Perfectionism is one of the major issues INFJ writers deal with on a daily basis. Perfectionism often blocks writers from finishing projects because they spend countless hours trying to make things perfect and never actually move ahead. It also blocks writers from ever starting anything because the moment they write that first sentence and see how flawed it is, they feel overwhelmed and lose all hope that they can continue.
Perfectionism is especially frequent in INFJ writers, and it doesn’t just extend to their writing life. Most INFJ personality types experience the crippling effects of perfectionism in their day-to-day lives, whether that’s in their jobs, their relationships, or with other personal issues. This is also why many INFJ personality types tend to gravitate toward personal growth and improvement. We are always trying to make ourselves better, because we can very clearly see where exactly we are lacking.
Why is perfectionism so strong and all-consuming for INFJ personality types, and INFJ writers in particular?
Since publishing The INFJ Writer over two years ago I’ve talked to hundreds of INFJ writers and the number one complaint I always hear is that they feel creatively blocked in some way. These INFJs have big goals, and even bigger dreams, but they can’t seem to get started.
INFJs are hit harder by writer’s block, that’s the truth of it. They don’t just feel stifled in their creative efforts, they feel like they’re trapped in despair. They know they have a book inside them waiting to come out—they can usually even see the outline of the story or the main character already—but when they sit down in front of the page nothing happens. Then the voice of the inner critic shows up and starts picking them apart. When it’s all said and done, the INFJ ends up feeling frustrated in the present, and terrified of the future. What if they never write their book and it dies a quiet death inside them?
It started off innocently enough. I met him in a bookstore. He was the clerk, and I was buying the books. I talked with him for five minutes about Moby Dick and Melville’s poetry. There was something about him…he reminded me of a philosopher from ancient Greece. And yes, he said, he was interested in philosophy. He’d studied it for many years. Would I care to continue this conversation over coffee?
I wrote down his number and left the store. And everything still seemed to be innocent enough.