Writing is my first love. My best friend. We have a long history together.
It wasn’t a surprise when I learned about my MBTI, a year and a half ago… that writing comes so naturally to INFJs. It is as a matter of fact, our refuge, our safe haven and especially our sweet sanctuary.
I remember the days whenever I go to silent rage, I like to lock my room. Be on my own and no soul should dare talk to me. I know that my emotions are so explosive. So I want to deal with it alone and have a heart talk.
I find myself looking for a pen and paper. Scribbling whatever is on my mind, my heart and what is beating up my soul. As a teen, of course they might be just silly things. But the pain felt real to me. The torment was so strong that I have to express and look for ways to channel it all out.
It didn’t occur to me that writing has always been my best friend. I thought maybe everyone is doing it. It is very therapeutic. It is strangely beautiful how it sucks in the negative energy, the inner turmoil and the mind has become clearer, the heart is lighter and the soul can feel the relief.
I am sure anyone who has developed this love of writing can relate to me. It wasn’t only our form of escape. But it was more than that. It was our way of self-healing. When we are done, we are ready to face the world (maybe the people in it, to love more the people we love (but sometimes hate).
I still keep my journals with me. Every page there is something my younger silly self wanted to tell me. She reminds me of so many things. We might be more realistic as adults. We like being so hard on ourselves. But know that once when you were a kid, you only wanted a candy and when you have it- you were the happiest.
When I started college, it was crazy busy. I didn’t have time to write leisurely. I started having these headaches, mild migraines or light-headedness. I have no way of knowing if its normal. I just ignore it and as a Filipina, I like applying menthol to ease it. It does its job pretty well.
Yesterday, it made sense… when I read a book by Lauren Sapala about INFJ and writing. It says that my creative flow was blocked. I was mostly stressed at that time too. Writing was my outlet of this creative energy. Long story short, that college course I took was a big joke. I knew it wasn’t for me even in my second year. But as someone who already started it. I wanted to finish it then get lost later (which I did).
Now that I have been writing again by having this blog. I don’t get much headaches anymore. Expressing our thoughts just simply do wonders. But its not easy to get back to writing. You would think that you will only have to bounce back… it’s not.
As a lover of stories and a story-teller myself. I like to share what I have learned from the book, especially to INFJs who are having difficulty writing again or let’s say the dreaded “writer’s block”.
I know we INFJs are serial perfectionists. We are the big doubters or self-critics. We love to uplift the spirits of everyone but in retrospect we do love to sabotage ourselves. So when we decided we want to get re-acquainted to our first love, stop procrastinating, stop preparing and stop thinking about it. Well, maybe you can but know when to stop.
You cannot prepare forever. You will never be ready. You can always find excuses. Sometimes we have to close our one eye, maybe squint the other if that suits you and then take a leap of faith. Like they said… “just do it” so with writing- just write.
Write then Edit
It’s not a rocket science of course. Writing and editing are different tools but we do like mixing the two. The problem happens because it’s like a tag of war between the two different sides of our brain. It is easy to lose your focus and get frustrated in the process which should only be purely creative. What I meant by this… writing is a creative process (uses right brain hemisphere) and editing is a logical process (uses the left brain hemisphere.)
So attack the paper (or laptop) creatively first. Be a writer and not the editor. Do not be critical or find that perfect word. You are making an art. You are not trying to solve a problem. Save that later when you are done with your first draft. You will have a plenty of time with it. Just get the first draft be a draft first.
Creative Vision vs Creative Reality
It is absolutely frustrating if the idea or the image on our mind when put in paper becomes a whole different thing. Do not panic. It is normal for the lost sheep of writing. We will find our way. Understand that it will not happen overnight.
We haven’t been exercising our “writing muscle” for so long. It had weakened, yes. But it doesn’t mean it’s the end of our writing dream. Our Ni or Intuitive Vision gives us a myriad information. An “idea” it gives is like a diamond with many facets. We are not totally lost. It only means we wrote just one facet instead of it as a whole “idea”.
The solution is practice. Work it out. Let the “writing muscle” be fit and healthy again.
Self-doubt and Sensitivity to Criticism
We can never change who we are. But we can do something about it. The biggest enemies of creativity is not believing on yourself or that you can. It practically makes you not even try. Self-doubt is so crippling that it just distorts your reality. The reality that you are enough. You are wonderful, gifted and can do amazing things.
INFJs are highly sensitive people. I am very much aware of this. I don’t show my work to just anyone. I know how only one negative remark- it will break me into million pieces. I lost inspiration or motivation or that enthusiastic energy. The obsession that I once have, pouring my heart and soul (time and devotion) into something I believe I can do amazingly. It only takes one prick of a dagger (or a needle but poisoned) and I’m done.
But that is so sad for us INFJs if we give up that easily. Why not press on and give a good fight. Maybe lock yourself inside a room, have a soul-wrenching, hearty good cry then give it a try again. Why do we fear failure so much? What have you got to lose? What if we wasted our time and make mistakes? It still makes us better because we have learned something.
So take this quote to heart from our very own self-confessed INFJ. The amazing J.K Rowling, author of the brilliant Harry Potter Series.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO FAIL
So if your heart is meant for writing. If your soul is seeking for its sanctuary. If your mind can’t stop dreaming of amazing story-lines. JUST WRITE, my friend. I am with you. You are not alone with this journey. I am not only counting on you. I believe in you. I just know you can do it. You are natural. The world needs more storytellers and they need you.