Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual,
you have an obligation to be one.—Eleanor Roosevelt
If you’re an INFJ, the writing strategies you learned in school likely worked well for you. INFJs take to writing naturally. They enjoy working alone, reflecting on ideas, and expressing their vision. But the thought of using an outline may leave you feeling straitjacketed. INFJ writers organize their ideas internally, according to their own creative process. To feel comfortable, they need freedom to explore their insights and work through complex problems.
The INFJ personality type is one of 16 identified by Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs. Myers and Briggs are the original authors of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials INFJ stand for the following:
I: Introversion preferred to extraversion
INFJs get their energy from the internal world of thoughts and ideas. They enjoy interacting with small groups of people but find large groups draining. They generally reflect before acting.
N: iNtuition preferred to sensation
INFJs are abstract thinkers, placing more trust in flashes of insight than in experience. They’re less interested in sensory data than in the patterns perceived by the unconscious mind. INFJs tend to be intellectually restless—they want to change the world.
F: Feeling preferred to thinking
INFJs prefer to use their rational feeling function when making decisions. They place more emphasis on the effect that actions have on people than they do on adhering to the impersonal rule of logic. They tend to give other people the benefit of the doubt.
J: Judgment preferred to perception
INFJs are drawn to closure. They feel satisfied after finishing a project or reaching a decision. They think in terms of likelihoods rather than possibilities.
Are you an INFJ writer? If so, the following information may give you some insight into how your personality affects your writing style. Use these insights to help you play to your strengths and compensate for your natural blind spots.
Writing Process of the INFJ
INFJs work best in a quiet environment where they won’t be interrupted. They reflect on their topic before they begin writing, mentally structuring the material and looking for patterns. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into starting a project before you’re ready. INFJs are generally good at estimating how long this preparation stage will take. When they finally sit down to write, their ideas tend to be well-developed and organized. Their language may seem formal at first. If that’s the case for you, don’t fight it—you can soften this tendency during revision.
INFJs prefer writing about personal topics. You may encounter difficulty if the topic isn’t meaningful to you. If so, try different angles until you find one that engages you. If you’re an INFJ technical writer, for example, you can take pride in knowing that when you write clear instructions, you help your customers perform their tasks quickly and effectively. This sense of touching people’s lives is important to INFJ writers.
INFJs dislike writing according to a predetermined structure. They want control over their own creative process. Original and imaginative, INFJs are drawn to symbols. When revising a draft, search for a central, unifying theme, and articulate it for your reader. At the same time, avoid trying too hard to be unique. Instead, aim for authenticity.
Potential Blind Spots of the INFJ
INFJs strive for eloquence. Avoid wasting time polishing an early draft or searching too long for the exact word. Instead, get your ideas down. Don’t be afraid to use clichés—wait until the revision stage to fix problems. There’s no point in perfecting something that may get cut later.
INFJs enjoy to figurative language, and they like to infuse their work with a sense of their personal vision. As a result, however, their writing may be too abstract for their readers. During revision, add concrete details. In creative writing, appeal to the five senses. In freelance writing, include specifics like percentages and dollar amounts to persuade the audience. In technical writing, find out whether the customer needs to use a flat-head or a cross-head screwdriver, and what the recommended torque is. These may be boring details to you, but they’re essential for your reader.
INFJs communicate passionately about their beliefs. They tend to start writing before they finish their research, wanting to commit their insights to paper. Be sure to gather enough data to support your position, and include other points of view for balance. This is one arena where it may be healthy to indulge your perfectionist tendencies. Get the facts right to maintain credibility.
INFJs tend to be easily hurt by criticism, especially when it comes to their writing. Because they generally keep their writing private until they think it’s finished, they may not have a good sense of how it sounds to others. Consider showing your work to a trusted friend or colleague for advice before you begin the final draft. This will help you better connect with your audience, which is important to INFJs.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong approach to writing. Each person is unique, so don’t let generalities hold you back. Do what works best for you.
Do you have any tips for INFJ writers? Leave a comment and share your experience.
Also, for more information on this subject, check out the sources below.
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