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The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World's Rarest Type

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  113 reviews
After years of coaching writers who struggled with procrastination issues, high sensitivity to criticism, and crippling self doubt, Lauren Sapala realized that almost every one of her clients was an INFJ or INFP. Using the insights gleaned from these clients, as well as her own personal story, Sapala shows us how the experience of the intuitive writer can be radically diff ...more
Kindle Edition, 157 pages
Published May 9th 2016 by Lauren Sapala
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Veronika Iris I don't think so, no. But Herman Hesse is an INFJ writer. Agatha Christie as well. (According to book riot also Charlotte Bronte and J.K. Rowling, but…moreI don't think so, no. But Herman Hesse is an INFJ writer. Agatha Christie as well. (According to book riot also Charlotte Bronte and J.K. Rowling, but personally I think they are INFPs). Dostojevsky and Tolstoi get typed as INFJs. Also Dante and Mary Wollstonecraft. (less)
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Beth
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help, writing
If you know you are an INFJ and you write or want to write, you NEED this book. If you are an INFP, you shouldn't be dissuaded by the title: this book is about you too. If you are any of the other NF types, there's plenty here for you to glean from.

I'm an INFP and when I read the chapter on what ails my writing life, I wept because she described things I have been incapable of describing. (Also, it should be noted, I'm an INFP, so weeping when I gain some new understanding about myself is not t
...more
Yvonne Marjot
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Last Monday I spent the day with a fellow writer – we walked on the beach, ate ice-creams, and talked writing for hours. It was a much needed break from worrying about how little writing I’m actually doing these days. That evening a parcel arrived – a paperback copy of Lauren Sapala’s book, which is full of useful exercises and helpful advice. I learned that my messy, bitsy, disorganised method of writing (which is neither pantsing nor planning, but more like patchwork) has a name. It’s called t ...more
Jay Z
Sep 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: on-writing
Like everyone else who moans about wanting to write but won't ever do it, I'm always reading books about writing. Because it’s so much easier to read about it than do it. It even feels slightly productive. And why do the hard work of writing when you can flop around pretending it’s done and daydream about the payoffs instead?! So anyway, I started reading this book. Ten minutes into it, I thought, "oh no, she's from the Bay Area." That never goes well for me.

Wanting to write is basically like w
...more
Jacob Nordby
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A book of alchemy!

This book has become a staple in my writing courses and private food for my own writer's soul. Yes, she's talking directly to those of us who write, but her clarity of vision about the treasure and struggles of INF_ nature creates a feeling of looking in a friendly mirror that is sure to help non writers, too.

There's a lot to like about this practical book, but I especially appreciate how Ms. Sapala reveals the INF_ shadow aspects and gives instruction about accessing the "supe
...more
Anstice Brown
I’ve always had an interest in psychology and especially in the personality profiles outlined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). As a child and teenager I had always felt quite different and isolated, but since discovering I was an INFJ back in high school, something ‘clicked’ for me and a lot of my thoughts, habits and preferences started to make sense. I began to connect with my fellow INFJs and other introverts online and finally discovered my ‘tribe’, which allowed me to gain so much ...more
Rosamund
I'm always a bit sceptical of books about writing. They tend to have mixed reviews and I'm often unsure whether the advice in there is something I could have figured out for myself and I would have wasted money and time I could have spent, well, writing. But this was less than £3 for Kindle so I gave it a go.

It turns out that this is the best resource on writing I have read - and what's more, due to its personality-based focus, it's also a pretty decent life manual. Although the title specifical
...more
Lynne Fisher
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Perfect advice for the INFJ writer, covering the particular strengths and perceived 'weaknesses' which we have to grapple with as writers of this Jungian type. Lauren helped me to accept how I approach my own writing and understand how I need to tweak my approach to be happily productive instead of plaguing myself with doubts and self-criticism. This book can give validation and support to any writer and artist, as I see it, and I go back and dip into it regularly for timely reminders.
Bara
Jun 06, 2019 added it
Shelves: english-original
I started reading this book when I thought that I was an INFJ, I finished this book when I came to the conclusion that maybe I'm more of an INTJ. (Learning about one's functions happens. *shrugs*)
But because I still remain an HSP (highly sensitive person) I believe this book wasn't a waste of time.
(Except for chapter 10 but maybe it is full of helpful tips for actual INFJs and INFPs, ENFPs and ENFJs and me as INTJ am too rational for that part).

