be doomed to going years without writing again, which was something traumatic he had experienced in the past.
Through my work I come into contact with hundreds of highly intuitive, highly creative people who want to work for themselves as writers, coaches, and/or teachers. They are rock solid on the fact that they want to help people, and they know they have excellent skills as counselors and listeners. They can feel that they have so much to express inside that wants to come out.
But then they get stuck on the “business” part of it all.
The thought of coming up with a business plan or a business model deflates all that juicy creative energy, fast. And that’s where almost ALL of these people get stuck, sometimes forever.
Back when I started coaching in 2013, I had no experience. And when I say “no experience,” I mean ZERO. I didn’t go through any training or certification programs and I didn’t practice doing calls with friends. I just put up a coaching page on my website and started getting on the phone with strangers.
It was a bit nerve-wracking to say the least, but it was also the best course of action for me. Why? Well, before I actually started coaching, I had wanted to coach for a long time. I loved writing and I wanted to work with writers. However, I felt like I was in no position to coach other people because I had not yet published anything of my own. In my mind, I was still an “aspiring writer,” and if I was still aspiring, then how could I possibly offer anyone else guidance that would actually be of any value?
With the Covid crisis ongoing all around the world, more people than ever before are thinking about leaving their old jobs to pursue a creative path in online business that’s actually fulfilling to them. INFJs and INFPs naturally gravitate toward writing, coaching, blogging, and creating other forms of content that can help people grow and evolve. But one of the biggest roadblocks they run into is this idea of finding their creative niche.