Every year around NaNoWriMo time, I see writers become more focused on their style of writing. Are they plotters? Or are they pantsers? The distinction between the two seems obvious. Plotters plot. And pantsers fly by the seat of their pants. In other words, they don’t plan anything. They make it up as they go along.
However, once we begin to look more deeply at what it means to be a pantser, the issue becomes a bit more complicated. Because the truth is, “making it up as you go along” doesn’t really explain what’s happening during the creative process for pantsers.
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.
I’m on the Hearts Rise Up podcast today!
I had a good long talk with Carol Chapman about getting past my own addiction and creative paralysis to become a writing coach for INFJ and INFP writers. We also talked about the ways empaths and sensitive intuitives can begin to accept ourselves AND our unique gifts.
INFJs and INFPs don’t experience life the way other people do, and we don’t make art the way other people do either. That doesn’t mean we’re defective, it only means that it’s up to us to learn more about our intuition—our biggest strength—and begin to use it to write our book, launch our business, and rise up to be our best self.
When writers are first learning the Intuitive Writing method one of the immediate shifts that happens is the way they work with characters. Instead of characters existing to serve you, you exist to serve them. This can be hard for intuitive writers to do, initially. Most of us are so used to assuming that we “decide” what our characters do, and their motivations and choices should come from a place that makes logical sense for the story.
Well, in the Intuitive Writing method we don’t assume that we know what is best for the story, or that deciding what our characters should do is necessarily helpful. In Intuitive Writing, we let the characters take the lead and set the pace. We concentrate on building our emotional connection with them. Our creative process shifts from achievement-oriented (trying to finish our book as fast as we can) to relationship-oriented (focusing on the characters and letting go of expectations).
Over the past seven years I’ve coached and taught hundreds of INFJ and INFP writers and I can say one thing with certainty: most traditional writing methods just don’t work for us.
The sad thing is, most INFJ and INFP writers think that the problem is with them, not with the approach they’re using. So, they end up feeling horrible about themselves and their writing. I can’t tell you how many intuitive writers I’ve talked to who have told me, “I guess I’m just not cut out to be a writer,” when nothing could be further from the truth.