Author: "(About INFPs) they are feelers in a societ
...more
Candace Messecar
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfic, self-help
As an INFJ writer, I wish I had read this a long time ago. Reading this along another "self-help" writing book, it's become clear that there is not a one size fits all way to live the best writing life. This book is a MUST for INFJ writers, especially those that are struggling to keep up with the rest of the writing community or those that are constantly up against other writing walls. I cannot express enough how this book has given me clarity and peace of mind about my writing life.

Self-help bo
...more
Kerri Anne
I get that this book is highly specialized for INFJ writers/creatives (it me), and while there were pieces and chapter-ending writing exercises that didn't always feel especially applicable or necessary to me at this juncture of my writing and personal/professional life, I also haven't felt so seen since reading Susan Cain's Quiet .

This book isn't going to be relevant to everyone (especially considering INFJs are the rarest type, comprising only 1-2% of the overall population), but if you're
...more
J.M. Jablowski
Aug 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I don't want to be that one naysayer among a lot of 5-star reviews, but I didn't like this book. Hopefully my review can help direct the right people to or away from it.
I got about 20% of the way through this book but then DNF'ed it. I skimmed it a bit, but didn't foresee any more new useful information out of what was left in it.
If you don't know what an INFJ is, are if you're not familiar with Myers-Briggs Personality Types at all, then you won't learn anything about them here. This is prior k
...more
Lee Ann
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
This book was an impulse buy. I saw on Twitter that it was only $2.00 on the Kindle, so, knowing that I'm an INFJ, I figured it would make an interesting read.

My reaction was largely "eh."

There were a few interesting chapters, but overall there was more I disagreed with to the point that it left me wondering if I really am an INFJ. I retook the Myers-Briggs test for the fourth time now, just to confirm. (I am still an INFJ.)

And yet.

My first reservations came when I reached the chapter where the
...more
Emily
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
'Go out into the world and be part of it. Write as honestly and as bravely as you can. Be the brightest, strongest, most YOU you that you can be.'

Wow, I am so glad I bought this, it was just so interesting and compelling to read the whole way through.

There were a few minor typos- for example, 75% and 15% do not make 100% no matter how long I stare at the figures to be sure- but that did not detract from the emotional connection I felt with this book. I felt...understood, which was strange, but n
...more
August
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm an INFP, not an INFJ, but this book is written for all intuitive writers. I have been struggling so much trying to write my memoir in chronological order, and what the author said about that being basically impossible for INFPs really hit home. I had to stop reading several times to let out a few tears because I felt so deeply heard, seen, and valued.
Barry Pearman
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book

So many 'ah, so that's why I'm like that' moments. So good to know I'm not the only one who thinks and writes like this. Thanks Lauren
Janine
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lauren Sapala dives into the unique world and challenges of writing as an INFJ, the rarest MBTI type, using experiences from herself and others she has counseled over the years. INFJs are known as very sensitive and intuitive, in a world that’s almost exactly the opposite, extraverted and sensing, which results in crippling self doubt in themselves and their work. Developing a thick skin is extra hard for these types. Sapala speaks to writers in a very consoling, kind and informative way about t ...more
Lisa
Aug 04, 2018 added it
Lauren Sapala has written a very personable, informative book about the unique strengths and struggles of INFJ writers. I also like how she describes the strengths and struggles of INFP, ENJF, and ENFP writers. I've already started her next book (Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers). :)
Annette Fuller
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cross-posted
I’m an INFP, and I still got a lot out of this book. When you do any formal schooling in creative writing, there will be a lot of focus on the technical aspects of the writing. There will be talk of structure, form, voice, tense, person, etc. etc. etc. All of those things are amazing, and you should absolutely know about them, and master them over time. The only way you can subvert the standards is to have fully mastered them, and know when it’s okay not to follow them. :)
That said, creative wri
...more
Irene Allison
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creativity
A little validation for a small minority!
As an INJF (and a writer) I really enjoyed this little book. It's full of insights, helpful tips, and hey, in this loud, extroverted world, it is really nice (and validating) to read something that reflects the INJF reality. No, we're not crazy. Just different.

