One of the most shame-inducing things about writing for INFJ and INFP writers is how they actually feel when they sit down to write. An INFJ or INFP writer might dream about writing when they’re not writing. They might feel resentful that work, family, kids, and the stresses of daily life all take away from the time they could be spending writing. They might even fantasize about going off to live in a little cabin in the woods, so they can spend all their time writing. But then, when they finally get that precious hour on a Sunday afternoon to sit down to write, they sit down and all they feel is…UGH.
This feeling of UGH manifests in many ways. For some writers, it’s a feeling of frozen numbness. They literally can’t get the words out. For other writers it feels like panic, even terror, and they have no idea why they’re having such an extreme reaction. And for others, the negative self-talk starts up in their brain, maybe only in whispers at first, but it’s sure to grow louder.
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.
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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.