So you’re an INFJ? Do you know why your writing sucks?
I decided to use MBTI as a system of trying to help new writers find their voice and style. If you don’t know what the MBTI is or you need a quick overview click for my intro article here.
I think that personality has a big influence on writing, understanding your personality will be key to understanding how to come across to others. There are many writers who have become popular based on the personality of their writing style, this is often referred to as voice. A writer’s voice can be incredibly magnetic and engaging.
Think about it like this: if you were stuck on a long bus ride with someone you’d rather them either be interesting enough to listen to the whole way or boring enough to lull you to sleep. You never want to be in the middle. Writers will die by being lost in middle of the pack.
How should you stand out?
By understanding what makes you unique, your voice.
Understanding that as a new writer will help you understand what kind of audience to attract and what kind of things to write.
I am absolutely not saying that you should base your entire writing career in a multiple choice personality test. In fact there could be incredible value in doing exactly the opposite of what you’re comfortable with. For new writers, however, it’s best to learn to walk before you run.
Please use this as a guide to suggest a direction and don’t take this as gospel.
Note: For the MBTI experts.
I am not breaking type down by cognitive functions, or even the letters. I think these things are nuts and bolts details that are for those interested, not everyone. Type descriptions should be fluid and comprehensive to better understand the whole archetype of character.
The INFJ is a person who appears as an ethereal, romantic, and dreamy character. There are many examples of this type as celebrities since their goals are usually the arts or drama in some form or another. Their otherworldly personality can give off a regal or extravagant demeanor that some people may take differently. If someone were to complement the INFJ they would say they are visionary or mystical. If they disliked the person they may call them stuck up or weird.
Of course it’s likely that they are neither of these or both, people are complex after all.
These fey creatures are probably one of the most likely to become writers. They are locked-in on collective aspects of meaning and purpose. This can make INFJs concerned with communication on a broad level, which is why this type is over-represented in pop culture. Their wish is to guide the tribe as its archetypal guru. They are very attuned to collective cultural movements and will frequently comment on large group’s emotional states. Examples of this type of thinking would be talking about society, civilization, or humanity, as one thing with a specific emotional state that will need to be guided in some way.
Their desire is to have precision in their beliefs but they often have difficulty with this aspect of their lives. They could attempt to systematize their thoughts and beliefs and reach considerable success on their own. However their intuitive and emotional nature will always result in hazy and unclear thoughts that could benefit from a hard-nosed, concrete thinker to help organize what they really want to say.
Their biggest obstacle, however, is their own inertia. They may complain about their inability to get things done or the hardships that stand in the way of what they want. They will greatly benefit from a friend or partner who can help them stop dreaming and tackle what they really want in a concrete way.
Examples of famous celebrities: Hozier, Timothy Chalamet, Kate Bush, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Lana Del Rey, Neil Gaiman, Plato, Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev), Edgar Allan Poe, Carl Jung, Eckhart Tolle, Joseph Campell, Virgina Woolf.
What kind of writer are they?
The INFJ is likely a gifted writer. They have a deep need for self expression. Writing allows for a quiet and controlled way for this introverted type to express themselves freely, while allowing them to have time to gather their thoughts and think through what they wish to say. Their writing pursuits tend toward fiction, but they can be incredibly engaging writers for non-fiction especially self-help.
Advice to the INFJ writer:
The INFJ will have many big ideas about the world, but their difficulty will be in expressing them in an accessible way. Carl Jung for example had a difficult writing style that leaves a lot of his writing inaccessible to all but the most patient readers. The best way for the INFJ writer to begin honing their writing skill is to be economical in their prose.
If your interest is in non fiction you could study the Chicago Manual of Style, which is a great resource for any writer. You could also study AP style book, which is the journalistic standard of style. These suggestions are to help bring your writing and thoughts down to earth and let them be enjoyed by all of those below.
Some fiction writers to study with a simplified economical style are Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, O. Henry, Elmore Leonard, Gillian Flynn.
The INFJ is a dreamy idealist who has a knack for thinking outside of the box. The problem is, not everyone is as apt to think as far outside the box as they are, so communication can break down and leave the INFJ alienated. The INFJ should learn to break their ideas down as clearly and concretely as possible so that others (and themselves) can understand what exactly they are trying to convey.