If you're an INJF writer, or friend to one, this is a little gem of a book.
Danielle Marshall
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Me Too.

I'll mostly likely revisit this book.

A few factors contributed to my reading this at the beginning of 2018. I had started the new year with a few goals in mind: read more, write more, and figure out what career I wanted to push head first into. After reading a book that reminded me why I loved books and imaginary worlds, as well as starting the year with a partial social media hiatus, I decided to bite the bullet and put baby steps into getting back on track.

Starting this book, I prob
...more
Aimee Barnes Pestano
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was initially skeptical about a writing book based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, but the author's many helpful insights into the nuances of creating as an INFJ writer inspired me to experiment with changing the way I approach the craft and gave me hope as a "late bloomer", which seems to be the path for many who gravitate toward diverse subjects and deal with high sensitivity, giftedness, etc.. Lauren includes a meaty section on health challenges and addiction which few other writing boo ...more
Molly
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
This was one of those books that inexplicably showed up as an ad for me on my kindle without me ever doing any kind of searches for writing books or personality theory books. However, the shoe fits! I don't have any other books on writing. I just write. Sometimes I feel like I should give up, because I have so many other things that need my attention, but every time I make the decision to "quit," I feel like crying (which I think means it is the wrong decision and what is actually needed is for ...more
Xandria
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As an INFJ who loves to write but often struggles to create a writing space for myself, this book helped SO freaking much.

Sapala doesn't just tell you what to do, she suggests different venues and explains your personality. Like: why aren't you able to write? or what's keeping you from writing? She explains how atmosphere and being at peace has to do with creating that productive writing space for an INFJ. We are not the tortured artists society would have, we are the artists who thrive when we
...more
Sabetha | Aconite Cafe
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
If you aren't an INFJ this will probably be a fluffy, strange read. (or a Sensitive Intuitive) If you don't know what an INFJ is, this book isn't the place to start. I realize that MBTI is junk science, and I don't use it as a end all be all. But it's a great starting place for people to realize they aren't alone. Everyone is weird, and give you some places to work on self improvement and what not.

