I was sitting in the library working on a blog post when I looked over at the shelves and happened to see The INFJ Writer. I was immediately intrigued because INFJ is my Myers-Briggs type.
That was mid-March, and it’s funny to think that I picked up this book intending to start it right away. And then all the libraries closed. So it’s been sitting on my nightstand for a few weeks while I worked my way through some eBooks that I’d need to return before this paper copy.
About the Book
Lauren Sapala, the author, is an INFJ and a writing coach. She works with other “intuitive types” on the Myers-Briggs scale, anyone with the “NF” in their personality type, but particularly INFJs.
It was tough to get into this book. I think my expectations were set pretty high on what I’d read about and how it could potentially help me with my own writing. The first few chapters came off a little arrogant. It was all about the author’s coaching service and didn’t hold too much value. But I kept reading, and each chapter got better and better. By the end of the book, I had made quite a few notes on some topics that I wanted to journal about. I started flipping through the book in reverse, and by the time I got to the initial chapters, I could see more value in those, as well.
Notes and Takeaways
- I learned that INFJs have a strong need to create, and absence from creativity can cause problems in the body and the mind. When the author describes what those problems might be, it got a little too “woo woo” for me. But I can recognize that when I don’t spend a lot of time writing or journaling, that’s when I start to overthink and get stuck in negative thought cycles.
- Each chapter ends with several journal prompts. Early on, I skipped over these prompts. But with each chapter, the prompts seemed to get more relevant. And then I started taking notes on what I was reading. I came back to the prompts once I’d finished the book, and it brought up some insightful stuff.
- I gained some insight into why I’ve always been drawn to coaching and why it’s something that I keep coming back to in my life. I took a closer look at my struggles with procrastination and common distractions.
- I loved what she said about INFJs preferring to write in a non-linear style. We do better with tackling one piece at a time. And then “stitching” all the pieces together into a final product. She calls this style the “mosaic method” and compares it to a big quilt. Mosaics are my jam.
- Learning more about INFJs through a writing lens was interesting. I like learning more about personality types, but I’ve always been cautious about putting a label on myself and using that to explain why I tend to act or think a certain way. I see books like The INFJ Writer as yet another tool I can use to understand myself better, and in this case, become a better writer through increased self-awareness.
Favorite Quotes (from the author, Lauren Sapala)
I only pulled one quote directly from this book to share (included below). But I did end up answering quite a few of the journal prompts included at the end of each chapter. I think I can sum up what I got from those journal entries in a few sentences:
- Write for myself first. Don’t think about selling my words to an audience.
- Do work that is meaningful, interesting, and benefits humanity.
- Alternate solitude with quality time with people I care about.
The quote I pulled from this book leaped off the page. Here is how the author defines a writer’s voice, and I love it…
“A writer’s voice is her essence as a human being, made tangible in the words on the page.”