Don’t Call Me A Panster: My INFJ Journey
You’d think as someone who majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology I would have figured out my personality years ago. I must confess I didn’t take a true personality quiz until a few years ago.
That’s when I learned I was an INFJ and how rare this personality type was. In fact, the place I took my test at even has a handy link where you can read about it. Of course, knowing what to do with this information vexed me. Over the years, I saw memes and other things about the INFJ personality and discovered several of my friends are INFJ, but I still didn’t comprehend HOW this would help me.
Fast forward to earlier in 2019 where I found myself feeling like a loser because I couldn’t plot out books no matter how hard. Now, keep in mind by this point in time, I had read countless books (Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need) on how to plot and taken two excellent courses (One Page Novel and Publishing Mastermind) featuring great ways to plot out your next book. So, even though the basic ideas came, I was back to not being able to figure out that whole middle thing.
Scrolling through Facebook one day I ran across a video someone shared about INFJ writers from a lady named Lauren Sapala. I found several of her talking points interesting. I ended up e-mailing Lauren and asking her which book I should get that would help me. She told me my best bet was The INFJ Writer . At almost $6.00 for an eBook, I didn’t take the purchase lightly. I read the reviews and a bunch of them were like this is a bunch of “woo woo bullshit”. Of course, after reading the book I wonder if maybe those people weren’t INFJs.
I’m a big supporter of “trusting your gut”. I rely on my intuition for a lot of things, but you know in this world I don’t go around supporting my decisions to others with that kind of reply…because then you sound like you are full of “woo woo bullshit”. Lucky for me, I don’t have to explain myself very often.
I bought the book wondering if it would truly help me or would simply be another book confirming I was the odd duck and nobody else in the world had the problems I did; that I was broken and would never fix myself.
The first couple of chapters were meh to me. I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of stuff in there that didn’t help me. Then I landed in chapter 8, which is titled “INFJ Paralysis and Perfectionism”.
Of all my clients, the INFJs are the ones who report they have the most trouble starting that first sentence.The INFJ Writer, Chapter 8, Lauren Sapala
Wait, what? How would you know that? As I continued to read the book, I felt like this woman had followed me around and watched me for years. Spying on me, taking notes, analyzing me. This wasn’t “woo woo bullshit”, this was what I deemed “wrong” with me.
The point is, by the time I reached the end of the book and used some of her exercises, I no longer felt like a fish out of water. I may not have been a plotter, but I sure as hell wasn’t doing anything wrong. Taking this new outlook on things and melding it with all my other craft learning helped ease some of my anxiety about how I write.
Are you an INFJ? Check out Lauren’s books and her blog. She also has some interesting videos on her YouTube channel.
Want to learn how to plot out your own books? Check out the two courses I linked above. Both of them are fascinating, but Publishing Mastermind is more than just plotting. One Page Novel is great if all you want to do is quick plots.