So with all that being said. I really enjoyed this book. So many times I found myself thinking ME
...more
Rena Graham
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-writing
I'm so glad I read this book. Lauren was my writing coach for a brief time a couple of years ago and we instantly formed a brilliant connection. She understood my drives with writing better than I understood them myself and after reading this book, I understand why. I learned a LOT about choices I've made in life by reading this. Her analysis of what drives that 1% of the population (of which, like Lauren, I am part of) made complete sense and shockingly - much of it was new information. I say s ...more
Rae
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
What is INFJ? This acronym was never defined and I had to look it up online. The author should have defined this in the very beginning, it's in the book title for gosh sakes.
My other issue is that the book needs serious editing. There is a lot of repetition, the stories jump around a lot, and the flow is off.
At the same time, there is a lot of great information here. It read more as a self help guide, than a writing guide, about how to overcome weaknesses and failures and how to get to know yo
...more
J L. Silvermist
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is another book that was life changing for me. Its right up there with Quiet and Blessed Are The Weird. I enjoyed reading it and it opened my eyes to a lot things that I was fighting with and it helped with the issue of me comparing myself to others. I am comfortable with how I go about my writing.
Jess
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Two point five-ish stars? I guess? Some good and some not good. I definitely feel like I have a better understanding of why conventional writing productivity advice does not work for me. Good. I have not gone *too* deep into what it means to be an INFJ, and I see now where a lot of my weird creative tics come from. Also good. The author's personal fondness for certain super-duper obtuse middle class New Thought/Law of Attraction concepts is reeeaaally fucking grating to me, however. The last 1/3 ...more
Carol Fillmore
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book showed me why all the conventional methods for writing just don't work for all of us who are INFJs. I've lost count of the number of times I've started and stopped writing using one of these methods. It didn't occur to me to think that perhaps there was another way to write than what all the experts said was the correct way: start at the beginning, then go to the middle, followed by the end. Who was I to question, I had no credentials, no Master of Arts in Creative Writing, and no exp ...more
Holli
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was literally written for me, well for my personality type at least. The over 91 highlights Kindle tells me I made attests to the fact that I found I lot in this one that was helpful. There was a very strong sense of being seen and understood and more than one moment of "oh that makes sense!" I have yet to do all the exercises but plan to make my way through them soon. The writing style is very accessible though I felt the level of organization was lacking and occasionally there was a ...more
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Lauren Sapala is a writing coach who specializes in coaching introverted, intuitive writers. She founded the WriteCity writing groups in Seattle and San Francisco and currently blogs about writing and creativity at www.laurensapala.com. ...more

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“Some gifted people have all five and some less. Every gifted person tends to lead with one. As I read this list for the first time I was struck by the similarities between Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities and the traits of Sensitive Intuitives. Read the list for yourself and see what you identify with: Psychomotor This manifests as a strong pull toward movement. People with this overexcitability tend to talk rapidly and/or move nervously when they become interested or passionate about something. They have a lot of physical energy and may run their hands through their hair, snap their fingers, pace back and forth, or display other signs of physical agitation when concentrating or thinking something out. They come across as physically intense and can move in an impatient, jerky manner when excited. Other people might find them overwhelming and they’re routinely diagnosed as ADHD. Sensual This overexcitability comes in the form of an extreme sensitivity to sounds, smells, bright lights, textures and temperature. Perfume and scented soaps and lotions are bothersome to people with this overexcitability, and they might also have aversive reactions to strong food smells and cleaning products. For me personally, if I’m watching a movie in which a strobe light effect is used, I’m done. I have to shut my eyes or I’ll come down with a headache after only a few seconds. Loud, jarring or intrusive sounds also short circuit my wiring. Intellectual This is an incessant thirst for knowledge. People with this overexcitability can’t ever learn enough. They zoom in on a few topics of interest and drink up every bit of information on those topics they can find. Their only real goal is learning for learning’s sake. They’re not trying to learn something to make money or get any other external reward. They just happened to have discovered the history of the Ming Dynasty or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and now it’s all they can think about. People with this overexcitability have intellectual interests that are passionate and wide-ranging and they study many areas simultaneously. Imaginative INFJ and INFP writers, this is you. This is ALL you. Making up stories, creating imaginary friends, believing in Santa Claus way past the ordinary age, becoming attached to fairies, elves, monsters and unicorns, these are the trademarks of the gifted child with imaginative overexcitability. These individuals appear dreamy, scattered, lost in their own worlds, and constantly have their heads in the clouds. They also routinely blend fiction with reality. They are practically the definition of the Sensitive Intuitive writer at work. Emotional Gifted individuals with emotional overexcitability are highly empathetic (and empathic, I might add), compassionate, and can become deeply attached to people, animals, and even inanimate objects, in a short period of time. They also have intense emotional reactions to things and might not be able to stomach horror movies or violence on the evening news. They have most likely been told throughout their life that they’re “too sensitive” or that they’re “overreacting” when in truth, they are expressing exactly how they feel to the most accurate degree.” 8 likes
“If you are a Sensitive Intuitive, then you are also a born healer. Writing is one of your heart's passions, but only one. You also have a life purpose to use your healer abilities to be of service to the world.” 5 likes
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