The Two Types Most Likely to Feel Like Utter Failures as Writers: INFJs and INFPs
For many years I considered myself an utter failure as a writer. I had a creative writing teacher in college who basically told me that I sucked at writing and I should find something else to do with my life. And the worst part was, I really kind of believed her. Because I had done horribly in every creative writing class I ever took. I came up with ideas for stories, but when I tried to write them down I lost all inspiration. I studied writing craft books, but every time I tried to use the tools they talked about, my story completely fizzled.
I was convinced there was something wrong with me.
It seemed like I just wasn’t cut out to be a writer.
The turning point came when I discovered that I was an INFJ and began to embrace my own intuition. I put down the writing guides and stopped listening to all the advice I found online. I started experimenting with unconventional tools — music, meditation, movement, talking directly to my characters — and everything changed. Suddenly, I wasn’t losing my inspiration halfway through the story, and I found I could work with a cast of characters until I finished an entire novel. This was huge for me. It changed my entire writing life.
I discovered that when I tried to force myself to use rational writing methods like planning, outlining, plotting, etc. I was trying to shove myself into a box that didn’t fit. My characters didn’t want me to decide their motivations for them. The story that had surfaced in my mind wasn’t interested in the acclaim I might receive for what an impressive idea it might be. Instead, my characters were real people, and to me, it really felt like they lived in some sort of alternate universe. It felt like they had picked me, specifically, because they were in psychic pain or experiencing some huge upheaval in their life, and they needed me to tell their story.
My characters and their stories began to feel like a sacred gift I had received, and my task in writing it began to feel like my sacred calling on earth.
This, of course, profoundly changed my relationship with my writing. But then the next hurdle came: who could I talk to about any of this? I sounded melodramatic at best, and crazy at worst. I didn’t know any other writers out there who called themselves intuitive writers or were using intuitive writing methods. I felt so alone and questioned if maybe I was the only one.
And then I started coaching writers.
Weirdly enough (but not weird at all, because I believe there are zero accidents) almost every new client who came to me was an INFJ or INFP writer. And every single one of them were struggling with the same problems I’d struggled with, the disastrous outlines, the failed plotting, the doubling down on reading writing guides, only to feel like an even bigger failure than before. But also, they felt the same euphoric highs I did: that beautiful “in love” feeling that happened when a new character showed up in your head, the delicious excitement of starting the work. If they could only get past the huge problems that cropped up after that, they all told me, they knew they had it in them to be a successful writer.
That’s when I started teaching all these INFJ and INFP writers about the intuitive writing methods I had discovered for myself through years of trial-and-error and unconventional experimentation.
And they worked.
Suddenly, my clients were telling me they felt excited about writing again. Their characters had come back to them, and were telling them and showing them more than ever before. Sitting down to write felt like a beautiful, sacred act, like they were doing the thing they had been born to do, and not like a forced appointment they had to keep with a taskmaster (themselves and their own to-do list) and something they dreaded.
Suddenly, everything was different. And it was because they had discovered they were an intuitive writer.
If this sounds like it speaks right to you, if you are recognizing yourself in everything I’m saying here and nodding your head, or perhaps feeling that little punch in the chest that says, “Wake up! This is for you!” then I recommend you check out the first video in my video series all about INFJs, INFPs, and intuitive writing:
And if you find the video really speaks to you, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments, concerns, anything at all. I LOVE to talk about intuitive writing and I’m open to just about any question.
The biggest takeaway, though, is that if you’re an INFJ or an INFP writer who is struggling with writing, you’re not alone, and it’s actually quite a common thing for us intuitive personality types. There IS a way to overcome your blocks and problems with writing, and it’s way easier than you think. It’s all about embracing your natural gifts. So let’s get intuitive!
Lauren Sapala is the author of The INFJ Revolution, a guide to identifying and dissolving the roadblocks that hold back INFJs, INFPs, HSPs, and empaths from finding and living their life purpose, and The INFJ Writer, a writing guide made specifically for sensitive intuitive writers.