INFP writers need something better than a guide. They need permission. Um, let me rephrase that: We need permission. We need permission to be okay with the way we approach writing.
This is a personal list. This is a general rundown of how I've been able to create published and unpublished work regularly
A short list of writing tips I've found useful as an INFP:
- Be ready to collect ideas and things that inspire me.
- Create writing projects in a way that I can end them at any time.
- Accept the natural direction my projects take, finished or unfinished.
- Listen to my Writer's Intuition
- Be aware of how everything that I make, big or small, contributes to a larger whole. Each creation builds my body of work.
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Collect & capture inspiration every way possible.
Buy some inexpensive notebooks. Download a fast note-taking app. Collect ideas and what inspires you. That includes not only written words but sketches and pictures as well. Build a collection of inspiration notebooks. In the past, is used my journals for this. Now I'm moving towards having specific notebooks to collect inspiration.
Having a collection of ideas is great for me as an INFP because I can make good use of extroverted intuition. I cover this more in my post How I Make Use of My Random Writing Ideas as an INFP Writer.
Create stories that you can end at any time.
Tell yourself, "I can end this story at any time." Because the truth is, you can end a story whenever you want. The ending may not always be great, but it's doable. As counterproductive as it may sound, this mindset is the main reason why I finish most of what I start.
When I created my webcomic, Mascara, I designed the story so I could stick an ending on it whenever I was ready. As a result, I ended up drawing 500 pages because that's how much I was willing to do. And when I had enough, I wrapped it up.
So start your story and accept what it may become. You may write one sentence and feel done with it. Or you may write hundreds of pages. Just don't suffer through a story. Maybe it was meant to be a short story instead of a novel. Or a piece of flash fiction instead of a short story.
Don't worry about page count or word count. Write the ending whenever you want. For more about accepting your story as it comes, read my post Using Writer's Intuition to Write Fiction.
My goal is to plan stories so that they are episodic, yet connected. Most TV shows and Japanese mangas are good examples of this kind of story. Episodes are pressure-free. They give me the freedom to end stories whenever I want.
Respect your writer's intuition.
In a world of writing as a business, a growing way to approach writing is to have a factory mindset. Plug characters, a setting, and some internal motivations into a formula and then out comes a book. I've tried these formulas with little success. They can be helpful when troubleshooting plot problems. But using these formulas from the ground up lead to a soulless story.
As an INFP, I use my intuition paired with my own emotional experience to write. Intuition doesn't work like a factory. It's like a spinning compass.
So respect your intuition. If you're working on a story and something doesn't feel right, ask yourself, "What do I dislike about this story?" Use your introverted feeling. "What is valuable to me when it comes to this story? What is not?" Then keep what is valuable and remove the rest.
I recently went through this kind of situation. The story I was working on started feeling icky to me, and I had to stop. I realized that I didn't like the setting or the characters, and I decided to change all that I didn't like.
Also if a piece of writing advice is a bad fit, let it go. Don't try to stick to it because it's what works for some other crazy successful writer.
Accept all your work, finished and unfinished.
Sadly, people have a negative view of unfinished work. There are many stories I have finished, and there are many I've abandoned. But none of those abandoned stories were pointless. First, they taught me what kinds of stories don't work for me. Also, those abandoned stories serve as jumping-off points for better work.
Most of my abandoned stories are evolving stories, which I will explain next.
But, don't beat yourself up over unfinished work, even if you rarely finish anything. Unfinished work is evidence of you trying to learn and improve. Be patient. Try out new stories and discard them if they're not working.
If you stop working on a story, at least take the time to ask, "What did I learn from it?" And if you feel like having a little fun, try figuring out a way to slap an ending on it.
Don't fear the evolving story.
The first time I came across this idea was in A Writer's Space by Eric Maisel. He calls it "the morphing story." Once he described it, I could relate immediately.
Because INFPs think non-linearly, we are more likely to experience the evolving story. The first INFP writer that comes to mind is J.R.R. Tolkien. His stories were pieced together across many editions due to the evolution of his work. I've been dealing with the horrors of a morphing story over the past 4 years.
Maisel's advice when it comes to dealing with these kinds of stories is to hold on tight and roll with the punches. The current story I'm grappling with has gone through many changes. It went from being an abandoned comic to an abandoned series of novels, to an abandoned comic script, to the abandoned start of another novel.
The turning point came earlier this year when I wrote a short story related to the world of this story. At that moment, it all clicked together. Now I'm creating an illustrated novel based on that story and we'll see what happens.
But how do I know that this evolving story isn't one of those stories where I should let it go? Because I'm still interested in it.
Lack of interest marks unfinished stories. With evolving stories, there is no lack of interest. It's that the vision keeps changing.
Give yourself a lifetime- INFPs tend to build huge collections of creative work.
At 16personalites.com famous INFPs include J.R.R. Tolkien, William Shakespeare, Bjork, Alicia Keys, Julia Roberts, and Johnny Depp. I also would like to add Audrey Hepburn to that list. And guess what? All these people have crafted huge bodies of work that span decades! I find this motivating because I'm still young.
Although most of my work is unpublished, I have a large collection of work over my life. I have novellas, novels, comics, short stories, poetry, and artwork.
Take a moment and bring together all your stories, finished and unfinished. Read and enjoy them. Appreciate the value of what you have already created and the lessons learned. With every thing you make, you are building your life's body of work.
That's all I have for now. If you have any writing concepts that you keep as a part of your process, feel free to share in the comments!