Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential
to give something back.—Diana, Princess of Wales
If you’re an INFP writer, chances are, the answer is yes. INFPs have a natural aptitude for writing. In exploring this solitary pursuit, you can communicate your deeply held values and experiment with elegant, inventive uses of language. But you may find that formal approaches taught in writing classes don’t seem to work for you. Composing an opening paragraph may prove impossible until you’ve fleshed out the major ideas. Developing an outline may turn a pleasurable activity into an intolerable one—and your zest for the topic may wither away. INFPs write best when their imagination is unfettered.
The INFP personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials INFP stand for the following:
I: Introversion preferred to extraversion
INFPs 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
INFPs 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. INFPs tend to be intellectually restless—they want to change the world.
F: Feeling preferred to thinking
INFPs 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 rule of logic. They tend to give other people the benefit of the doubt.
P: Perception preferred to judgment
INFPs like to keep their options open. They enjoy beginning new projects and exploring opportunities as they arise. INFPs think in terms of possibilities rather than likelihoods.
Are you an INFP writer? If so, the following information may give you some insight into how temperament influences your writing style. Use these insights to help you play to your strengths and compensate for your natural blind spots.
Writing Process of the INFP
INFPs may approach a writing project in the following ways:
- Work best in a quiet environment where they won’t be interrupted. They like autonomy so they can perfect their writing according to their own high standards without having to follow someone else’s schedule.
- Prefer writing about personal topics. You may lose your creative drive if the subject isn’t meaningful to you. If so, try taking an angle that allows you to write about your feelings on the topic. If you’re an INFP technical writer, look for ways to connect with readers by anticipating and meeting their needs.
- Have a keen insight into the nature of things. Their prose often conveys startling images of mood or atmosphere rather than objects. They enjoy complexity and can patiently unravel dense material. They are able to see many sides of an argument and so may have difficulty reaching a conclusion. During the writing process, they may often pause to consider alternatives or to seek connections between seemingly disparate things.
Potential Blind Spots of the INFP
INFPs may experience the following pitfalls:
- Strive for elegance in language and may want to polish the work too soon. INFPs tend to write long, meandering first drafts, so you’ll likely need to synthesize and cut material later. Save the search for that perfect metaphor until the revision stage.
- May write in purely abstract terms. INFPs communicate their values and personal vision through their writing. They search for the meaning behind the facts, and so may consider the facts themselves to be of marginal importance. This is not true, however, for most of your readers. During revision, add concrete details. Appeal to the five senses. Include statistics. Incorporate other points of view for balance. Make sure your research backs up your conclusions.
- Tend to be sensitive to criticism. Nevertheless, consider showing your work to a trusted friend or colleague before you begin the final draft. This feedback may be especially helpful in focusing your work and ensuring that it includes enough facts to sway your audience to your position.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong approach to writing. Each person is unique, so don’t let generalities limit you. Do what works best for you.
Do you have any tips for INFP writers? Leave a comment and share your experience.
Also, for more information on this subject, check out the sources below.