The INFP Writer

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So you’re an INFP? Do you know why your writing sucks?

Introduction:

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 be interesting enough to listen to or boring enough to lull you to sleep. You never want to be in the middle. Writers will die by being lost in the pack. How should you stand out? By understanding what makes you unique, what is your flavor or style. Understanding this 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 INFP:

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INFPs are first and foremost guided by their values, their system of ethics. The INFP’s world is looked at through the lens of their sense of right and wrong. They may be entirely unable to violate this moral sense, or if they do it is extremely unpleasant and distressing since it goes against their most fundamental nature. How one should treat others, people or animals or beyond, is what INFPs are most concerned with. Their relationship to others and how they feel in relation to others are what you’ll hear the INFP talk about often.

As opposed to the INFJ, INFPs are not as concerned with collective meanings and broad cultural movements. Instead INFPs care to learn more about individuals and what sets them apart from the crowd. They may define themselves by their unique individual traits as well.

An ideal conversation for them would be sharing a multitude of diverse stories and experiences, all the while sharing what it all meant to them.

Even though they are introverted, they love to connect with others. Often you will see INFPs interacting with others and learning details of others lives no matter what career field they choose. This makes them ideal psychologists. They have a wonderful intuition for finding the various ways in which they can find a connection with others.

The INFP loves to learn new things, and will have a surprising knack for research despite their scattered appearance. In this pursuit they may be overwhelmed by the task of finding the right information to utilize, and what they want from the information. Additionally, INFPs could have many different goals in their life, sometimes all at once.

For example, an INFP wants to create an herb garden in her backyard. She will research the various methods of gardening, the types of plants one should plant, the fertilizer to use, etc. The problem she’ll run into is that there is an ocean of contradictory and conflicting information out there and the INFP needs to know which source to trust to get her garden started.

To remedy this, they would do well to find a steady and discerning friend who is good at organizing tasks and deciding on which information seems the most justified to help them in their endeavors.

Examples of famous celebrities:

J.R.R Tolkein, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Florence Welch, Robert Pattinson, Natalie Portman, J. K. Rowling, Jane Austen, Carl Rogers, Hayao Miyazaki, A. A. Milne.

What kind of writer are they?

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One of the characteristics that I have seen the most with INFP writers is their wonderful ability to create a vast roster of memorable characters. J.K Rowling could create places and characters that would stick in the imaginations of everyone. Wild and whimsical names such as Dumbledore and Hogwarts, allowed her readers to immediately know that they were being taken away to a magical world. Similarly, Hayao Miyazaki, a titan of japanese animation, created characters and settings that defined the childhood and adolescence of those in and outside of Japan. Great INFP writers have the ability to center on the human element of the story, no matter how fantastical.

Advice to the INFP writer:

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A forewarning to the INFP writer: never bite off more than you can chew. INFPs love to start projects and go down new paths of understanding, what they aren’t as keen to do is knowing the proper steps it takes to actually finish something. George R.R. Martin (ENFP) has a similar issue with his book series A Song of Ice and Fire, known generally as “Game of Thrones”. His fans are begging him to finish the series, and yet he continues to become more and more preoccupied with other endeavors.

Before beginning a task ask yourself (and be honest) can I finish this? If so, how? If these cannot be answered, you should think of doing that thing later and work on what you have.

INFPs will benefit from those who can organize their tasks efficiently, so that the INFP can accomplish as much as they can.

Takeaway:

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INFPs are caring empathetic humanists, who love to connect with others. Because of this INFP writers have a heavy novelistic bent. The drawback is that they tend to bite off more than they can chew. They need a friend who can help them organize and prioritize tasks so that they know what they need to do and what they need to finish, before they start anything else.

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What can I say about myself? I’m like everyone else, desperately trying their hardest not to be like everyone else.