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Mixing writing with editing is an easy mistake for newbie writers to make, because many mainstream writing methods actually do encourage writers to edit as they write. So, a lot of writers who haven’t yet found their own unique rhythm as an artist follow this advice. And it does work for some. I personally know writers who can’t write any other way. …


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Although INFJ and INFP writers are both intuitive, and also emotionally sensitive and highly creative, they tend to approach the creative process of writing differently. Both types experience high sensitivity to any sort of criticism — whether it’s constructive or not — and both also often write slowly. Both INFJ and INFP writers also do the best if they allow themselves to use their intuition to feel their way through the story, instead of their thinking skills to rationally decide on how things should be done.

But it’s there that the similarities end. Because even though INFJ and INFP writers both experience the most healing and strength in their writing process when they give themselves permission to use their intuition to channel their creativity, there are core differences between the two types and their separate writing processes that can’t be ignored. …


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Creativity is a concept that seems to be discussed endlessly these days. There are websites and articles and books and all sorts of exercises on “how to be more creative,” “how to reconnect with your creativity,” and “why creativity is so important.” A lot of these resources offer helpful tips, but many also miss the mark entirely.

The thing about being highly creative is that it’s not all about thinking. This is hard for us to grasp, because as a society, we’re all programmed with the belief that pretty much everything comes down to how we can think harder, think smarter, or think faster. So, when you pick up a popular book on creativity or your manager at work tells you she wants you to be more creative, chances are that you’re being pushed to “think outside the box,” or, “think bigger,” or, in the words of Apple, “think different.” …


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One of the most distinctive identifying characteristics of transgressive fiction has to do with how it treats descriptions of the human body, specifically the processes and functions that are not often discussed in polite society. Sometimes this treatment is exaggerated and hilarious, as is the case with much of Chuck Palahniuk’s work, and sometimes it’s chillingly precise and realistic, as with Bret Easton Ellis. Either way, it’s almost always just plain gross. The willingness of the author to test the reader’s limits by being what I would call “exquisitely disgusting” is how you can tell that the writer is purposefully exploring the territory of the transgressive. …


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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. …


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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. …


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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. …


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I talk to many writers on a weekly basis who are beyond frustrated with their writing lives. They feel discouraged, panicked, depressed, and full of self-doubt. Either they’ve been working on a book forever, with no finish line in sight, or they have a great idea for a book, but they can’t quite make themselves begin. Or, they’re making progress, but the progress feels so slow and torturous, that it almost feels like no progress at all.

When I talk to these writers they almost always think they know what their problem is. “I need more time to write,” is one I hear a lot. Or they tell me they need to get on a schedule, they need accountability, they need to just sit their butt in the chair and do it. They almost always blame themselves and beat themselves up for being weak in some way, or not working hard enough. …


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I got an email from a writer the other day who had questions about writing rituals. I’ve talked to a good many writers who have these same questions, and of course, I’ve also seen many of the articles out there on the writing routines and habits of famous writers. We writers seem to have a fascination with how other writers work. We want to know what their desk looks like and if it includes a view, what time they start working in the morning or afternoon, and if they do anything “special” to make the words flow.

This fascination we have with the work process (not the creative process, that’s something different, but the actual nuts-and-bolts procedure of another writer sitting down to work), this has always intrigued me. Why do we place such importance on the rituals other writers have in place around their work process? Why are we so hungry for these details? …


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Whenever I talk to a new client who’s come to me because they’re suffering the pain of blocked creativity, I start by drilling down into the values that motivate their creative life. In other words, the reason they want to be creative or have more creativity in their lives. Through this exercise with my clients, I’ve found that most of the time this remains a general, vague sort of idea to people who feel called to be writers or artists. …

About

Lauren Sapala

Writer. Writing Coach. Author of The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type. www.laurensapala.com

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